Christian Science: The Religion of Ceaseless Prayer

 

Oscar Graham Peeke, C.S.B., of Kansas City, Missouri

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts

 

Introduction

Delivered in Convention Hall, Tulsa, Oklahoma, Monday evening, March 20, 1950, under the auspices of Second Church of Christ, Scientist, in Tulsa. The lecturer was introduced by Mrs. Marguerite B. Schiveley, who said:

Friends: Second Church of Christ, Scientist, of this city welcomes you this evening to hear a lecture on Christian Science.

And it is my happy privilege to stand here tonight and testify to the healing power of this Science. It has met all of my daily needs, large or small, physical, financial or spiritual, over a period of many years. I have been healed of tuberculosis, spinal meningitis, strep throat, ptomaine poisoning and other ills too numerous to list.

The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts, maintains a Board of Lectureship of which our speaker this evening is a member. I take pleasure in presenting to you Mr. Oscar Graham Peeke, C.S.B., of Kansas City, Missouri, the subject of whose lecture is: "Christian Science: The Religion of Ceaseless Prayer."

Mr. Peeke:

 

The Lecture

The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:

In the world today there are many millions of people at a loss to know where to turn to find surcease from sickness, sorrow, oppression, and disaster. The mental and physical anguish, the shock and strain, caused by the ruthless onslaughts of aggressive evil forces appear very real to those who are uninstructed in the spiritual nature of true being and who consequently believe in the reality of matter. But even at their worst these malign so-called forces should not cause a sense of helplessness, for wherever evil appears to assert itself, there, in Christian Science, is found the hand of divine Love outstretched to heal, to protect, to confer harmony and freedom; and it may be proved by prayer that God is indeed, as the Psalmist states, "a very present help in trouble."

 

The Unreality of Matter

It is becoming better understood that we live in a universe of thoughts. The general belief that matter is real substance is gradually giving way before the Science the Christian Science which demonstrates the allness of God and the nothingness of matter. Even some of the better known physicists today, through their search for the ultimate particle of matter, have reached the conclusion that it is a force of some kind and devoid of substantiality.

Over eighty years ago Mary Baker Eddy discovered the Science of God, man, and the universe, and proclaimed through her textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," that God, Spirit, is the divine Principle of man and the universe and is All-in-all; and that matter is only the supposititious objectification of the carnal or mortal mind, having no substance, life, truth, nor intelligence.

These are self-evident, demonstrable truths, and they are inseparable from the true concept of prayer. They show that this true concept cannot be associated with anything that pertains to matter, sin, sickness, or death. God, Spirit, being All-in-all, as the Bible indicates, this divine Being can have, and know, only what pertains to His divine nature. To pray aright, therefore, one's thought must be spiritualized and the so-called material senses must be silenced.

 

The Prayerful Life of Mary Baker Eddy

The Apostle Paul said of himself, "I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also" (I Cor. 14:15). To do this came naturally to Mrs. Eddy, for from her birth she was dedicated to a life of prayer. When she was just a little girl she was told by her devout mother that Daniel prayed three times a day. She declared that she would pray seven times a day, and she did.

From childhood Mrs. Eddy was a deep student of the Bible. Her study led her to the conviction that none of the theories that been advanced to account for the miracles recorded in the Bible were correct. She prayed earnestly for enlightenment on this all-important question. Always listening for the voice of Truth, her pure consciousness became increasingly imbued with the Spirit of Christ, and at length the answer came, an answer which enabled her to render to all mankind a service, the magnitude of which can never be estimated.

When Mrs. Eddy first published Science and Health she had great hope that it would meet with immediate favor, because her chief incentives through all her years of searching the Scriptures were to glorify God and to bring to humanity the boon of scientific Christian healing. One can readily understand how bitter must have been her disappointment in finding that her book was met with scorn. Hatred and malice were heaped upon her because of the revolutionary nature of her teachings, but this intrepid soldier of Christ never faltered; rather did she increase in love and in her labor for mankind. Constantly she demonstrated her teachings. She healed instantaneously, as Jesus did, even the most insidious diseases, and she even prayed fervently that those who appeared to be her enemies might be blessed.

