A Christian Science perspective: Relying on prayer for healing and guidance.

What do we do when the drama of everyday living has our back against a wall and we feel we’ve reached the limits of what we can do? Where do we turn when we are sure our heartfelt desire to help a friend, resolve a problem in the community, or provide meaningful assistance somewhere else in the world just can’t be enough to meet the need? In such circumstances we often hear, in helpless resignation, “All I can do is pray.” What if instead of waiting until moments of last resort, we went to God first?

Throughout time, men and women have prayed for healing and to let God guide them. From Abraham in biblical times to today, people have found prayer to be a potent help. Describing why prayer is powerful, Christian Science Discoverer Mary Baker Eddy explains: “True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us. It makes new and scientific discoveries of God, of His goodness and power. It shows us more clearly than we saw before, what we already have and are; and most of all, it shows us what God is” (“No and Yes,” p. 39).

Knowing what we are – spiritually, made in the image and likeness of God, who is all good – is key. This idea has helped me in countless situations involving work, family, friends, and my own health.

For example, at one time I was bedridden with symptoms of pneumonia. I decided to pray about this and began by deeply considering what God is and what He does for us. I saw that as divine Love, God is trustworthy, so I was not waiting for a precarious power to help me.

Christ Jesus had shown in his teachings and healing works that all cause and effect belong to God, the supreme power of the universe. And according to the basic law that “like produces like,” God as Spirit must produce only that which is spiritual, without illness.

Realizing even in a degree that God is the cause of every effect and only causes good, quickly resulted in complete healing, without a period of recuperation. I got up, dressed, ate a hearty meal for the first time in three days, and was back to my full schedule the next morning.

This, along with other healings I’ve had, has proved to me that God is ever-present and universal, whose power is always good and is immediately available.

The power of divine Love enables us to feel the divine energy of Spirit in daily life, and to experience His justice and mercy, which are adequate for any circumstance. Step by step we can make our lives a living prayer so that “all I can do is pray” will no longer be a resignation when “all else fails.” Prayer opens the window to a better understanding of God and His goodwill for all of us.

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Dear Reader,

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.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.