Christian Science: How It Can Help You
Archibald Carey, C.S.B., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Better health and happier
relations in home and business can be established here and now through
scientific understanding of the rules for living taught by Christ Jesus,
Archibald Carey, C.S.B., of
Nothing can contribute more to
individual progress than earnest prayer to God and application of His
intelligent, loving guidance in daily activities, Mr. Carey stated. He spoke in
The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in
Among the actual incidents of divine help described in his lecture was a complete and permanent healing of tuberculosis through spiritual means alone.
A member of The Christian Science Board of Lectureship, he was introduced by Mrs. Ruth Lund, C.S., Second Reader of The Mother Church.
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Christian Science and Everyday Needs
Some of us need better health. Most of us could use more money. Many of us seem to lack opportunity. We would like to get along better with employers or employees, with customers or neighbors, or even at home. Perhaps we have other special needs. Can Christian Science help us with these ordinary, everyday things?
The Founder of Christianity, Christ Jesus, did not overlook these things. When people were sick, he healed them. When they needed money to pay taxes, it was provided. When the multitudes were hungry and needed food, he furnished bread and fish. When they were unsuccessful in fishing, he showed them what to do. He gave that unsurpassed rule for improving human relationships - "Thou shall love thy neighbour as thyself." He did not ignore human needs; he provided for them. His teachings were practical and effective.
If we were able scientifically to understand and utilize the laws which Jesus used, should not we, also, be able to provide for these ordinary human needs? It would seem that a scientific understanding of the Christianity Jesus taught and exemplified should enable us to do this. That is what Christian Science is doing today for thousands of people.
"But," someone may say, "these acts of Jesus were miracles, and we cannot expect to perform miracles." Just what is a miracle?
Let us imagine that you and I are back in the year 1901. That is less than sixty years ago. Suppose we have lost our way in crossing a desert in the western part of the United States and have used up all our food and water. From a slight rise in the ground we can look for miles in every direction, and there is no help in sight. Then we hear a noise in the sky. It grows louder, and as we watch, a beautiful silvery object flashes into sight like a shooting star. It is a modern airplane traveling at 300 miles an hour. When it comes near us, it circles to lower levels and presently lands on the ground near us. A man steps out and comes over to us. He says: "I thought you might be lost. Can I help you?" He has food and water in the plane and gladly shares with us. He sends a message over his radio that brings a fast automobile to our rescue. Then he leaves us and in a matter of minutes disappears over the horizon.
Think how that would have seemed to one who lived in the first year of this century. Less than sixty years ago - yet they had no airplanes, no radio, no modern automobiles. Then all these things would have seemed miraculous, almost as marvelous as the miracles of Jesus.
Why? Because in those days the laws that make these things possible were not understood. The flight of an airplane, the instant communication of radio, even the ordinary performance of today's automobile, would seem either impossible or miraculous to the ignorance of the opening years of this century. But all these things cease to be miraculous as the laws which produce them are understood. Today we expect an airplane to fly, a radio to perform, an automobile to run, because we know the laws under which they operate. There is no longer any mystery or miracle about them. We expect results, and we get results.
Sixty years ago the laws of flight were not understood. Yet these laws were the same then as they are today. The laws have not changed. Only ignorance of these laws prevented their use in 1901.
What released mankind from this ignorance and made it possible for them to utilize the laws of aerodynamics? First, a willingness on the part of some alert thinkers open-mindedly to consider and accept ideas that had not been generally recognized as true. Secondly, a growing recognition of the importance of things that are not visible to the eye. An airplane is sustained by the operation of laws. You cannot see these laws, but they are there. Even the earth, upon which we feel so secure, is maintained in its orbit by unseen laws. It rests upon the operation of laws, and nothing else. Laws of aerodynamics cannot be utilized unless recognized and understood. If you understand these laws, they will work for you, and you can do what would have been considered miraculous a half-century ago.
Understanding of Divine Laws Heals
If we should consider the so-called miracles of Jesus with the same scientific open-mindedness, search for the laws involved, and learn to appreciate the operation of the divine laws which he so perfectly understood, might we not be enabled to understand the same laws he utilized and produce similar results?