Today the fruits of Mrs. Eddy's labors are being recognized throughout the world, and in many instances amazement is expressed that the movement she established should have attained such remarkable growth in the comparatively short time since her discovery. And yet how little is known of the undaunted courage, patience, self-effacement, and sublime faith of this God-inspired woman! She is today greatly loved and revered by millions of grateful people who, through, her discovery, have been redeemed from sinful to prayerful lives and healed of diseases of every name and nature.

 

The Keynote of True Prayer

All Christian Science healing, every demonstration made in Christian Science, is accomplished through prayer. Christian Science is the new tongue, for it is the voice of Truth, heard spiritually by the thought made ready for its holy messages; it is the Comforter, which casts out error, heals sickness and disease, and guides, as Jesus said it would, into all truth.

The first chapter in Science and Health is entitled "Prayer." The first sentence in that remarkable chapter sounds the keynote of true prayer: "The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love."

 

The Potency of Prayer

Faith, spiritual understanding, unselfed love! The potency of these qualities of thought is demonstrated in Christian Science, not only in healing physical ailments, but also in overcoming wrong conditions of every sort, even such as are generally considered to be hopeless.

As an example the story is told of a sea captain whose ship early in the last war, while in the midst of a bad storm, had struck a floating mine. The storm had smashed and washed away the lifeboats, and the ship was sinking. The radio, however, was still in operation, but there appeared to be no other vessel within about a hundred miles.

In this extremity the captain called the crew together and, in a few words, stated the apparent hopelessness of the situation. Then he added, "Nothing, however, is hopeless with God, so let us all kneel and silently, each in his own way, pray to Him."

On hearing this they were somewhat astonished but did as he told them, and in this attitude they remained for a few minutes. After he repeated aloud the Lord's Prayer they rose to their feet. Just then a man who had remained on watch cried out, "A ship coming toward us from the northeast, a destroyer; she is coming fast."

"Impossible," said the mate. "The radio fifteen minutes ago indicated there was no ship within a hundred miles." They watched hopefully, and all the time their ship was sinking lower and lower.

"It is an American destroyer," said the captain, who was looking through his binoculars; "at the rate she is coming, she will reach us in time. We shall now surely witness God's saving power."

The outcome of this was that all were rescued, and just in time, for hardly had the last boat pulled away when the ship's deck was awash, and a few minutes later she plunged to the bottom.

The captain of the destroyer stated that he did not know how he happened to be in that vicinity. The storm had blown his ship many miles off its course. "You are lucky," he said. The captain of the sunken ship replied, "It was a case of divine deliverance." Later he asked the men how they prayed. Some said they asked God to save them; one said he declared to God that He knew they were sinners and would be drowned, and pleaded forgiveness; a few said that they did not know how to pray and just thought about their families.

The second officer asked the captain, "How did you pray, sir?" He replied in substance: "When I was a lad my mother taught me to read the Bible, and through the years I have derived much comfort from it. Each night I read a chapter or more, and I also pray the Lord's Prayer. I have gained a little understanding of God and His never-failing goodness. When I asked you all to kneel with me I repeated to myself the ninety-first Psalm, and then I prayed to the Almighty in this fashion: "Thou hast shown me Thy salvation many times in the past, O Lord, and I am truly grateful. In this crisis I am not afraid, but these men about me have been placed in my care. They are fighting for a just cause, and I am commending them to Thy care. I know that Thou are merciful and that Thou art everywhere present.'"

You will note that this captain had no fear and did not petition God to save them. His prayer was affirmative. He said, "I know that Thou art merciful and that Thou art everywhere present." You see he had a little spiritual understanding and a good deal of faith and unselfed love.

 

True Prayer Is the Utilization of God's Love

Christian Science shows the futility of praying to God as though He were a human person acquainted with the frailties of mankind; it also shows that silent prayer is more effective than audible praying. Audible prayer, if it tends toward emotionalism, is the product of the material senses, and therefore is of little avail. But the silent, selfless, and fervent desire for increased spiritual understanding whereby to accept and utilize the spiritual blessings which God is continually and impartially bestowing on all of His children is "effectual fervent prayer" which, as the Apostle James says, "availeth much."

