Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Prayer and the Real World ; Originally Printed as an Editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Prayer and the Real World ; Originally Printed as an Editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel

Article excerpt

"Why do you pray?" was the question my teenage class discussed in Sunday School recently. One boy had provoked the question by asking what you do when you're not getting the results you hope for when you pray. "Just keep praying," another student said with a conviction that some of us knew came from having done that through some challenges of her own. As we continued to encourage him, the conversation turned again to why we pray.

One girl thought you should pray just to open your mind to truth. Another student said he prayed because it was the only time he felt really peaceful. What their answers pointed to, we decided, is that we pray because we want more understanding - because we know there's a larger reality than our physical senses see. It's God and His creation - the entirely spiritual realm of love and justice and health. We pray because we want to live more in this real world that God created.

Does this mean that we shouldn't expect to find practical, specific answers to our problems when we pray? No, we agreed, we should expect that. Still, some people in the class had found that clear answers came when they just prayed to be conscious of God. When they followed the Bible's counsel, "Be still, and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10).

One student mentioned something he'd read in Mary Baker Eddy's book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" that week that had helped him do this. It says that Life is God (see pg. 394). As we talked about what that meant to us, it came out that our lives aren't really material or time-defined at all. Beyond and above a physical body with a name on it, you and I exist as individual expressions of goodness and love - of the Life that is God. We pray to become conscious of our eternal Life. This prayer opens up the real world of Spirit. And it has the specific result of solving human problems. One girl told about how she'd been afraid of having to speak in public as part of her summer job. …

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