WHILE working at a school, I learned a basic truth from the behavior of one of the young women students there. When asked to do something, she would often adamantly refuse. Cajoling, pleading, even threats of punishment, had no effect on her refusal to comply. If you explained to her, however, that she needed to obey because it was a rule, she would respond, ``It's a rule? Really?'' And on being assured that it was, she would immediately follow through with obedience.
At the time, I was surprised by her reasoning. But in thinking about it later, I saw how the application of prayer can be similar. If our prayers aren't based on any real rule, if they are attempts to cajole God into giving us what we want, if we plead with Him for supply or healing, or threaten to turn away from Him if He doesn't give us what we want, this doesn't bring about the desired result. This kind of prayer doesn't have any solid foundation and is based on wishful thinking or willfulness.
Prayer that affirms God's law of good, on the other hand, is based on law and is supremely effective. Prayer founded on an understanding that God is all-powerful and all-loving is dependable and authoritative. The Bible tells us in Luke's Gospel that Christ Jesus gave his disciples ``power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases'' (9:1). Those words, power and authority, denote prayer that is decisively effective. And looking at what Jesus and his disciples were able to accomplish, we find undeniable proof that the prayer Jesus practiced and taught was indeed powerful and authoritative. He and his disciples healed all kinds of ills.
So, what does this mean to us? Does the fact that Jesus' disciples were able to heal mean anything to us today? It does! The very fact that Jesus was able to teach his disciples how to heal indicates that there was a method, a system, that could be learned- -that we can learn. And the best news is that this underlying law, or system, has been brought to light by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. Her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures explains how Bible teachings are practical and demonstrable today. We can learn and practice them now as certainly as the disciples did. We can use them to heal ourselves, our families, and even our world.
Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health: ``Divine metaphysics is now reduced to a system, to a form comprehensible by and adapted to the thought of the age in which we live. This system enables the learner to demonstrate the divine Principle, upon which Jesus' healing was based, and the sacred rules for its pres-ent application to the cure of disease'' (pp. 146-147).
Jesus taught that God is all and that He is good. This means that the apparent power of evil and disease isn't real. Understanding God's benevolent government, we can find healing of disease or inharmony. This was proved by Jesus and his disciples, and it is still consistently being proved today.
Those words, ``It's a rule. Really!'' have come to me time and time again as I've been praying to see the truth of God and man. Instead of wishing or willing God to heal me, I have remembered that what I am relying on is a rule. I've then been able to affirm with certainty that God's law of harmony is in operation and see the inevitable result--healing. Illness, injury, lack, homelessness, grief, depression, and fear have been overcome as I've applied my understanding of the teachings of Christian Science. These teachings, which are based squarely on the Bible, do show us how to heal. You can do it too because it's a rule--really!