It is not true prayer merely to ask God to love and bless us. Rather is it learning to love as He loves. In her book entitled "No and Yes" (p. 39), Mrs. Eddy makes this enlightening statement: "True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection;" and she adds these significant words: "Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us." The implication from this is that because God is Love, and is ceaselessly loving us, we should ceaselessly strive to be worthy of His love and to demonstrate His beneficent power.

We know that a mathematician demonstrates his ability to work out mathematical problems by adhering strictly to the principle and rule of mathematics. Even so, in a far higher sense, the various problems of so-called human existence can be worked out properly only through firm adherence to the divine Principle and rule of Christian Science. God is the Principle of all true being, as the Scriptures indicate, and true prayer brings us into harmony with the never-varying and ever-available law of divine Principle. Other terms for God used in the Bible are Life, Truth, Love, Mind, Spirit, Soul.

Every statement about God in Christian Science is self-evident truth, and is seen to be so through spiritual understanding and demonstration; also each demonstration incites the earnest student to a greater endeavor to obey the Apostle Paul's practical admonition, "Pray without ceasing."

"The habitual struggle to be always good is unceasing prayer," writes Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health (p. 4). This indicates that, in our daily living we should so keep guard over our thinking that we will increasingly realize the ever-presence of God, good, and follow as closely as possible the loving admonitions of Christ Jesus, given in his Sermon on the Mount.

 

Jesus, the Great Exemplar of Prayer

Christ Jesus made clearer than all who came before him the true method of prayer. No one had ever prayed so earnestly, so spiritually, so selflessly, so understandingly, as did the great Nazarene. He came to teach humanity how to live prayerfully, and he exemplified the simplicity of doing so. He taught that God governs all his children harmoniously. He referred to this divine Being variously as Spirit, Truth, my Father, our Father, your Father, and he, indicated that this omnipotent and all-loving Parent should be continually in our thought. He enjoined his listeners to follow his example and learn to express their true and perfect selfhood as children of the one perfect Father. He founded a religion which he intended should attract seekers for Truth by its demonstrations of spiritual power. All that he accomplished was through ceaseless prayer prayer of the truest and holiest nature.

Jesus taught his disciples what is known today as the Lord's Prayer, the spiritual interpretation of which is given in Science and Health (pp. 16, 17). This prayer, with its inspiring interpretation, Christian Scientists find to be of inestimable benefit, for it covers every need in human experience. To pray the Lord's Prayer rightly and receive in rich measure the benefits to be derived from doing so, one must live prayerfully. On page 16 of Science and Health we find this most significant statement: "Only as we rise above all material sensuousness and sin, can we reach the heaven-born aspiration and spiritual consciousness, which is indicated in the Lord's Prayer and which instantaneously heals the sick." Earnest students of Christian Science repeat this prayer of our Lord often and with deep reverence, greatly desiring, through its unfolding, to receive more of the spirit of Christ.

True prayer cannot be dissociated from fasting fasting from materialism and the false claims of the personal senses and it leads to the understanding of the true concept of Church, which is thereby discerned as a purely spiritual structure, "the structure of Truth and Love," as it is defined in part in Science and Health (p. 583). Let me read to you the definition of Church in full. Then I trust you will see how important it is to build in consciousness this spiritual structure in order to heal sickness and sin. "Church. The structure of Truth and Love; whatever rests upon and proceeds from divine Principle.

"The Church is that institution, which affords proof of its utility and is found elevating the race, rousing the dormant understanding from material beliefs to the apprehension of spiritual ideas and the demonstration of divine Science, thereby casting out devils, or error, and healing the sick."

This is the Church spoken of by Jesus and founded, according to his purpose, on the rock of spiritual understanding of the Christ, Truth.

