Have you ever prayed and felt disappointed with the outcome? Maybe you asked for guidance and didn't hear an answer. Or perhaps you prayed for healing and nothing happened. I've felt disappointed that way.
Then there are the times when prayer has brought me incredible guidance and instant healing.
In fact, I had a healing just recently, although it didn't start out all that well. There was a pain in my ankle that became worse and worse as days went by. Finally it hurt so much that I had a hard time walking normally. I prayed about it, but things just continued to deteriorate. And the more I prayed, the more disappointed I became! I thought I was doing it right-the Bible was the basis for my prayer. I wasn't just begging God to heal me, but was looking to God's Word to learn how to pray.
Something from Christ Jesus' prayer, the Lord's Prayer, helped: "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven" (Matthew 6:10). I reasoned that because God is divine Spirit, God's kingdom is spiritual also. Divine Spirit is not combined with anything material-God is all Spirit. Best of all, everyone is included in this kingdom of Spirit. There isn't any injury or deterioration in what God creates. He is perfect and He is good.
I finally began to see why I was feeling disappointed. I'd been reasoning, building my prayer, on a very unstable foundation. In fact, I'd been building on a lie! No matter how wonderful and true our prayers seem to us, if we begin with an untruth, we end up frustrated.
Here's what I learned as to why I had been praying ineffectively: I'd been attempting to pray a hurt material body into a well one, when in fact I was a spiritual, well expression of God all along. I learned that since God is perfect Spirit, all God can do is create perfectly and spiritually. As His son, I am always perfect and spiritual. As the expression of divine Spirit, I can never be injured or deteriorating.
I saw that God wouldn't give me two identities, one spiritual and one material. I must really be spiritual always. That meant I never had to pray to convert a hurt ankle into a well one. But I did have to understand why I was already well, right then, no matter what I was seeing or believing about myself.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote: "The realm of the real is Spirit. The unlikeness of Spirit is matter, and the opposite of the real is not divine,-it is a human concept. Matter is an error of statement. This error in the premise leads to errors in the conclusion in every statement into which it enters" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 277). No wonder I had been frustrated. My prayer, although sincere, was premised on my being a material man with a deteriorating ankle in need of healing.
So I started over. Now my reasoning was that I was eternally perfect as God's expression. From there my intent was not to heal a degenerating ankle, but to destroy the false belief that God's expression could somehow deteriorate. When I realized that nothing could make me believe a lie about myself, I could feel God's presence and assurance. And I was healed that very moment! As quickly as my thought changed, my physical well-being improved.
Obviously, you and I don't know each other personally. But instead of learning the hard way, it's probably worth your learning something from my disappointment. If you feel frustrated with the outcome of your prayer, maybe it's time to step back and examine the foundation on which you are basing everything. The truth is the only firm foundation. God's kingdom of spiritual perfection is what's real. This kingdom, where God reigns supreme, is already here, actively at work within you. Any evidence to the contrary, no matter how it is presented to you, is false; you don't have to believe it. And prayer that eliminates false belief is effective prayer. It reveals the healing power of God.
You can find other articles about prayer in a weekly magazine called the Christian Science Sentinel.