`I GOT on my knees and prayed last night,'' a good friend confided. ``It's been a long time since I prayed like that, and it helped me feel God's power and closeness.'' Kneeling in prayer need not be reserved for desperate occasions. Nor does one have to be in a church to humbly bow before God.
Christ Jesus taught, ``When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, 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.''1
It's significant to note that Jesus' teachings and life include more about how to pray than what to pray. Studying the Gospels we find that the ``how'' includes humility, sincerity, persistence, childlikeness, and deep faith. Jesus showed that the ``how'' can include finding a quiet, private place. And the Bible records a special moment when theMaster knelt in prayer.2
Dropping to one's knees can serve to remind one of God's sovereignty and infinitude. It can call forward a sense of meekness and total dependence on God. But what good would be accomplished if we fell to the ground but allowed our thoughts to remain steeped in personal opinion and willfulness? The mere physical act of stooping down may even deceive us into believing we have genuinely prayed when the very opposite may be the case. Clearly, bowing before God needs to emerge from one's heart.
We might say that true bowing before God is a mental surrendering that involves giving up our preoccupation with material things, personalities, and so forth. We turn from matter to Spirit, from the emptiness and transience of materiality to the enduring goodness of spirituality. We yield the mistaken conviction that our trouble is too complex or too evil to be resolved. And we bow to the healing love of God.
This is not to imply that Christian Science teaches the losing of our identity in the infinitude of God. Rather Christian Science indicates that we find our true identity as the child of God in the proportion that we bow to our Maker.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discovererand Founder of Christian Science, writes: ``The alders bend over the streams to shake out their tresses in the water-mirrors; let mortals bow before the creator, and, looking through Love's transparency, behold man in God's own image and likeness, arranging in the beauty of holiness each budding thought.''3
Sometimes I'm so gripped by the ugliness of a trouble that it seems difficult to commune with God and accept the fact of His unwavering care. But when I struggle to yield to a divine definition of things, which is the truth, a healing resolution invariably follows.
And how is God defining man? What is the God-established truth of our being? Christian Science, in accord with the Scriptures, asserts that God is the one creator, supremely loving, and that the man of His creating is spiritual and whole, maintained in perfect harmony by his creator. Evil is not, then, the mountainous reality it seems to be, and on this basis we can begin to gain dominion over it, challenging as that may seem. Yes, evil hasto be faced; it can't simply be brushed aside. But because God truly is the only power, evil can and must yield to this realization.
God does not sponsor or even permit discord. Rather He tenderly sustains man in complete goodness. God knows man as His own perfect spiritual offspring. Bowing before the one Almighty God and the truth of His creation opens the way to healing sickness as well as sin.
1Matthew 6:5, 6. 2See Luke 22:41. 3Miscellaneous Writings, p. 330.
You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Psalms 95:6,7