This is what Christian Science is doing. People are being healed of diseases that are considered incurable. Desperate business problems are solved. Ordinary human needs are being met. The scientific understanding which Christian Science brings has transformed the lives of thousands of people. And it can help each one of us. The Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," says (p. 494), "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need."
If we were living in the beginning of this century, and someone were able to bring to us the knowledge that has transformed transportation in the last few years, we would be intensely interested. In those days no one realized that air will sustain an airship. Now we know that the air can be navigated. We know that we can start a voyage anywhere. The air is always ready. We only have to know how to use it.
Sometimes we hear life compared to a voyage. Is it not possible that our voyage to health and success and happiness could be more direct and rapid if we learned some lessons from the progress of air transportation? Open-mindedly to look for facts, and so remove ignorance and prejudice, may help us in better navigating our individual ship of life. Also, may there not be vitally important factors to be considered that are not visible to the physical senses? Unseen radio beams, radar, two-way radio communication, all depending on unseen but powerful forces, make possible safer and rapid flying. Christian Science explains the unseen influences that must be understood in order to make our individual life-voyage sure and successful.
Let us consider some of these things that Christian Science shows us, and how it enables us to recognize and use these unseen forces that have been neglected or misunderstood. But before doing so, let us review briefly the discovery and establishment of this Science.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science and the Founder of the Christian Science movement, was a highly intelligent New England woman. Her writings show that she was familiar with the most advanced scientific and philosophical thought of her time. She was reared in a Christian home and was naturally deeply religious. As she grew up and began to think for herself, she could see no reason for the conflict that seemed to exist between science and religion.
Mrs. Eddy Lifted by Study of Bible
An incident occurred that brought a practical answer to these questions. Mrs. Eddy met with an accident that was expected to prove fatal. She took her Bible and studied the account of the healing by Jesus of a palsied man. She was instantly healed. Later she learned that Christ Jesus utilized his understanding of God's unchanging laws in his healing work, and that these laws were always present and operative and therefore were as available to her as they had been to him.
Gradually it dawned upon her that Science and Christianity were inseparable. She saw the tremendous possibilities of a scientific understanding of these laws that Jesus had used, and she dropped all other activities to search the Bible and study Jesus' teachings and works to find out what these laws were. As a result she discovered the laws which underlie the practical, demonstrable Christianity which Jesus taught and exemplified, and she called her discovery Christian Science.
After broad practical tests of
this healing Science, she wrote a textbook on the subject called "Science
and Health with Key to the Scriptures." She founded the Christian Science
movement so that those who had been benefited by her teachings could work
together and share with others an accurate understanding of this Science. She
established The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist,
We are compelled to admire her ability and intelligence. What she accomplished speaks for itself. And those who have received healing and happiness through Christian Science add to their admiration, gratitude and love. Christian Scientists do not worship Mrs. Eddy, but it would be unnatural for those who have been so greatly benefited by her work to feel anything less than the deepest gratitude and love toward her. As her clear thought continues to lead and inspire them, they acknowledge her as their Leader along the path which has brought them out of sickness, lack, and discord into the expanding freedom which they enjoy today.
Now what are the facts and laws upon which Christian Science is based? Let us continue to follow our comparison between learning to understand Christian Science and learning to fly. You know that before attempting to fly it is well to know something about the basic laws involved. You cannot see the law of gravity, but you need to know something about it if you are to fly. You cannot see the air, but you must know something about what it is and how it acts before you start flying.
The air is all around you, always has been; but if you are to fly, you must learn things about it that you never knew before.
Christian Science teaches us things about God that we have not known before. In the Christian Science textbook we find the words given as synonyms for God, "Divine Principle, Life, Truth, Love, Soul, Spirit, Mind" (p. 115). Let us take these words one by one and examine their meaning. In starting to learn to fly, you could not get far without first finding out about the air, because in flying everything depends upon the nature and qualities of the air. So you must first have some understanding of what the air is and how it acts. In Christian Science everything is based upon God, and in order to use Christian Science you must know something about the nature and laws of God. As the Bible says, "In him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts ).