 

Jesus Manifested Christ, the Divine Idea

Christian Science clarifies Jesus' teachings about the Christ. His use of the pronoun "I" in such statements as "I am the way, the truth, and the life," "I am the living bread which came down from heaven," was not for the purpose of self-glorification, but rather to glorify the Christ, or God's divine nature, which he manifested in such remarkable degree. Jesus knew that personal selfhood is not of God and has nothing in common with divinity. "Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God" (Matt. 19:17), was his rebuke to a young man whose thought, he saw, needed to be turned away from personality to the divine Principle of all true being. According to Scripture, Jesus came to do the will of God by demonstrating the power of the Christ, and to show that the way of salvation, not only from sin but also from sickness, disease, and death, is through Christ. The personality of Mary's son was overshadowed by his manifestation of the Christ.

It is important that humanity should understand this, for, as Jesus indicated, all must sooner or later learn to follow him in his manifestation and demonstration of the Christ, Truth. The genuine Christian Scientist strives to do so, and prays understandingly mentally declaring and increasingly realizing God's allness and the real man's inseparability from God; and his only petition is for more grace, more of the spirit of Christ, in order better to glorify the Father and help others to understand Him, so that they may work out their own salvation.

 

Man's True Being Is Spiritual

Who or what is it that needs to be saved? Certainly not the man of God's creating, for he is God's likeness, spiritual and immortal, now and always, but rather so-called mortals from their false beliefs of sin, sickness, and death. Are we you and I believing ourselves to be mortals? If so, then mortal mind or corporeal sense is deluding us and depriving us of the ability to pray intelligently. How grave a mistake is that! Christian Science teaches that such false concept of one's self must be changed to the opposite truth, namely, that the real being of each one of us is spiritual and immortal.

The Apostle Paul speaks of this change as the renewing of the mind. In his epistle to the Romans (12: 2) he writes, "Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." Could not this be stated in our modern manner of speaking thus: "Change your thinking from a material to a spiritual basis, then you may understand and prove what is really true about God and man."

Christian Science makes it quite clear that man created in the image and likeness of God, as stated in the first chapter of Genesis, is the only real man. Man formed "of the dust of the ground," as related in the second chapter in other words, mortal and material man is a supposed product of mortal mind, or material sense. The pantheistic belief that this product of material sense possesses an indwelling immortal soul and that matter is real substance, having life and intelligence, is the procuring cause of all suffering and of death. Soul is a synonym of Spirit, as Christian Science makes clear, and man in God's likeness reflects Soul or God.

Because man's real being is spiritual and immortal, finite mortal existence can be rightly regarded only as a dream existence. Men can awaken, however, from the dream of life and intelligence in matter and recognize man's true selfhood, here and now, as being inseparable from God.

It is the carnal or mortal mind, in other words the material senses, which cognize man as material and mortal. Never in any instance do these false senses testify truly. Although Jesus gave conclusive proofs of this, the great majority of people in the world today still continue to base their reasoning on the testimony of these senses. The results of this may be seen on every hand in the multifarious forms of discord nations in unrest, the burden of maintaining great armies and navies through fear of aggression, the horrors of war, the uncertainties of life, downward gravitation into decrepitude, blight, and death all these bear witness to the unreliableness and falsity of the corporeal senses.

Mortals are often misguided because of ignorance of the truth that the mighty power of God operates as immutable and ceaselessly beneficent divine law. Does one think that the power of the Almighty is something which frequently intervenes disastrously in human affairs, and that it is not for us to question why? Christian Science declares that it is for us to question the validity of whatever does not measure up to the standard of God's unchanging goodness and love, and that it is incumbent on us to demonstrate His ever-beneficent law, which reveals His true, loving nature and man's divine sonship.

There should always be a vigorous mental protest against the suggestion of the false senses that man is mortal and material. Let us agree with another of Paul's scientific statements: "Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you" (Rom. 8:9); We know that the Spirit of God does dwell in us in the consciousness of everyone. If it did not, there would be no existence whatever. Should we not, therefore, pray daily for increased spiritual understanding, and rise superior to the suggestions of the carnal mind? Through effectual fervent prayer we can realize more and more man's true and perfect being, and grasp the significance of the words of the disciple John, "Beloved, now are we the sons of God."

