"Watch and pray"

Beginners in Christian Science often ask, as did Jesus' disciples, that they may be taught how to pray. Now, it is inconceivable that the disciples had been prayerless up to the time they made this request, but they must have seen that their Master had an altogether different concept of prayer than had the religious teachers round them. None of these even essayed to heal the sick or give sight to the blind, although the psalmist and the prophets had given assurances of the divine power and readiness to meet all human need in this way. On page 12 of "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" Mrs. Eddy tells us that Jesus' "humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth,—of man's likeness to God and of man's unity with Truth and Love." The disciples, moreover, saw that their Master's prayers brought results which had never before been seen by them.

In that wonderful Sermon on the Mount Christ Jesus has much to say about prayer; indeed, from the Christian Science viewpoint it is all about prayer. Of old the psalmist had said, "If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me;" and in this Sermon we find Jesus uncovering the hidden sins which nothing less than the light of Truth can ever disclose and destroy. He said that it was not enough to abstain from outward violation of the seventh commandment, for instance, but that absolute purity of thought was the demand of God's law. Again he presented the necessity for overcoming all hatred and resentment, whatever form it might take, and he declared that it was useless to approach God's altar with hatred in one's heart. In this Sermon we also find a warning against the desire for material riches, with which desire so much prayer is burdened that it can never reach the throne of God, and where the vision is darkened by desire of this sort or anything unlike God it shuts out the light of Truth and Love, which dispels all darkness and brings without delay the true healing of divine Science.

Among the Churches
February 15, 1919

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