Hard prayer?

As a child I was told that if I prayed really hard, my prayers would be answered. So when I really wanted something, I’d close my eyes and pray with clenched fists and a scrunched-up face, straining as hard as I could.

Needless to say, that approach didn’t work. At one point, someone said maybe I needed a stronger faith. Later on, I laughed when I heard about “teabag Christians” who only pray when things begin to boil. So for a long time prayer puzzled me: it was either hard or easy, or a last resort. In Sunday School I learned that Jesus made prayer and faith seem easy, saying mountains could be moved with an amount of faith as tiny as a mustard seed (see Matthew 17:20), and promising that if I believed in the Christ, I could do what he did, like walk on water or raise the dead (see John 14:12). I wondered, could prayer really do that?

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, resolved my boyhood bewilderment. On page 14 of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Eddy makes a remarkable declaration that set me on a lifetime course of answered questions: “Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual,—neither in nor of matter,—and the body will then utter no complaints. If suffering from a belief in sickness, you will find yourself suddenly well. Sorrow is turned into joy when the body is controlled by spiritual Life, Truth, and Love. Hence the hope of the promise Jesus bestows: ‘He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; …’ ”

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Double trouble or single-mindedness?
December 30, 2013

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