Sunday 4 August 2019

Part5 Healing Prayer


Healing Prayer
One's concept of God determines his method of approaching God, that is, the form of prayer. Believ­ing God to be a sort of enlarged human being or person, mysterious, arbitrary, and changeable, one would petition God for special fa­vors. But God as Principle is not reached in that manner. You do not ask favors of a principle. Would anyone implore the principle of mathematics, "Please solve this problem"? No, the principle is reached, understood, and demon­strated through understanding and applying the rule which expresses it. God is the divine Principle of His spiritual universe. His mani­festation is Christ, expressed in Godlike thinking and living. Every Godlike thought, word, or deed brings one into closer communion with the divine source or Principle, and that is the purpose and effect of true prayer.
A Christian Scientist awakened one morning to find herself under a spell of sickness. She was far from home and faced a heavy schedule of duties for the day. It seemed impossible to get up and get started. She lay there and began to turn to Christian Science for help. A passage from the textbook came to her (p. 390), "It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony." Here, she realized, was both the cause of the trouble and its cure. Reaching out in thought with a sincere desire to understand God better, she saw that she had al­lowed erroneous thoughts to enter consciousness, and these seemed to hide God's presence from her. She had allowed herself to become irri­tated, upset, unhappy, and resent­ful, and she recognized the need to be healed of such wrong thinking. She studied the Bible and Science and Health and accepted the truths she found there. The mental picture of an irritated, resentful mor­tal disappeared in the light of the truth that man is the spiritual and perfect child of God. Her thinking became spiritually clear, and she was healed. All symptoms of physical disease disappeared. She was able to arise and carry out the duties of the day in perfect free­dom. She proved that it was igno­rance of God – ignoring God – which had produced the discord, and the right understanding of Him had indeed restored her natural harmony.

How to Pray
There are many ways to pray; do not think to confine prayer to a fixed form or formula. Deep, hon­est, spiritual desire is effective prayer, bringing one into the consciousness of God's ways. To adore the divine Being is effective prayer; through it the beliefs of evil disappear from consciousness. To recognize, acknowledge, and be grateful to God for blessings is ef­fective prayer; it opens the door to higher spiritual attainments. Obe­dience to God's revealed require­ments is prayer; the struggle to be and do good is prayer; the practice of humility, the striving for holi­ness, the abiding steadfast in hope and faith, patient improvement of our present talents, continued serv­ice to divine Love – these are all forms of true prayer because they all bring us closer to God. The highest prayer is an abiding reali­zation of God's allness and man's forever oneness with his divine Principle, as when Jesus declared, "I and my Father are one" (John 10:30).

Prayer for the World
There must be inspiration in prayer. There must be honest ex­pectancy of good. Repentance must accompany prayer, and re­form must follow. Self-justification has no place in Christian prayer; self-righteousness closes the door to the divine presence. True prayer starts with God, takes in the spiritual nature of man and the universe, and ends with God. It proceeds from the general to the particular. One is healed or saved when be recognizes that all are healed and saved. "The Lord turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends" (Job 42:10). Prayer for others is expan­sive; it lifts thought above self; praying for oneself first and exclu­sively may darken thought and retard healing.   The beloved Founder of Christian Science made it a rule to pray daily for all man­kind. Could anyone so conscious of humanity's need and so sure of God's power to supply it do less? Not only did she pray for the whole world, but she also declared, "I also have faith that my prayer availeth" (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 220). If all Christians and all Christian Scientists will pray as Jesus prayed and taught, if they will pray earnestly and devotedly in the light of the understanding of the true nature of God, and if they will let their lives attest their fidel­ity to God's ways, the millennium, my friends, may prove to be not so far off as generally believed.

New Heaven and Earth
My friends, the present age is a glorious one! Matter is definitely on the way out. Our inspired Leader declares, "We live in an age of Love's divine adventure to be All-in-all" (Miscellany, p. 158). As divine Love is understood as All-in-all, sickness, sin, and death will diminish and finally disap­pear. Christian Science extends to all men the invitation and oppor­tunity to join in this divine adven­ture, to find God to be what He really is: a present and practical help in all things, every man's first, last, and only real friend. Di­vine Science will lift you above the grossness and cruelty of atheism; its light will dispel the doubts and uncertainties of agnosticism; its spiritual power will destroy the idols of human will, physical health laws, material beliefs about God and the universe, and ignorance and superstition in religion. Here is the promise of Christian Science for the future (Science and Health, p. 568): "For victory over a single sin, we give thanks and magnify the Lord of Hosts. What shall we say of the mighty conquest over all sin? A louder song, sweeter than has ever before reached high heaven, now rises clearer and nearer to the great heart of Christ; for the accuser is not there, and Love sends forth her primal and everlasting strain."

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