 

Prayer Reveals Man's Rightful Heritage

"But," some timid individual may be thinking, "should I claim my true spiritual being while I am still in the flesh?"

Remember Paul's statement, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." By cultivating and striving to make habitual the desire to be always good that is, by ceaseless prayer you will become less and less fettered by material beliefs and will realize more and more your true spiritual sonship. Remember also that man's rich heritage, as indicated in Genesis, is God-given dominion over all the earth.

Christian Science reveals God as the only real Giver. As sons of God we can have only what He gives, and He gives all. All that is good, pure, true, lovely, harmonious all real substance belongs to God. It is embraced in His allness, and man has all God gives by reflection.

Let me tell you the experience of a certain young man in learning to claim and demonstrate his true relation to God. He was just out of college and was anxious to succeed in business. He secured a position as salesman with a large manufacturing firm. For two years he was quite successful in his work and was promoted to a higher position. He then became the recipient of considerable flattery and courted popularity. He also became critical of others and envious of those in higher positions. For a long time he rose no higher. He became dissatisfied, unhappy, also his health began to fail.

Through the kindly sympathy of a friend, this man was led to turn to Christian Science. In studying the chapter entitled "Prayer," in Science and Health, he found that he had never really known how to pray. Day after day he studied the book. Also in his earnest endeavor to pray understandingly, he studied the Christian Science Lesson-Sermons, which are outlined for each week in the Christian Science Quarterly. Starting each day by studying the Scriptural texts and correlative passages from Science and Health which comprise these Lesson-Sermons, he soon found that his thinking had undergone a great change. The aforementioned faults were uncovered to him as evil beliefs. He corrected them. He became humble, more selfless, more patient, and was imbued with a desire to keep on increasing his understanding of God and of man's true relation to Him. He declared often his divine sonship and prayed for more spiritual understanding, so that he might recognize and utilize, for the good of others, the blessings which God was bestowing on him. Thus he regained his health and found greater joy in life than ever before. He was promoted and went on to higher positions through rendering valuable service both to his firm and to the community.

 

The Practicality of Prayer in Business

A great many people have had similar experiences. People in business are confronted from time to time with perplexing problems. They need to know that the only correct solution of any problem is through Christianly scientific prayer.

Success in business is assured to those who have the true concept of business as God's business and who, with selfless interest, pray, as did King Solomon at one time, for wisdom and spiritual understanding, in the endeavor to conduct their business in accordance with the law of divine Principle.

It is undoubtedly right and essential that all legitimate business enterprises should be profitably conducted. It is equally right and essential that business people should understand that profit, in its true sense, is spiritual. If everything is subordinated to the effort, merely to make money, then the spiritual and true concept of business is lost, and ethical standards are jeopardized.

Christ Jesus gave the true concept of business when he said, "I am among you as he that serveth." He knew that the only real business is God's business; and God's business is good business. Therefore giving, loving, helpful, unselfish service should be the chief concern of everyone engaged in business. When this is done, the suppositional lie called evil cannot cause dullness, slackness, or failure, and the matter of profit is safely brought under the operation of spiritual law.

 

The Unreality of Evil Is Proved Through Prayer

Quite frequently wonderment is expressed by people who are unacquainted with Christian Science, because of the power with which evil seems to be invested; and the question is sometimes asked, If God is good and omnipotent, why does He even countenance evil's existence?

Christian Science declares that God is indeed omnipotent and the only creator, also that His entire creation is good "very good," as the Scripture states. Evil therefore has no true existence. Christian Science proves it to be entirely fallacious. It appears to be real only to false material sense. The case of evil is stated with unequivocal directness in Science and Health (p. 470): "If God, or good, is real, then evil, the unlikeness of God, is unreal. And evil can only seem to be real by giving reality to the unreal."

