Prayer That Heals

"Are we benefited by praying?" Mrs. Eddy asks on page 2 of Science and Health; and she answers, "Yes, the desire which goes forth hungering after righteousness is blessed of our Father, and it does not return unto us void." This scientific statement of the quality and characteristics of the prayer that heals the sick and reforms the sinful is so clear that it cannot be mistaken for the conventional and formal sense of prayer. "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss," says the apostle James. If our petitions to God are not answered, there must be a reason for the failure. The fundamental requirement, as indicated by Mrs. Eddy's words, is an unselfed yearning to be good, without which our human desires are unavailing and fruitless.

If the sick desire only to be relieved of pain or suffering, if the poor and indigent wish only to acquire an increase of supply, if the unsuccessful pray only for success, is it strange that they have no answer? If, even unconsciously, the longing of the heart of man is for unworthy things,—for the gratification of sordid and selfish aims, for material things only in order to have material things, for a surcease of discord or pain only because one wishes to be relieved of the penalty for believing in a life apart from God, for something or anything to satisfy the human self,—then such desires are not that "hungering after righteousness" referred to by Mrs. Eddy, which is always answered. If the desire to be cured of disease, or to be helped out of human deficiency or failure, is not born of a humble purpose to improve one's self, it must necessarily fail in securing those happy results which follow an earnest and honest desire to grow in grace, to "put off the old man" with his material thoughts and deeds, to be more godlike, and to demonstrate in one's life the scientific unity of idea and Principle, of man in the image and likeness of God.

The One-talent Man
June 5, 1915

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