Righteous Prayer

Men have believed somewhat in the efficacy of prayer from time immemorial; they have prayed to God with a blind faith that they will be answered in a material way outlined in their petition. In some cases their realization has been in accordance with the request, but more often the thing prayed for has been something to satisfy material sense or selfish motive, and the seeming disappointment has been bitter.

James said, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts," or your "pleasures," as the marginal reading has it. Toward the close of his wonderful epistle he says, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." This comforting and assuring statement has meant a great deal to struggling humanity in all ages, but when viewed from the standpoint of Christian Science it is fraught with yet greater joy, because we thus comprehend and prove what the "much" implies. Every prayer that was ever offered has in its true sense been a petition to an all-wise, all-loving Father for the healing of some discordant condition of humanity, and at the same time in many cases advice has been offered as to just how this healing should take place from a material standpoint. Jesus said, "Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him," but, as we read in Romans, "We know not what we should pray for as we ought."

What, then, is "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man"? A righteous man is one who does not deviate from the right in thought, word, or deed; one who is wholly separated from evil. He expresses love for God and for his fellow man; he never desires his neighbor to be deprived of any part of good that he may be enriched; he does not attribute infinite goodness to God in one instance, and in another charge Him with being the cause of all the evil which seems to exist; he always thinks of God as infinite Love, unchangeable, eternal; "the same yesterday, and today, and forever."

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

Compelling Love
October 23, 1915

We'd love to hear from you!

Easily submit your testimonies, articles, and poems online.