Why does “#prayfor” have such staying power? This begs the further question of what prayer is, and whether it can truly lead to help and healing. Many people around the world, including me, have found that indeed it can.
The Bible teaches that God is the stable and dependable divine Principle “with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17, English Standard Version), and that God is good. This indicates that human events don’t influence or change divine good. Rather, praying to better understand what is spiritually and eternally true of God, and of us all as God’s own image, naturally brings increased harmony and healing into our experience.
Perhaps this explains to some degree why the Lord’s Prayer (see Matthew 6:9–13) resonates for so many when challenges arise. The unifying message of Christ Jesus’ prayer shows that when we turn from seeing evil as a controlling power, and lift our point of view to God, we have a profoundly different starting point for looking at ourselves and our world.
One night I prayed the Lord’s Prayer right before bed. My heart yearned to feel the power of the truth of God and man that this prayer conveys. In a modest but meaningful way, I felt the healing power of this prayer. I had been sick all day, feeling heavily burdened by a family disagreement. But that night I felt willing to exchange my preoccupation with discord for a deeper look at what God is.
The Lord’s Prayer begins with acknowledging God as our universal Parent and blessing the divine name. Right away, this turned me toward the nature of God as good, and as a perpetual fount of solutions. It was encouraging to consider that a growing spiritual understanding of God’s kingdom “as it is in heaven” could enable me to see more evidence of His goodness “in earth.”
I saw that as the image of God, all God’s children—me and my family included—are spiritual and inherently receptive to God, good. Our relation to God could never change. I realized that my prayer didn’t need to bring God into the problem, but would rather lift me out of darkness by bringing me an understanding of God and of man’s oneness with Him. Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “Prayer can neither change God, nor bring His designs into mortal modes; but it can and does change our modes and our false sense of Life, Love, and Truth, uplifting us to Him” (No and Yes, p. 39).
I found peace as I prayed with these ideas. I fell asleep knowing that the Christ light that underlies such prayer shines on and displaces illness and fear. When I awakened in the morning, I was completely well. Even more, the family disagreement dissolved that very day.
Whether we’re praying about something big or small, when we seek an understanding of the unchangeably good nature of God and His creation, a restoration of peace and harmony is natural. And not because God comes into the problem to fix it, but because prayer is a means of affirming reality as God knows it—that His is “the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever,” as the Lord’s Prayer says. And that is right here, and it includes unchanging health, harmony, and good with “no variation.”
Adapted from an article published in The Christian Science Monitor, November 1, 2016.
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