One Supreme Principle Governs All
The word Principle as a synonym for God brings out some very important facts. Someone may question whether there really is one great supreme Principle that governs all the laws of the universe. Is it not necessary that there should be such a Principle? We know that laws cannot be in conflict with each other. A law must be able to operate, or it is no law. If another law prevented its operation, it would not be a law. We know that the laws of mathematics cannot be in conflict with each other. The principle of mathematics protects the full operation of each law of mathematics. So if we are to have reliable laws in this universe, there must be one great Principle controlling all laws and maintaining their harmony. All laws must be founded upon and governed by this Principle.
Also, because it maintains and protects the existence and action of all its laws, this Principle is good and beneficent to the laws that are based upon it. In reality there are no other laws but those of Principle. There is nothing to which this Principle is not good. To know God as Principle helps us to understand His unchanging, omnipresent nature. But in order fully to understand the nature of this unique Principle that is God, we need the other synonyms as well.
Take the synonym Mind. The Principle of the universe maintaining eternally the divine laws of order and harmony could hardly be less than divine intelligence. Being intelligence or Mind, it must comprehend the laws that are based upon it. All cause and effect are necessarily founded upon this supreme Principle, or Mind; so in knowing them it would know all that there is to be known. Therefore it would not be merely an unintelligent principle; it would be both ultimate Principle and perfect Mind.
Again, because this supreme Principle is completely intelligent, it would necessarily discern and appreciate the goodness and harmony of the laws which are based upon it as well as the good effects of these laws. It is the nature of love to discern and appreciate good. Could this completely intelligent Being fail to have the discernment and appreciation of good which would characterize love? Would not its very nature be Love? This ever-present love and wisdom of God are indicated in a term for God that is frequently used in Christian Science - our Father-Mother God.
Truth and Spirit Are Synonyms of God
Another synonym for God in Christian Science is Truth, because, after all, there is nothing true but this fundamental Principle and the actualities that are based upon it. Because this Principle is the foundation of all that life includes, it is the very essence of life or Life itself. Without limits of time or space, always and everywhere active and powerful, it can be spoken of as Spirit. Establishing and maintaining the identity of each individual in its true spiritual sense, we can speak of it as Soul.
Do not these synonyms bring out some things about the nature of God that are frequently overlooked? In learning to fly, you learn about the nature of the atmosphere in which you will be flying so that you can make use of this knowledge; so in Christian Science we prepare to utilize this fuller knowledge of God.
God is everywhere, here, now. Just as you can launch a plane upon the air at any point, whether it is located on the ocean or far inland, so we can at any time launch forth on this sustaining love and wisdom of God. As we learn to recognize God's laws and understandingly to rely upon them, we can confidently expect to be sustained and supported by them.
An airplane is constructed to receive and utilize the support of the air in flight, and we find in Christian Science that the nature of man is such that he is designed to receive from God everything necessary for his success and happiness. He is entirely dependent upon God, and God is Love, with unlimited resources to bless and help His children.
But in order that each one of us may be free to enjoy the unlimited opportunities that lie before us, it is important to recognize that man is not a physical body. Your body has changed in many ways since you were a baby, but you are still the same individual. They tell us that the physical body is practically rebuilt in about eleven months, that most of it is replaced much more frequently than that; and yet while the body is completely changed, you remain the same individual. Your identity, your individuality, then, is not the material body. When the body changes, your identity does not change. You can establish your identity and draw money at the bank even though you have a different body from the one you had when you made the deposit. Your signature looks the same. If you knew how to swim ten years ago, you know how to swim today. The changing body does not determine your identity. As you learn better to control your body, you have greater freedom and better health.
If man is not a physical body, what is he? In the Christian Science textbook man is spoken of as "the conscious identity of being as found in Science, in which man is the reflection of God, or Mind, and therefore is eternal" (p. 475). So man's real identity is not physical, but spiritual. Man is the intelligent, loving, active expression of the perfect nature of God, and the universe and man function in perfect harmony. If we would be successful in our experience, we must learn to understand the unseen actualities of being.
