It takes persistence to run a marathon. There is no doubt about it. As I was writing this, the 114th Boston Marathon was under way, which broke the record this year, with a 2:05:52 win in the men's race by Robert Cheruiyot the Younger from Kenya. Whether they were top runners from around the world, or locals of all ages who ran for charity or to challenge themselves, or wheelchair riders, each of the over 25,000 participants had spent weeks, and months, and in many cases years, of continued practice and persistent training to be able to cross the finish line. While not everyone wins a prize, just finishing the 26.2-mile course is enough of an accomplishment.

As with the marathon run, high success in any pursuit of life often requires continual, unrelenting effort to gain strength, progress, and results. This includes spiritual pursuits. Persistent, dedicated prayer and practice bring spiritual growth, enabling us to obtain what the Apostle Paul called an "incorruptible crown" (I Cor. 9:25). Our founder, Mary Baker Eddy, had this to say about what it takes to heal spiritually in Christian Science: "There is nothing difficult nor toilsome in this task, when the way is pointed out; but self-denial, sincerity, Christianity, and persistence alone win the prize, as they usually do in every department of life" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 462).

Through persistent prayer, writer Rebecca Odegaard was able to gain victory over a debilitating physical condition. "Around the clock I prayed to God to lift me out of this mental desert place," she writes in this week's cover story (see page 15). "I never lost hope that I could awaken to complete healing." And she tells how as a result of patiently, prayerfully, holding to her spiritual wholeness, she regained her strength and health.

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May 24, 2010

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