Prayer is a vital activity. Why? Because it enables us to listen to and hear God's direction, His healing messages. The master Christian, Christ Jesus, taught the elements of prayer in his Sermon on the Mount. He said, ''When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.'' n1 In harmony with this teaching, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, says: ''In order to pray aright, we must enter into the closet and shut the door. We must close the lips and silence the material senses. In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings, we must deny sin and plead God's allness.'' n2
n1 Matthew 6:6.
n2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 15.
We could say, then, that prayer is a profound, God-affirming activity that takes place in the quietness of one's own consciousness and brings rewards openly - heals us. By affirming, and deeply realizing, the allness of God, we correct thoughts that may insist man is alone, defenseless, separated from his Maker; thoughts that may insist there is no invariable, ever-present law in the universe to which we can turn for help. But there is such a law! As we affirm the eternal truth of God's supremacy and man's unassailable well-being as His image, this ever-operative law acts to confirm His ever-presence and all-powerfulness in a tangible, satisfying way.
Whether the need is for right direction regarding a business or family problem, or for improved health, or for release from the seeming attraction of sin, the answer is always at hand. When we turn to God in prayer, affirming with understanding His allness and goodness, we'll hear His answer to us. We'll feel the presence of His healing power in an unquestionable way that will care for our need through divine law.
A recent personal experience may help illustrate the power of such prayer. While at work one day I began to itch all over. I tried to ignore the trouble, thinking that it was nothing to be concerned about and that it would go away shortly. However, the itching persisted, and when I got home and removed my clothing, I found that my entire body was covered with reddish spots.
Instead of becoming fearful, I found myself laughing at the absurdity of the physical evidence. Was there creative power in matter? I knew there wasn't because God, Spirit, is the only genuine creator, and man's actual selfhood as God's likeness is spiritual, pure. I continued to pray silently, declaring the allness of God, His all-powerfulness, the insubstantiality of matter, and the ever-presence of God's great love for man.
There was some improvement by the next day, but it was decided that a Christian Science practitioner should be called to help through prayer. Within another day the healing was complete. What gratitude I felt for the healing power of God, which had come to my thought in prayer and destroyed this specific false belief in the intelligence and power of matter.
We each can learn to know that God, good, loves us at all times, that God is ever present, and that He is the only genuine power. Of course, it's essential to our progress that we live our prayers - that we conform our lives to the precepts embodied in the Ten Commandments and in the Master's Christly teachings. Doing so, we align ourselves with divine law and more readily experience the good that God is constantly imparting to man. His goodness is always available, and as we turn to Him in humble prayer we'll find direction and healing. DAILY BIBLE VERSE All things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive. Matthew 21:22