Then how unwise to make a reality of that which is proved to be unreal! In his healing, Jesus proved the nothingness of evil by his understanding of God's allness. He reflected divine Love's gracious and kindly amenities in such great degrees that before the eyes of the self-righteous Pharisees he was able to destroy the evil belief in the thought of a woman whom they had brought to him to condemn, although her accusers in their blindness and self-righteousness may not have discerned the marvel, for as Mrs. Eddy states in Science and Health (p. 448), "Blindness and self-righteousness cling fast to iniquity." Jesus sometimes rebuked evil audibly and sharply. He did not personalize evil, and he showed Christly compassion toward those who, he discerned, were ready to be healed of their iniquities.

 

Christian Encouragement Is Healing Prayer

Because all sickness and disease are brought on by sinful thinking or by ignorance of God's laws or by fear, it is necessary in Christian Science healing to uncover and bring about the self-destruction of the error or errors of belief which caused the sickness. Also in this healing work kindness, tenderness, patience, and Christian encouragement are always essential. It is pointed out on page 367 of Science and Health that an invalid needs Christian encouragement and tenderly spoken statements of truth, also that there should be "pitiful patience with his fears" and the endeavor to remove them. Oftentimes a patient is healed immediately, even of an inveterate disease, just by having his mentality made receptive to the truth in this way.

 

No Limit to Good Effects of True Prayer

Although it is generally well known that Christian Science heals, there are still too many people who believe that its work in this respect is confined to certain kinds of sickness. The power of Christianly scientific prayer is immeasurable. The spirit of such prayer has brought about the healing of every disease known to mankind. In Christian Science the restoration of the so-called dying is frequently brought about, and on several occasions individuals who appeared to have passed on have been restored.

And why should not this be? Christian Science reveals the infinitude of good. In Science and Health we read (p. 258), "Man reflects infinity, and this reflection is the true idea of God." Manifestly, therefore, there can be no limit to the power of accomplishment through the prayer of spiritual understanding.

 

Humility and Gratitude Inseparable from True Prayer

Jesus pointed out that no one should take credit to himself for any accomplishment in doing God's work. The practitioner of Christian Science well knows that divine Love is the healer, and therefore he endeavors to keep his thought loving and selfless. He seeks no vainglory, but ascribes to the all-loving Father heartfelt praise and gratitude for the inestimable privilege of expressing His all-harmonious and all-loving nature. This surely is the import of Jesus' injunction to the seventy when they returned with joy from the healing mission on which he had sent them. Said he, "Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven" (Luke 10:20). Such rejoicing strips one of whatever taint of false pride or vainglory he may have and inculcates a deep sense of gratitude and humility.

Various incidents may be found in the Bible in which humility, the giving of thanks, and songs of praise to God played an important part in demonstrating divine protection and deliverance from disaster. Take, for example, the case of Daniel, who, from the time he was brought captive into Babylon, continually gave thanks to God. Even when he knew that King Darius had signed the decree which, did he disobey it, would send him to the lions, it is recorded that "he went into his house; . . . and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime." The lions could sense nothing on which to feed in this man whose ceaseless love, humility, and gratitude caused him to be so greatly imbued with the spirit of the Messiah or Christ.

Consider also the sweet singer of Israel, whose recorded songs of praise and thanksgiving to God have been instrumental in the healing of many who have prayerfully echoed them.

And what an inspiring example the humble Nazarene, Christ Jesus, gave at the tomb of Lazarus! Even before he called his friend from the tomb he voiced his prayer of thanks to God. It really was not necessary for him to have expressed audibly his gratitude, for he was ceaselessly grateful; but he did so, as he stated, "because of the people which stand by." His selfless and loving thought was eager for their enlightenment. Undoubtedly he greatly hoped that they might become more ready to receive his teachings through the privilege of witnessing this great demonstration of God's ever-available power, the demonstration of raising from the tomb a man who had passed from mortal vision four days previously.

Jesus knew, and Christian Science teaches, that death is an illusion of the false material senses, that all that dies is a false sense of life. Every demonstration of God's power made by Jesus was for the enlightenment of men, and to lead them, through ceaseless prayer, into the understanding of man's true and immortal status.

 

Truly Substantial Gifts Obtained Through Prayer

Perhaps someone listening to this lecture may be in need of healing but is afraid to trust wholly the loving ministrations of Christian Science. This should not be, for even a little understanding of God's power can destroy that fear.

