The power of prayer
A Christian Science perspective: While prayer can often prompt additional human action, it is a powerful action in itself.
You see or hear the words frequently after a disaster. Someone speaking to a camera or posting online. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims and families of this tragedy.” Sometimes it may just be an attempt to say something, say anything, at a time when there are no adequate words to say. But more often it truly does represent a deep yearning, shared broadly by humanity, for people to feel comforted, for good to be powerful, for evil to not have the last word. They also acknowledge a level of need so great that only a power beyond mere human thoughts and energies will be able to meet it.
The fact is, those prayer-filled desires do make a difference. They change us. They make us more caring, more determined to serve good, more committed to loving others. And the evidence indicates that they can in fact make a huge difference for others as well.
The Bible is filled with healings through prayer. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of The Christian Science Monitor, was deeply inspired by such healings. In searching the Scriptures for insight on God’s healing power, she perceived that Christ Jesus’ healings point to divine laws, which can be applied by his followers, even as he promised, “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also” (John 14:12). This enabled her to heal many people, and found the Christian Science church on the basis of Christian healing.
For more than a century, Christian Scientists have demonstrated the power of prayer to heal all sorts of human challenges, from disease and other physical ailments to financial woes, grief, and relationship difficulties. Tens of thousands of these healings have been verified and published in the Monitor’s sister publications, The Christian Science Journal, Sentinel, and Herald.
While prayer can often prompt additional human action, whether by an individual, a community, or a government, it is a powerful action in itself. One individual’s prayer, inspired and governed by God, can have a tremendous effect. “You have simply to preserve a scientific, positive sense of unity with your divine source, and daily demonstrate this,” writes Mrs. Eddy. “Then you will find that one is as important a factor as duodecillions in being and doing right, and thus demonstrating deific Principle” (“Pulpit and Press,” p. 4).
Such prayer can do much toward alleviating a sense of helplessness, and enabling our thoughts as well as our actions to bless all of humanity.