Prayer and Demonstration

Christian Scientists are sometimes asked why they no longer pray audibly or with outward form, as they did in the past. These questions usually imply that the student of Christian Science has given up something which belongs to vital religion, and prayer certainly does if it be of the right sort. The Christian Scientist, however, has learned to take the Sermon on the Mount as his guide in all things, including prayer; and Mrs. Eddy's teachings bring to it such wonderful spiritual illumination that the blessings it has for all mankind are made available, whatever be the human need. It may be said, however, that the method of petitioning God to do something He had overlooked or was unwilling to do, is largely absent from the prayer of Christian Science.

The truer sense of prayer is brought out in that little understood story of the fig tree which was withered at the Master's word because it brought forth no fruit. In reading the twenty-first chapter of Matthew we discover that Jesus recognized with sorrow the same condition in the services of the temple. There were forms enough, but no fruit; and yet it was for this the people hungered, even the little children; and when it was brought forth in the healing of the blind and the lame who came to him in the temple, the joy of the children broke forth in loud praises. As we read on we find that the mental condition which he rebuked in the temple was expressing itself even through what is called nature; and when he came to the fig tree seeking fruit thereon because he was hungry, he found none; and so he pronounced upon it the condemnation of Truth, which ever falls upon that which is not Truth's idea but which is a counterfeit thereof. It is interesting to note that Jesus did not pray that this tree might wither away, but he declared that it could no longer deceive people by its false appearance; and as Christian Science "resolves things into thoughts" (Science and Health, p. 269), the untrue thought, when addressed by the Master, vanished away, as darkness is dispelled by light.

April 28, 1917

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