HAVE you ever thought of prayer as seeking? I wondered about this recently. After all, in Luke, Christ Jesus gives us the Lord's Prayer and then says, ``Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.''1
As I thought more about this question, I realized I couldn't afford to shortchange the implications of those verbs ask and seek. To me, in addition to the time-tested practice of asking God's help in prayer, these verbs also strongly suggest the need for deep inquiry.
``Seeking'' for me, then, became a matter of looking deeply into the nature of God. The Bible represents Deity as saying, ``And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.''2 Those last words -- ``with all your heart'' -- might be thought of as the first rule of such seeking.
Mary Baker Eddy, whose own deep searching led to her discovery of Christian Science, says, ``God is at once the centre and circumference of being.''3 Since God is the All-in-all of existence, looking into His nature is unlike any other pursuit. It is the holiest of quests and demands not only our best thinking but our whole heart as well. Anything less than a wholehearted approach would not be a fitting inquiry into what the Bible calls ``the Highest.''
Isn't the Bible the best place to start (and to continue!) such deep seeking? The Bible is by no means an outdated book; the lessons it teaches about the nature of God and man are timeless. Its pages contain accounts of healing of all sorts of diseases, of poverty and prejudice, of grief, of extreme fear -- even terror -- of infidelity and infertility, of homelessness and mental illness.
These healing accounts aren't just tales that turned out well, any more than the Biblical truths found in Psalms or in Christ Jesus' Sermon on the Mount are just a collection of well-turned sayings. Both the healings and the truths that underlie them are there to illustrate the great spiritual depth and detail of God and of His care for man. They show the nature of God as good, as infinite Love, the only genuine power, the one eternally wise creator. And they point to the spiritual reality of man as God's likeness, inseparable from His care.
The concepts of light and understanding are strongly attached to God and His relationship to man in the Bible. Doesn't this tell us that God means Himself to be understood and not hidden? Deep, thoughtful study of the Bible can help us understand God more clearly.
As a true seeker, Mrs. Eddy added an important dimension to the practice of seeking -- she proved what she learned about God. She herself practiced spiritual healing, and so added great authority to what she wrote about God and man in Science and Health, the Christian Science textbook.
This book makes demands on the reader. It's not really for casual or offhand reading. To gain the lessons taught about God we need to work at making its truths part of our daily life. As Science and Health says in reference to the demands of prayer: ``Seeking is not sufficient. It is striving that enables us to enter. Spiritual attainments open the door to a higher understanding of the divine Life.''4
It is work -- no doubt about it -- this business of seeking God. But there is joy in the finding that can't be quantified.
1Luke 11:9. 2Jeremiah 29:13. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 203-204. 4Ibid., p. 10.
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