Infinite Mind Rids Man of False Beliefs
In flying, you must distinguish between the pull of gravity and the pull of centrifugal force. You cannot see either of them, but they are both vitally important. Gravity pulls you toward the earth. Centrifugal force pulls you toward the outer edge of the circle as you turn. When you make a turn in a plane, the pull of centrifugal force feels so much like the pull of gravity that you may be surprised to find that the earth appears to be not below you but out at one side of the plane. If you could not distinguish between gravity and centrifugal force, you might go into a deadly spiral leading to a crash. But in flying we learn to detect the difference between these two unseen forces.
We find in Christian Science that it is also vitally important for one to be able to discern the unseen forces with which we have to deal in our voyage of life, so that we can hold to a safe course that leads to progress. Thus we will not ignorantly follow ways that would lead to disaster.
Christian Science shows what man is and also how to get rid of the false sense of self and its beliefs. Man has eternal identity. He understands and loves right ideas and responds to the harmonious laws of God, which govern him and the entire universe. He carries on successfully in this atmosphere of Mind, where all things work together for good. The only thing that has kept us from the ability to accept all good is ignorance of the laws of God. In the year 1901 they could have had airplanes if they had known enough. Today Christian Science, by bringing us a fuller understanding of God, opens new fields of opportunity for us here and now.
Correct Thinking Cures Disease
How does Christian Science help us in specific situations? Take sickness, for example. How does a demonstrable understanding of God and His law heal sickness?
Practically everyone nowadays recognizes the mental element as an important factor in the cure of disease. Worry, fear, fatalism are considered to be the cause of many functional disorders and even of organic lesions. How important this mental element is considered to be, varies with the opinions of those whom you may consult. In Christian Science we find that as thought is corrected by a true understanding of the nature of God and man, disease loses its reality. We find that it is false material sense alone which testifies of disease. We correct and remove this false sense of things by understanding the truth about God and man as Principle and idea, just as we would correct a mistake in mathematics by learning and applying the rules and laws of mathematics. When the influence of mistaken thinking is removed, the body naturally responds in better health. Have we been told that Christian Science cannot heal physical disease? We used to be told that man would never be able to fly. But today men fly. And today, through the power of God, Christian Science heals disease.
Do you remember when they used to tell us that matter, including the physical body, was made up of unchanging chemical elements and that these were composed of indestructible atoms? That seems like a long time ago. Today physicists say that all substance is composed of particles of energy in various combinations and relationships. If your physical body is composed entirely of energy, action, should not the understanding of the ever-present harmonious activity of Spirit have a profound effect upon the body? We find in Christian Science that it does. The formerly accepted limitations of matter and materiality are breaking down under modern discoveries in physics. At the same time a growing realization of the present power of the harmonious laws of God as explained by Christian Science is lifting the standard of health and is increasing the ability to resist disease for thousands of people. Real health, buoyant, active, abundant, God gives without limit to those who understandingly obey His laws. The Bible says, "Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily" (Isa. 58:8).
After months of treatment under material medicine, a man who had tuberculosis was told that he had not sufficient resistance to throw off the disease and that he would grow progressively worse. As he learned through Christian Science that God was his Life, and that this understanding could resist and overcome any false sense of germ life that claimed to grow in opposition to the expression of Life itself, the disease was checked and finally disappeared. Like a mistake in mathematics, it was compelled to yield to the power of Truth.
What can Christian Science do for you if you need money? That is a practical question and calls for a practical answer. If I told you to go to a certain bank and get a definite amount of money, I would have to take a little time to tell you just what bank to go to, whom to see, and just what to do. So I know you will be patient with me while we do a little reasoning about just how you are to get the money you need. We are not going to dodge the issue, but we must approach it correctly to get the best results.
First of all, when you say you need money, what you mean is that you need what money will buy. You don't want the money as such. You want to exchange it for what you need. Whatever people agree upon and accept as money will serve as money, whether it is gold, or paper, or sea shells, or what is called credit. Values depend entirely upon the mental concepts that are accepted and agreed upon. In fact, money is just a symbol of that mutual agreement upon certain mental concepts. Money is basically, then, a mental concept, whether it is symbolized by gold or paper.