Let us reason on this point. Does fear emanate from God? No, Then where does it come from? From the carnal or mortal mind. But Christian Science proves that God, divine Mind, is the only Mind, and that man's true being is the reflection of this one and only Mind. Then, obviously, fear can only be an illusion.

To destroy the illusion, study this book, Science and Health, and pray for increased understanding of God and of man's true being as God's reflection. Also, in praying, endeavor to keep your thought away from the discord or disease and from any false material concept of yourself or of anyone. Remember that God does not give a stone when asked for bread. Listen to this from II Timothy (1:7): "God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."

Power, love, a sound mind! What greater blessings could one desire? Be assured God's gifts are not evanescent; they are spiritual, and they are true substance. When accepted in the individual human consciousness and utilized, they confer health, harmony, joy, peace yes, a sense of true dominion.

Sometimes someone will say something like this: "I am suffering from what seems to be a chronic disorder which I am not able to get rid of, although I do not have any fear of it." Such an individual should understand that sickness itself is fear a latent fear which is formed in the unconscious thought and outlined on the mortal body. So, you see, it is all a mental illusion. But, as is stated in Science and Health (p. 403), "You command the situation if you understand that mortal existence is a state of self-deception and not the truth of being." This is a glorious thing to actually understand, for who would not wish to command the situation, in sickness and in all times of stress? The way to attain success in this is to gain the right understanding of God and of man's true being as God's likeness.

The sufferer will also profit by endeavoring to put into practice this statement by Mrs. Eddy in her book "Retrospection and Introspection" (p. 61): "If you fall asleep, actually conscious of the truth of Christian Science, namely, that man's harmony is no more to be invaded than the rhythm of the universe, you cannot awake in fear or suffering of any sort." That statement is proved over and over again in Christian Science.

Christian Science gives positive assurance that no matter how difficult or dangerous a situation may appear to be, it is one's God-bestowed privilege to utilize his understanding of prayer to master fear and realize peace and security. There is essential practicality in the Psalmist's statement, "Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: . . . for in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion." God's pavilion is the true mental home of each of us it is the kingdom of heaven, a state of spiritual consciousness to be entered by prayer. No weapon of mortal mind can reach us there.

Then should we not strive to keep our thought clear of the mental weapons of mortal mind, such as jealousy, envy, malice, hate, resentment, fear, and the like, and keep ourselves armed with the prayer of Truth and Love? If our endeavor is always to be kind and loving, that is prayer. If someone unkindly frowns on us, then instead of being disturbed, let us smile on that person not a forced smile, but let the smile come from the heart; that is prayer. If we are always ready to return good for evil, that is prayer. When one goes out of his way to benefit someone, that is prayer. To be striving constantly to think good thoughts and to see the real man in place of discordant mortals, that is ceaseless prayer.

 

In Conclusion

The design of Christ's Christianity is, and always has been, to establish universal peace and brotherhood through prayer based on a demonstrable understanding of God and His unchangeable law of Love. The attainment of this normal state of existence may still appear to be far off, although it is probably a good deal nearer than is indicated by the attitude of the comparatively small number of war-minded people. It cannot be gainsaid that the vast majority of human beings are longing for a world made safe for peaceful living. To pray understandingly for this desideratum, and to increasingly demonstrate the truths of Christian Science by healing the sick, the sinning, and the sorrowing, affords the truest sense of happiness attainable on this earth the joy which, Jesus said, "no man taketh from you."

And because God, divine Love, is the only true healer, let us pray for more and more of divine Love's impartation, so that we will not break the bending reed through lack of it, but rather through patience, tolerance, and loving-kindness, ceaselessly endeavor to see our fellow man as God sees him.

In the words of a much-loved poem by Mrs. Eddy (Poems, p. 6):

"If thou the bending reed wouldst break

By thought or word unkind,

Pray that his spirit you partake,

Who loved and healed mankind:

Seek holy thoughts and heavenly strain,

That make men one in love remain."

 

[Published in The West Tulsa (Oklahoma) News, March 23, 1950.]

 

 

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