Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Growing in the Understanding of Prayer ; Originally Published as an Editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Growing in the Understanding of Prayer ; Originally Published as an Editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel

Article excerpt

A prayer is a prayer is a prayer. Or is it?

An old spiritual song says:

It's me, it's me, it's me, O Lord,Standin' in the need of prayer.... Not my sister, not my brother, but it's me, O Lord, Standin' in the need of prayer.

Such an admission may be the most valuable step toward praying the kind of prayer that makes a difference. Praying from the depths of one's own need for spiritual help is a sure sign of sincerity - and wisdom, too; if we're truly honest with ourselves, whose needs do we know better than our own? A gift and a blessing, effective prayer is also a holy effort - and one worth making.

Prayer is a vital theme in the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, who, over 100 years ago, discovered Christian Science, a spiritual system of healing based on the methods practiced by Jesus. To reach a world of people seeking a closer walk with God, she published "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," a textbook designed to enlighten and heal its readers. The first chapter is devoted to prayer, and bears that title. Its 17 pages culminate in the Lord's Prayer, which the author said "covers all human needs" (page 16). Mrs. Eddy added what she understood to be the "spiritual sense" of that prayer.

That chapter explains what effective prayer is, and is not, and shows Mrs. Eddy's profound devotion of thought to prayer's sacred nature. Her ability to speak with authority on the topic was proved in her experience as a spiritual healer. In the first sentence of that first chapter of her book, the author revealed her great expectations for prayer and for the one who prays: "The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, - a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love."

The chapter points out the importance of having the right motives for prayer, including:

* A desire for righteousness.

* A willingness to be brought into harmony with God's will.

* A striving after goodness.

* A devoted effort to understand the nature of God. …

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