Students of Christian Science soon learn that in order to reach the highest results they must change their methods of thinking and doing. Very few, indeed, accept Christian Science until driven to it by sheer necessity, through suffering for which no material remedy avails. This may be their own experience or that of some dear one, but in either case they learn that God can and does heal the sick now, as in Jesus' time, without the intervention of material means. They then begin to think differently about God, and especially about man's relation to Him, and very soon they ask how they should approach God in prayer. It is indeed pathetic to read the published testimonies of those who prayed long, and as it seemed in vain, before they learned beyond all question in Christian Science that there is such a thing as "effectual" prayer.

There are some who readily grasp the spiritual ideal presented by Mrs. Eddy in the chapter on Prayer with which Science and Health opens. Again, there are those who think it difficult to comprehend, because it is so different from their former beliefs. They are apt to overlook the fact that if these beliefs had brought satisfactory results, they would not be investigating Christian Science. It is also important to remember in this connection that the great Teacher did not say much about prayer until he had uncovered the false concepts which he found prevalent; as, for instance, when he warned his listeners against public prayers and "vain repetitions." He taught that men's hearts must be purified from hatred and lust, and that their allegiance to God must leave no room for mammon worship, the loyalty demanded being so inclusive as to lift thought constantly from the material to the spiritual. He said, "Take no thought ... for your body;" but, "seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you."

All this and much more is found in the sermon on the mount (as given in Matthew v. to vii. inclusive). Here also is given the Lord's Prayer, the prayer which, as Mrs. Eddy says, "covers all human needs" (Science and Health, p. 16). According to Luke, this prayer was not given until the disciples asked, "Lord, teach us to pray." They evidently did not see that every word which he gave them pointed to true prayer; that, if they understood "the everlasting Father" and knew what it meant to be His children, they would see the needlessness of besieging Him with requests. In the earthly home where right conditions prevail, the children do not need to clamor for bread, nor do "the lilies of the field" cry out for their clothing. Well might the Master say (John xvi. 23): "In that day [when all this is understood] ye shall ask me nothing;" but until then it was, "Ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full;" and know that when you need bread, the Father will not give you a stone.

Enjoy 1 free Sentinel article or audio program each month, including content from 1898 to today.

March 25, 1911

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.