Every day, countless people push back on daunting or seemingly hopeless situations in their own or others' lives with responses that say, in one way or another, "I won't accept this!" They seek resolution, regeneration, healing.
Their protests for something better than trouble and turmoil speak to humanity's sincerest and oftentimes most unselfish goals. Whenever someone finds such a desire for good in his or her heart, that person is actually praying, following the First Commandment to love God – good itself – supremely.
"Desire is prayer," wrote Mary Baker Eddy, "and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 1).
The Science of Christ, which Mrs. Eddy discovered in 1866, fans the flames of hope and healing, explaining how anyone who rejects as unacceptable the scenes of want, suffering, war, misery, that confront us each day, is responding to a call to look for something better than the suffering senses convey.
Divine Science goes beyond conventional concepts of prayer to reveal a stirring fact: Successful, healing prayer does not "change" bad human situations into good ones. Instead, the most effective kind of prayer reveals that good from God alone is already the one and only constant fact – right here, right now. Individual recognition of this spiritual truth improves bad situations. It demonstrates that they are, in truth, illusory.
Mrs. Eddy discovered something revolutionary about prayer in the healings of Jesus. "Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man," she concluded, "who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy" (Science and Health, pp. 476-477).
In this way, Jesus healed congenital and acute disease, overcame scarcity, transformed human character.
This approach also characterizes the course that the Christian Exemplar charted for all who would follow in his way. It involves daring to make the audacious protest that good is already present – right where sight and sound and sense say otherwise. Such a protest enables one to pray understandingly and heal effectively.
One time Jesus encountered a family who had just lost a 12-year-old girl. "Weep not," was his command, "she is not dead, but sleepeth." The reaction? "They laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead." Here were two very different assessments of the situation – one based on the physical senses' flawed information, the other on spiritual fact. But Jesus' words proved true; he brought the girl to life, much to the astonishment of her parents (see Luke 8:49–56).
We may not be asked to raise anyone from death – although we should never rule out our ability to do just that when called upon. But each of us encounters smaller and larger situations in which to employ whatever understanding we may have of God's restorative power – our Christ-consciousness – including those occasions where death and loss appear in subtler ways. Perhaps a longstanding illness has someone fearing that the hope of healing is all but dead. Perhaps a career seems lifeless. Maybe a church congregation in decline or a dwindling bank account has us thinking morbidly. In all these situations, Jesus' command to "Raise the dead" – takes on practical, day-to-day significance.
Along with the peacemakers, the homeless, the sick, and the tireless caregivers, we are each needed to swell the ranks of those who counter deep-seated troubles with scientific, healing truths.
Adapted from an editorial in the Christian Science Sentinel.