With attention being given to an urgent desire for designated periods of prayer, not only for ourselves and our country, but for all peoples, we may well ask ourselves, How shall I pray "the effectual fervent prayer" of which James wrote, and which he declared "availeth much"? Prayer is an individual experience. In all its tenderness, love, range, and scope, it must be available here and now to everyone, without a single exception. To be fervent, its affirmations must be wholehearted and sincere. Its efficacy, or healing power, must be in exact proportion to the individual's desire to live up to his own highest sense of good; otherwise prayer would lack the Christlike qualities of love, trust, humility, and expectancy.

Jesus' counsel for prayer reads, "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." This tender advice was not meant solely for the few who were present when he spoke and glimpsed in some measure the substance of his words. It remains as a waymark for all who seek the true sense of prayer.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, knew so well the profound effects of true prayer that she made it the subject of the first chapter in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." Giving us the result of her own spiritual research, she writes (p. 15): "The closet typifies the sanctuary of Spirit, the door of which shuts out sinful sense but lets in Truth, Life, and Love." She continues, "The Master's injunction is, that we pray in secret and let our lives attest our sincerity." Herein is indicated the basis of Jesus' concept of prayer and the origin of those divine qualities of endurance, moral courage, and kindness with which he constantly identified himself.

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A Higher Sense of Friendship
April 11, 1942

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