''And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray . . . . n1 After the disciples had witnessed many of the instantaneous healings Jesus performed as the result of prayer, it seems only natural that they wanted to know how to pray as he did. There followed, as Luke tells it, the simple but profound prayer of Christ Jesus that has become known as the Lord's Prayer.
n1 Luke 11:1
Isn't there still, on the part of many, a natural desire to pray more effectively, to more closely approximate the Master's healing prayer? Can we, too, rise to the spiritual altitude of thought expressed in our Lord's prayer, and witness ''signs following''?
I experienced the healing power of this prayer when suffering from a painful back condition that had persisted since childhood and involved frequent trips to a doctor. I was informed that there was no cure for this condition. After becoming acquainted with Christian Science, the trouble recurred. The following morning, unable to move and in extreme pain, I turned earnestly to God through the Lord's Prayer.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scripturesm Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gives the spiritual sense of the verse ''Our Father which art in heaven'':''Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious.''m n2 I realized that God is not only our Father but our Mother as well, and that just as a human mother would do everything in her power to ensure that her child was not in pain, so our Father-Mother God could not possibly permit His dear child to suffer. Indeed, man's actual selfhood is the spiritual likeness of this loving creator and cannot therefore be susceptible to suffering of any kind. Moreover, this loving Father-Mother is all-powerful, as the Bible declares.
n2 Science an Health, p. 16
As the realization of God's love for man flooded my consciousness, I found myself dressing and going downtown to do some errands, then walking the two-mile distance back home. Upon arriving home, I realized that not only had there been no further pain but I hadn't even thought of the difficulty again. And this healing, which took place over twenty years ago and was so simply realized through the truths contained in the Lord's Prayer, has been permanent; there has been no return of the condition.
In Matthew, before giving the disciples the Lord's Prayer, Jesus indicated that ''vain repetitions'' do not constitute true prayer. n3 Are we merely repeating the words of this beautiful prayer, or are we striving for a greater sense of God's nearness and feeling His love for His beloved offspring? Are we acknowledging ourselves as the upright, unfallen creation of God? Or are we entertaining the mortal, material view of man as having fallen from grace through sin, therefore punishable by subjection to disease and death, and thus seeing the manifestation of this inverted concept evidenced in our actions and experience? The very use of the Master's phrase ''Our Father'' implies the identification of ourselves as the children of God, Spirit, hence spiritual and worthy of our Father's love. Indeed, identifying man's divine origin and nature was the very basis of Jesus' healing prayer and mission. It's the basis upon which we, today, can face up to sin and disease and find lasting freedom from them.
n3 See Mattew 6:7
We all can turn trustingly to God as our Master taught us to do in this deep and powerful prayer, communing with our heavenly Father and identifying ourselves as His children. Then, we'll indeed rise to a higher, spiritual state of consciousness. We'll progressively come nearer the state of thought that Christ Jesus exemplified and that consistently heals the sick and sinning. DAILY BIBLE VERSE 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. Matthew 6:6