Christian Science: A Religion of Answered Prayer (1)

 

Arthur C. Whitney, C.S., of Chicago, Illinois

Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,

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

 

Arthur C. Whitney, C. S., of Chicago, lectured on "Christian Science: A Religion of Answered Prayer," Tuesday evening, October 3, in the Murat Theatre, under the auspices of Second Church of Christ, Scientist. Mr. Whitney is a member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Mass. The lecturer was introduced by Mrs. Gloy L. Austill. His lecture follows substantially as it was given:

 

Christian Science is a religion of answered prayer. Righteous prayer is a very effective weapon for destroying evil, whatever its form. No evil forces can stand against a prayer-inspired people.

The kind of prayer that I come to talk to you about is not the prayer of belief or of a blind faith. It is the prayer that flows from a spiritual understanding of God as we understand it in Christian Science. Our Way-shower, Christ Jesus, said, "By their fruits ye shall know them." We might say, "By its answered prayers you shall know practical Christianity."

 

Expect Healing During Lecture

May this lecture help each one of you to grasp and to use its teachings of the simplicity of prayer, even though this may be your first contact with Christian Science. It is natural for you who come here in need of healing to find it during this lecture, through your acceptance of the spiritual truths shared with you.

Here is an instance of such healing. Several years ago a young woman was thrown from her horse and sustained a fractured arm. A physician told her that, because of the nature of the break, he doubted whether she would ever straighten her arm again or regain its normal use. For about a year this verdict seemed to hold. She carried her arm in a crooked position close to her side and was unable to straighten it.

Then one evening she accepted an invitation to attend a Christian Science lecture. She drank in without reservation the spiritual truths given out. At the close of the lecture, as she arose to leave the auditorium, her arm dropped to her side. Startled, she clutched it with her other hand, and then she realized that she had experienced a Christian Science healing.

During the lecture she had gained a clearer sense of her perfection and freedom as a child of God, and so can you, with healing results.  One should expect healing also from a reading of the lecture. Because God is omnipresent, His loving, healing presence and power are here with us now. They are no less at hand tenderly and adequately to care for our boys and girls wherever they may be. No one is ever outside of God's infinitely loving and healing presence. You pray when you are conscious of this fact.

 

Spiritual Receptivity Essential

Spiritual receptivity is essential to quick healing. No one here questions the impossibility of putting anything into closed hands. Yet, how utterly simple it is to fill those same hands when they are wide open. The thoughts of many individuals are tightly bound by beliefs of unadjustability, unyielding and unresponsive self-satisfaction, and by unwillingness to accept something different from what they have heretofore believed.

Like the woman whose healing was just related, open wide your mental hands. Take in and apply to yourself the spiritual truths without reservation. During this hour be like a little child, receptive, teachable, responsive, adjustable, believing. You will feel the very presence and power of God with you. You will find, too, that you are freed from limitation, disease, or oppression that may for a long time have bound you. All through the lecture keep your mental hands wide open. This attitude itself is prayer.

Some of you may be thinking, "To what evidence of answered prayer can you testify from your own personal knowledge?"  "To what healings through prayer in Christian Science have you been an eyewitness?" Scattered through the lecture are a number of such instances of God's healing power through prayer.

One healing which illustrates this quality of the open hands, or spiritual receptivity, took place in Chicago about eleven years ago. A business man had been in constant pain for quite a period of time and had lost much weight. Three physicians diagnosed his condition as an advanced case of cancer and held out little hope. In desperation the man went to a Christian Science practitioner who recognized that what the man really needed to be healed of was bitterness, hate, and resentment. The practitioner set the man to work at once to transform and spiritualize his thought and to make love the basis of every thought, while he himself applied the prayer of spiritual understanding to dissolve those accumulated beliefs of bitterness, hate, and resentment which had been growing in the man's thought for some time.

Mary Baker Eddy so simply describes this process in her "Miscellaneous Writings" by saying (p. 79), "All these mortal beliefs will be purged and dissolved in the crucible of Truth." In a very short time the swelling dissolved, the pain disappeared, and the man returned to his business free. He gradually regained the fifty-six pounds he had lost, and today he is happy, healthy, and successful. This illustrates how Truth readily heals individuals whose mental hands are wide open - first by purging their thinking and then, in turn, by utterly dissolving their diseases and distresses.

 

The Bible Source Spiritual Light

For centuries men have naturally turned to the Bible for spiritual light. From its study we learn about God as a very real presence - not a theologically abstract theory.  We learn that God is everywhere - limitless omnipresence. God is divine omnipotence - the infinite power of good. God is divine omniscience - infinite intelligence, divine Mind. God is eternal Life, without beginning or end. God is infinite Spirit - ever-present spiritual consciousness. God is divine Love - the adequate and ever-available source of supply for man's every need. Let us, then, think of God, of the infinite, spiritual consciousness, or presence, as all that is actually here and present with us. "Because the carnal mind is enmity against God," according to St. Paul, this carnal or material sense of things is a counterfeit sense - apparent, but actually untrue, and therefore unreal. This basis is fundamental to answered prayer.

Turning to the Bible, we find in the first chapter of Genesis a record of God's spiritual creation which records man as made in the likeness of God, and endowed with dominion over all. Therefore, man must be Godlike, spiritual, perfect - reflecting the divine Mind as his Mind. Therefore, right here let us reject the thought that we are born of woman, or that we are corporeal mortals trying to be spiritual. This is practically what Jesus meant when he told Nicodemus that he must be born again, for without this regeneration we "cannot enter into the kingdom of God."

Accept the Bible teaching that you are born of God, that you always have been spiritual and are so right now, despite the material sense testimony to the contrary. How can you make these beautiful spiritual truths live in your experience? By believing them instead of their opposites. By claiming them to be true about you, as the Bible teaches. By repeatedly filling your consciousness with them and similar spiritual facts. This is your basis for demonstration. This is prayer.

