ALL too often we're aware of life's sorrows--it may seem barren, joyless, arduous. Even when we hear of the good and generous things people do, it seems that there is always a need for more, and it's easy to fear that people's capacity for benevolence will wear out.
If we base our individual generosity on trust in God, however, prayer helps us break through anything that would limit our capacity to love and give. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, puts it in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany: "Goodness and benevolence never tire. They maintain themselves and others and never stop from exhaustion. He who is afraid of being too generous has lost the power of being magnanimous. The best man or woman is the most unse lfed. When our giving stems from our prayers, our ability to reach outward to bless others--to give unreservedly, abundantly, joyfully, selflessly--is enriched. That's why prayer is the most effective basis for meeting humanity's needs. Prayer establishes the abundance that God, good, gives to His creation.
Prayer's effectiveness reaches beyond the mere willingness to help, to the spiritual understanding of God and man that actually brings healing to mankind. Indeed, when prayer is employed in the service of mankind, it helps to open our hearts to the love of Christ, Truth.
Because God, Spirit, is wholly good, His creation could never include anything bad, anything false. And God's idea, man--our genuine selfhood--is subject only to God. As we understand this in prayer, we begin to learn to be more selfless and tireless in blessing humanity. Praying to be more selfless in serving mankind also helps us grow spiritually ourselves. When we put others first and strive to meet their needs prayerfully our own spiritual receptivity is strengthened. We are blessed as we prayerfully
broaden our love and service to humanity.
Serving humanity begins within the devoted, generous hearts of those seeking God. Serving expands our ability to express the love and compassion that are inherent in man. Exercising the unselfishness and benevolence that we reflect from our creator helps us to outgrow any selfishness or egotism that would limit our own joy and freedom.
Selflessness is a quality that man reflects from God. As we learn, through prayer, how to cultivate unselfishness within our heart, it expands into spiritual generosity, and our willingness to serve mankind is rewarded with opportunities to serve that also bring fulfillment to our lives. Prayerfully challenging greed with generosity, self-righteousness with humility, and lack with spiri- tual abundance enables us to help ourselves and others prove the effectiveness of prayer.
There's much work to be done! As Christ Jesus observed, "The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few. Yet the challenges facing humanity need not appear overwhelming to those who are willing to reap the spiritual harvest--to act with the selflessness and benevolence man reflects from God, good. And those searching for God-directed solutions will find them as they pray to build on the unerring foundation of spiritual benevolence.
The things that are disturbing in our lives and in the world won't disappear overnight. But when we pray, deep down in our heart, our prayer will make a difference. It will help open the doors of lack to abundance--for humanity's sake.