Intelligent Ideas Stem From God
Again, the ability to get money, or the things money will buy, depends upon intelligence. A baby with no intelligent ideas about money could not get or keep or use money. The usefulness of money depends on mental concepts. The man or woman who can recognize and use ideas that will meet present human needs can share these ideas and in return receive money. An invention, a better way of doing things, a capacity to organize work, faithful, active, and intelligent performance of our duties, the recognition and acceptance of opportunities for advancement, all these bring supply.
Is it not a logical conclusion that anything which will enable you to be more intelligent than you have been before, more active and effective in your work, more wise and kindly in your contacts with others, should bring prosperity? A business becomes substantial as the management uses right ideas. It grows weaker if the management fails to respond to intelligence. Is not the very substance of a business the intelligence expressed by the management?
A man who needed money for his business began to start the day by applying the rules of Christian Science to his approach to the affairs of the day. Before long his ability, his courage, his effective activity attracted the support that the business required. It took much less money than he had expected to save his business, because the resourcefulness which he developed as he accepted intelligent ideas from God solved most of his problems without the use of money. But the money that was required was there when he needed it.
So when we need money, we find that Christian Science deals with this very practically. It shows us how to receive valuable ideas from God and how to share these ideas with others. It shows us how to start with an abundance of right ideas and how to use these ideas to benefit ourselves and others. It develops our capacity to recognize and accept the opportunities that God provides to receive money or anything else that we may need.
Would not a loving Father wish His children to have an abundance of good? God is Love. His children rightly desire good things, and God loves to supply the good that will bring them the highest happiness. Christian Science shows us how to recognize these right desires and also how to discern and accept the opportunities that will satisfy these desires. If you need money, you can have it; and a truer sense of values will enable you wisely to use the money you control for the greatest good of all. In her "Miscellaneous Writings," the author of the Christian Science textbook tells us, "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies" (p. 307).
Do you lack opportunity for progress? How can Christian Science help you with this?
If an airplane pilot wishes to take off in a strong wind, he knows that it will be difficult or impossible to get the plane off the ground if he starts in the same direction that the wind is blowing. On the other hand, if he flies against the wind, the wind will help him to rise. He cannot see the wind, but he knows that the wind is very important in flying; and he knows that he must learn wisely to deal with this unseen but vital factor. The pilot who understands this is not hampered by the wind. He understands how to use it. One who did not understandingly deal with this unseen factor might say that it was impossible to get off the ground.
Christian Science shows us that opportunity is always at hand. Unlimited opportunity for every child of God is provided. But we must learn to recognize and accept opportunity, to make sound decisions based on intelligent ideas from God, to utilize existing opportunities to help both ourselves and others. The opportunities are here. Christian Science shows us how to discern and use them. The Christian Science textbook says, "Working and praying with true motives, your Father will open the way" (p. 326).
Another thing that we all need is the ability to get along well with people. Do you have difficulty with your employer, or with some of your employees, or with any of your neighbors? Or with friends, or occasionally in church matters? Or in your home, perhaps with some of the children? Can Christian Science help us to do better with this? Yes, it produces remarkable results. Because it is the Science of God and His laws, it teaches us how to be more Godlike. The more one expresses the breadth of vision, the wisdom, and the kindliness and tact of infinite Love, the more he is letting the omnipotent power of God operate to improve the situation; and the power of right ideas works quickly. If an airplane can travel faster than the speed of sound, why should not the power of right thought operate quickly too? These are the days, not of miracles, but of such an understanding of law that what were called miracles seem natural. Jesus' rule, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," is still working these miracles of love.
Divine Love Is Basis of Happiness
Would you like a happy home? Can Christian Science do anything about that?
First of all, a home without love could not be happy. A home provides an opportunity to express love. That is the foundation of a happy home. God gives us the ability to love, and as we use that ability by being more and more loving, more appreciative, more considerate, we are laying the foundation of a happy home. The opportunities to express love will expand as we utilize every present occasion, and the omnipotent power of Love will break every barrier that would prevent a full response to love.
The power of divine Love which provides the basis for happiness also protects that happiness and can restore it when it seems to be lost. Have you lost a loved one? Is there anything that Christian Science can do? Yes, more than you might imagine.
