What is Prayer?

When we are awakened through the study of Christian Science to perceive the oneness of divine Principle and its idea, we catch a glimpse of the all-inclusive perfection of God, and of what actually constitutes our true being. Reason informs us that an idea cannot possibly be detached from the Mind which expresses it, and that therefore God and man are inseparable; that apart from Mind man could have no intelligence, no activity, no being, and that without His manifestation, man, God would be intangible and imperceptible. These truths may at first be but faintly perceived and our recogtion of them may lack continuity, but as Paul declared, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." Therefore, we press on to a fuller realization.

According to the Biblical record, the great characters in Hebrew history discerned one God, and were able, at times, to recognize the powerlessness of evil. Christ Jesus revealed to humanity the actual nature and meaning of prayer. So, for an answer to the question, "What is prayer?" we turn naturally to his words and works, looking at the Scriptural records of his career. As the deeper meaning of Jesus' teachings unfolds to us through the study of Christian Science, the spiritual nature of existence as he saw it is unmistakably revealed.

Because Jesus regarded existence from the standpoint of infinite perfection, reality appeared to him as perfect, Godlike, and immortal. In the face of what seemed to be evidence of mortality, he declared of Jairus' daughter that she was not dead, and he proved it. At another time, understanding God's omnipresence, he overcame the limiting beliefs of time and distance; for it is recorded that when he walked on the sea to his disciples and they received him into the ship, "immediately the ship was at the land whither they went." His apprehension of true being as one infinite, omnipotent God, reflected by man, brought him forth from the tomb an indubitable witness to immortality. From this standpoint of perfection he recognized material appearances as but misapprehensions of the spiritual idea. This spiritual idea is imperceptible to the material senses, but is known to spiritual sense. Our Leader, Mary Baker Eddy, defines "Elias," in the Glossary in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 585), as, "Prophecy; spiritual evidence opposed to material sense; Christian Science, with which can be discerned the spiritual fact of whatever the material senses behold; the basis of immortality." Only through the ever-present Christ, the spiritual idea, is reality revealed. If we are actually discerning, through the understanding of Christian Science, "the spiritual fact of whatever the material senses behold," is this not prayer?

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"Clad in the panoply of Love"
February 7, 1942

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