Prayer

In the present age the tendency of the ordinary man to make an honest and unprejudiced investigation of human beliefs, is one of the signs that the time is ripe for a more democratic sense of religion. Time was when only a few initiated ones dared to think upon religious questions; now the complaint is that these questions cannot be answered by anyone. In Christian Science, however, the seeker finds nothing and nobody to stand between God and himself. It is a case of every man being able to understand for himself, although at first this freedom from personal guidance may be accompanied by a feeling of loss,—the fledgling is sometimes afraid to fly, though perfectly able to do so. The altered concept of God brought by Christian Science necessitates an altered concept of God's creation; for a new concept is unfolded for every false sense taken away. Until the new concept of things is grasped, however, young Scientists, like the disciples, are apt still to cling to personality sufficiently to ask. "Teach us to pray."

It is probable that formerly prayer was merely a request for finite good, or a fearful petition that what was possessed might not be taken away, offered perhaps with a willful blindness to the fact that some equally good petitioner might be making an opposite request. The first real concept of prayer dawns when one perceives that it is not the request, but the desire or motive at the back of it, which is the prayer. This point is made quite clear on the very first page of Science and Health, where Mrs. Eddy says, "Desire is prayer." The sentiment that desire is prayer has been voiced for years,—one well-known hymn saying, "Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,"—but Christian Science, is very insistent that words alone do not necessarily convey an understanding of the proposition involved. The same hymn contains a further scientific truth about prayer where it says, "Prayer is the Christian's vital breath;" yet this has been passed over as poetic fantasy, nothing more. If, however, prayer is true desire, then prayer is man's vital breath, for without desire mankind would die, desire being the motive power of human life.

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Heaven's Artillery
January 19, 1918
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