If you were flying at night, you might not be able to see the landing field to which you were going nor the one who would meet you on arrival. You might be right over the field, with your friends a few hundred yards away, and yet a ground mist might keep you from seeing them. But as you glance at your instruments, as you recognize the facts that are unseen to the physical senses, you know where you are and how near you are to the friends who will greet you when you land. You begin to rejoice in their presence even before you can see them. And you know that as you follow the rules, your reunion with them is sure. The joy of anticipation, because you know that they are near, outshines any sense of separation.
So Christian Science shows us that those we love are near us, as near as God is. We do not look back with sorrow, blinding ourselves to the joy of dissolving separation, but we look forward to a clearer realization of God's nearness to us, and our consequent closeness to each one of His ideas. God gave us the ability to love and be loved. He gave us the one whom we love, and unchanging Principle will never allow one iota of this joy to be lost. Through Christian Science we learn to love God more, to love each one of His children more deeply.
Thus we realize that Love and Life are the same. The more we love, the fuller our sense of Life. As we love deeply, we discern the true nature of God and of His individual ideas. Infinite Love, as we express it, helps us to appreciate eternal Life and its every individual expression. As we strive to love more in every contact, we are melting the barriers that claim to separate us from any one of God's ideas. As we realize this, we feel the joy of this eternal reunion breaking through today's thin clouds of separation.
Christian Science not only meets our everyday human needs, but it lifts us into a realm of daily living that brings true happiness. We may think we would be satisfied with freedom from physical disease and suffering. Christian Science not only relieves us of sickness and pain, but it gives us the true sense of health that not only resists disease but, as an unlimited idea, can be shared with others and will heal them. We may feel that some large amount of money would satisfy our needs. Christian Science not only supplies our every need, but it lifts us to a realization of the true wealth of ideas which not only prevents poverty and lack, but enables us to contribute to the welfare of others without diminishing our own abundant supply. We may have been looking for opportunities that would benefit only ourselves. Christian Science shows us how to recognize and use opportunities that not only help us but are beneficial to all around us.
Most important of all, Christian Science shows us what true happiness and success are and how to achieve them. There can be no happiness without love. In Christian Science we find our true identity in expressing love. We learn to love God, to love God's children, to love all the unlimited beauty, harmony, and goodness that characterize God's universe. Love alone can bring true happiness.
Are there any definite steps to be taken to gain these results? If you wish to learn to fly an airplane, you study the laws involved and then use what you learn. In Christian Science we follow the same method.
Science and Health Clarifies Bible
The Bible and the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, are the books that are used for foundational study in this Science. In the light of this textbook the Bible becomes plain and understandable. Ignorance and mistaken dogmas have obscured the spiritual meaning of many statements in the Bible, and Christian Science restores their clarity and power. We learn to separate the profound truths that are set forth in the Bible from the misinterpretation that has obscured them. We see gradual fulfillment of prophecy in the appearance of Truth as the ages pass, preparing the way for the coming of Christ Jesus and for the later appearing of Christian Science.
Christian Science makes a distinction between the Christ, defined in Science and Health as "the divine manifestation of God, which comes to the flesh to destroy incarnate error" (p. 583), and Jesus, defined as "the highest human corporeal concept of the divine idea . . ." (p. 589). The eternal Christ was expressed by the human Jesus, so that he was known as Christ Jesus.
The eternal Christ always has expressed and always will express the true nature of God. Perhaps one of the simplest ways to understand the practical nature of the ageless Christ is to think of the Christ as a way of living, the perfect way of living. Both the Bible and the Christian Science textbook speak of the Christ as the Way. As our way of living approaches more and more the divine manifestation of God, incarnate error is destroyed and true salvation is attained.
Salvation, then, is a present experience. The power of God, understood and demonstrated, saves us from all evil, including disease and lack as well as sin. This is true salvation, complete and eternal.
Because God, infinite Mind, is the source of all the ideas that man needs to bring him complete happiness, the way to receive these ideas is through communion with this unlimited Mind. Communion with God is prayer. The first chapter in the Christian Science textbook is devoted to this vitally important subject.
