The fruitage of prayer

A Christian Science perspective: Putting the understanding of God being Spirit into practice.

When I was in school, the chemistry lessons were often based on a simple formula of setting out a theory, describing the actions that were to be taken to test it, and then drawing conclusions based on the results. Was the theory proved or not? It made me think of what theories and conclusions we automatically accept every day. A major one, generally accepted by theorists over time – from Democritus to J. J. Thomson to Ernest Rutherford – is built on the theory that man has material origins, and is an evolving physical being.

There is, however, an idea positing that man’s origin comes from something unseen to the physical senses – from what is called God, or Spirit. It is right to ask whether this can be proved in some way, rather than simply being accepted by faith. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote a book devoted to offering both explanation and proof of Spirit’s substantiality and called it “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” In the last chapter, titled “Fruitage,” there are a hundred pages of testimonies of many healings of physical diseases – changes in the body that came from just reading the spiritual premises and reasoning set out in the previous six hundred pages of the book.

One definition of “fruitage” is “the product or result of an action.” This definition really made me think! The question came, If God, a spiritual power invisible to the physical senses, is the creator, wouldn’t all creation therefore be the “fruitage” of God – the spiritual outcome of this spiritual being? I saw how that simple scientific approach from my childhood chemistry class could help me reason correctly in this case, too.

I could “set forth” the idea that God is Spirit, and that man is spiritual. “The actions to be taken” require that I read this textbook on Christian healing carefully and with an openness to spiritual inspiration and understanding. The “conclusions based on the results” would be the conclusions I came to from healings I experienced through this spiritual reasoning, which is a kind of prayer.

One such example of healing happened years ago when there was an epidemic of mumps in the city where I worked. I had all the symptoms, and when one of my staff came to my home so I could sign some important documents, he returned to the office saying I would not be back for several weeks. After his visit however, I began to deeply contemplate inspirational ideas from my study of Christian Science, and this led me to understand and really feel that the all good Spirit is my true origin, and that something that’s not good could not affect my true being. This understanding healed me completely, and I was back in the office the following Monday, fully fit, and ever grateful for the fruitage of prayer. (For a full description of this healing, see “The fall of Jericho,” The Christian Science Journal, November 2015.)

For me, prayer like this is not the rehearsal of a formula. It is so much deeper. It’s reasoning and inspiration that draws us nearer to God and to spiritual reality. And it’s this spiritual truth that is proved in our lives through our own healing experiences and those of others. In the Bible, Christ Jesus tells his followers: “Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). This is what he did in his time on earth. He proved the superior power of God and the full fruitage of man as created by God.

In the school of life, I am still applying the idea that God is Spirit and that man is the fruitage of this perfect source. It is a wonderful daily lesson – with encouraging examples of conclusive proofs, both small and large.

This article was adapted from the March 14, 2017, Christian Science Daily Lift podcast.

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About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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