Beginners in the study of Christian Science soon detect that their former method of prayer was not all that it should have been; and sometimes they feel for a while as though they cannot pray. Their awakened thought, taking in a higher concept of God and His creation, realizes how futile it is to ask for material things; and yet, it cannot grasp the spiritual idea sufficiently to know what the prayer of the righteous is. They therefore feel like Mary when at the tomb she discovered that her Lord was gone, and she cried out, "I know not where they have laid him." Let not these seekers be discouraged, for they are on the right road. Christian Science removes the false concepts of God in order that the right ideas may be discerned. Vessels have to be first emptied before they can be refilled.

Just at this point, however, an effort on the side of the seekers is necessary. As the empty vessels cannot fill themselves, so likewise the new viewpoint must be earnestly sought, or it will not be found. Jesus said, "Seek, and ye shall find." This seeking is a desire for good put into action; and Mrs. Eddy says, on page 1 of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," "Desire is prayer." Some patients may say they have always desired to be well, and ask why they were not rewarded with the health they needed, if "desire is prayer." The trouble in such cases is that the vision was beclouded by the belief that it is a material state or condition which they needed, and they have waited for this to appear, neglecting the necessary mental activity; whereas they must learn the truth about man, God's image, who is not a material body, but a divine idea. Is it thinkable that the creator should listen to us in order to learn what our need is, or how to do His work? Is it not that we should give Him credit for knowing His own ideas? Can He bring forth other than what was in the beginning, when all was pronounced "very good"?

On the contrary, Jesus told us to be perfect even as the "Father which is in heaven is perfect;" and he prayed "Thy will be done," knowing that the Father's will is "in earth, as it is in heaven." Jesus further said, "What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them." We do not have to trouble about the body when it seems to be disordered, because it is seeming effect, not cause; but we do have to realize that God's idea is never in disorder; that it is always "very good." We have to raise our thoughts to the standard of Truth. Although Jesus healed all manner of disease he declared, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do." This seeing must have been spiritual understanding. In the second chapter of Genesis we read in the fifth verse that God made "every plant of the field before it was in the earth." Surely, then, He does not have to look at the plant in order to know what color or shape it should be; neither do we need to contemplate a healthy or a sick body when realizing the divine idea. We do need, however, to have the true knowledge of God's nature, and know that His reflection, man, is of the same spiritual, not material, quality; not evil, but good; not maimed, but whole. Mrs. Eddy says in Science and Health (p. 120), "Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind;" and on page 248 she also says, "Immortal Mind feeds the body with supernal freshness and fairness, supplying it with beautiful images of thought and destroying the woes of sense which each day brings to a nearer tomb."

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July 12, 1924

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