Prayer has been greatly misunderstood. If God is unchangingly good and infinitely wise, does He need to be advised by mortals as to what is best for them? Does He need to be urged to provide for His children? And yet how often do we hear prayer spoken of as though it meant merely asking God for something and then waiting doubtfully to see whether He would grant the request. In Christian Science prayer means much more than that.
For one thing, an important part of true prayer is gratitude. If you had an opportunity to communicate with a friend who had been overwhelming you with kindness, would you not take the first opportunity to thank that friend? If we are really appreciating God's constant and unfailing goodness toward us, would not our first words to Him be words of gratitude? To fail to be grateful would be to fail to realize the true nature of God. If we are not deeply grateful, are we praying aright? Only in the atmosphere of gratitude can we freely realize God's true nature and be sure we are truly talking to Him.
In true prayer that is communion with God, we not only talk freely to Him, but we expect God to talk to us - not with a human voice, but through the ideas that He gives us. God gives us the ability to pray, to commune with Him. He also gives us the capacity to receive and use the ideas that He gives us as we listen for His guidance. Prayer in Christian Science includes a grateful realization of God's presence and goodness, a freedom to talk to Him, and a responsive acceptance and use of the ideas which He gives us. Such prayer produces far-reaching results.
Thus the omnipotence of divine Love, the intelligence of infinite Mind, are brought into operation in our experience. This true prayer brings healing. It adjusts business problems. It destroys lack and inharmony. It opens the door for such progress as could only result from intelligent, loving, active obedience to God.
Do you seem to be almost at the end of your resources, whether of health or strength or finances, so that a crash landing seems to be unavoidable? God's love and wisdom are ready to help you. He can bring you in to a safe landing and start you out again with everything in order. We can listen for His voice and accept the intelligent, loving guidance He gives us.
How do we accept God's guidance and protection? How do we utilize His laws that bring healing and happiness?
Daily Study and Prayer Are Vital
You can get a copy of the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, at any Christian Science Reading Room. As you read the first chapter, "Prayer," you will find many things that you have already thought for yourself. You will enjoy Chapter VIII, entitled "Footsteps of Truth," and the chapters that follow. Then read the whole book, from the beginning of the Preface to the end. If you find some passages obscure or difficult to understand, just leave them for the time and go on reading. When you read them again after you become more familiar with the terms in Christian Science, you will find the meaning is much clearer. You will find it helpful to study the Bible in the light of Christian Science. You can get a copy of the Christian Science Quarterly to aid you in this. You can attend Christian Science church services on Sunday as well as on Wednesday evening when you will hear testimonies of healing in Christian Science.
If you need immediate help, you can call on a Christian Science practitioner for aid. These practitioners are experienced Christian Scientists who have shown their gratitude for Christian Science by adopting this profession and helping others.
But of the utmost importance is your own daily study of the Bible and Science and Health, together with sufficient time for unhurried prayer and communion with God in the light of Christian Science. Nothing can contribute more to your progress than this daily time of understanding prayer and study, as well as putting into practice what you learn.
The love and wisdom of God are ready to guide and protect and heal you now - not in some future time or at some other place, but now and here. The intelligent wisdom which you have shown in giving attention to these ideas which we have been considering came from God. You have been following His guidance this far, and you can continue to follow it. These things that we have been dealing with are powerful truths that can transform your life from now on.
Let us allow God's wisdom and power to help us. As we look to Him and understandingly respond to His loving direction, we can receive the freedom and safety, the health and happiness that He provides for His children.
In the Christian Science Hymnal we read (No. 136):
"I love Thy way of freedom, Lord,
To serve Thee is my choice,
In Thy clear light of Truth I rise
And listening for Thy voice,
I hear Thy promise old and new,
That bids all fear to cease:
My presence still shall go with thee
And I will give thee peace.
"I climb, with joy, the heights of Mind,
To soar o'er time and space;
I yet shall know as I am known
And see Thee face to face.
Till time and space and fear are naught
My quest shall never cease,
Thy presence ever goes with me
And Thou dost give me peace."
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Jan. 24, 1956.]