Prayer and Answer

Jesus said, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." On page 1 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mrs. Eddy says, "Desire is prayer." To the thought untaught by Christian Science it appears that lack is a constant factor of desire; that that which is desired is not yet possessed; that possession extinguishes desire; that the two cannot coexist,—so that to this thought it seems impossible to be conscious of the possession of that which we desire. During the centuries since the above words of Jesus were uttered, many an honest seeker, lacking understanding of the true relation of answer to prayer, has despaired of being able to obey them. In place of this despair Christian Science brings exactly the opposite experience through its scientific and satisfying revelation that prayer is the unfoldment to experience of the blessings which we already possess, and that therefore the higher and more urgent our desires the greater our joy; that it is not humility which allows our prayers to be small or feeble in their demands, but self-limiting ignorance of both God and man.

Based on the fundamental truth that "all is infinite Mind and its infinite manifestation," and that "man is not material; he is spiritual" (Science and Health, p. 468), Christian Science teaches that all the realities which constitute harmonious life for man are present states of consciousness. Since no individual can step outside of his own consciousness, that which he desires necessarily already exists in his own consciousness, or it could not be perceived to be desirable. Desire indicates the conviction that that which is desired is good. The strength of this conviction measures both the fervency of the prayer and the experience of the benefit of its answer. We may be sure then that our prayer is being answered at the moment it is offered; in fact, that it is the perception of the answer which inspires the prayer; that the answer may be said to be within the prayer, it being not the creation or production of a new condition in response to petition or newly arisen need, but the unfolding in human consciousness of eternal truth. We are thus privileged to say with scientific certainty, as did Jesus, "I knew that thou hearest me always," having learned that the answer to every prayer is an eternal truth before the desire is felt.

"Human footsteps"
February 19, 1916

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