Here is an example of healing from doing just that. A boy who was attending an officers' training school last year was taken to the camp hospital with what was diagnosed by the camp doctors as spinal meningitis. When his mother was informed about her son's difficulty, she engaged the services of a Christian Science practitioner, and immediately went to his camp, which was in a distant state. Reports reached the practitioner each day. He sent messages in return and his instructions were faithfully followed by both mother and son. They kept their thoughts filled as best they could with the spiritual facts about God and His perfect manifestation, man. "Miscellaneous Writings," already referred to, states (p. 6); "Mind governs all. That we exist in God, perfect, there is no doubt, for the conceptions of Life, Truth, and Love must be perfect; and with that basic truth we conquer sickness, sin, and death."

One night the medical officer despaired of the boy's life, but the Christian Scientist knew that the boy's life was in God and could not be lost. The boy was called their "miracle case" by the medical authorities, because he was discharged from the hospital - well - in an incredibly short time. He finished his officers' training, was commissioned, served in Africa, Italy, and France.

At the time the boy was stricken, four other boys in the same camp were placed under quarantine with the same malady. Although they had the best of medical attention, they had to be discharged from the army.

Christian Science Chaplains and Wartime Ministers scattered over many parts of the world, are doing a magnificent work with our service men and women. The outpouring of their love and the fruitage of their prayers are wonderful to behold.

The Bible's pages are filled with records both of those who were healed and saved by fidelity to its teachings, and of those whose needs went unsupplied because they failed to keep their thinking - their mental hands - wide open to recognize and believe in the healing power of God's presence.

Some folks know their Bibles like one little girl. She told a visiting minister that she knew everything that was in the Bible. He smilingly asked her to tell him. She replied, "There's Grandma's picture, two pressed leaves, that old letter of Daddy's, and a recipe for gingerbread!"

The eleventh chapter of the book of Hebrews recounts the fruitage of the faith of Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and the prophets, concluding with this word-picture: that these and other God-inspired men and women "through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens."

 

Christ Jesus the Way-shower

The New Testament presents the divine individuality of Jesus, and we see in it, united in one consciousness, what we saw faintly - depicted in the faith of Abraham, the reconsecrated thought of Jacob, the pure love and affection of Joseph, the law and power of Moses, the prophetic and inspirational elements of Elijah, Isaiah and the other prophets, the prayers and gratitude and praise of David, the wisdom of Solomon, the purity, moral courage, and fearlessness of Daniel.

Christian Science teaches that Jesus is not God, as many have been taught to believe, but that he proved himself to be the most Godlike man who ever lived. Jesus was on earth about thirty-three years, the last three of which comprised his ministry of salvation. Through his perception of the Science of the Christ he did more for humanity in those three short years than anyone else has ever done. Christ is the Way. Jesus' demonstrations made him the Wayshower.

Jesus understood and demonstrated the fullness of the Christ, that understanding of God and of man's inseparable sonship with God. He revealed the spurious and unreal nature of that which is ungodlike, and applied the Christ-power to destroy its apparent reality.  He understood spiritual existence to be real, and so-called material existence to be false. Thus he could speak with authority to the tempestuous waves "Peace, be still." And we read, "the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." To the beggar born blind he commanded, "Go, wash," and he "came seeing." To the man sick of the palsy, carried to him by four others, he said, "Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. . . . Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house. And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all."

When the hungry multitude was in the desert Jesus bade his disciples, "Give ye them to eat." Then he took the five loaves and two fishes which they brought him, and blessed and brake them. "And they did all eat, and were filled; and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full." To the widow of Nain, as Jesus came upon her only son's funeral procession, he said compassionately, "Weep not." To the son he commanded, "Young man, I say unto thee, Arise. And he that was dead sat up, and began to speak." Ponder Christ Jesus' promise, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me, the works that I do shall ye do also.

A fulfillment of this promise is well exemplified in the experience of a boy several years ago. He was playing with some other youngsters on the roof of a three-story apartment building.   He tried to jump to the roof of the next building a few feet away but his legs just weren't long enough. He struck on a concrete pavement. He was rushed to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A relative, an alert Christian Scientist, the moment she heard of the situation called a Christian Science practitioner and asked that the consciousness of the eternality of that boy's life be upheld. Later that day it was discovered that the child was breathing. The hospital authorities could give no explanation. Prayer in Christian Science was continued and three days later the child became conscious.

As Paul said to King Agrippa, I say to you, "Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?"  The Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, has this statement (p. 215): "Whatever is governed by God, is never for an instant deprived of the light and might of intelligence and life." Today that young man is in active service in the United States Navy.

 

Let Go Outgrown Material Beliefs

Many cynics of his day, steeped in materialism, theological beliefs and superstitions, refused to let go of their erroneous thinking and accept what Jesus lovingly and freely offered them. We should not make the same mistake today that the religious rationalists did in Jesus' day. Let us resist the tendency of the modern Sadducees to cling to outgrown theological and medical beliefs and superstitions. These are mental robbers. They would bind your thinking to enslaving limitations and bar from your consciousness the enlightenment which comes from the recognition and acceptance of the spiritual facts of being.

A Kaffir boy was once employed as a household servant in a South African home. He had a superstitious belief about the sun. He believed that when the sun disappeared at night, a very big bug ate it up, and that a new sun came up the next morning! His mistress took some oranges, and using one for the sun and another for the earth explained to him how the earth turns upon its axis once every twenty-four hours, and that when it turns away from the sun, we cannot see the sun, but when it turns back again, it is the same sun that appears.

Nothing has happened to the sun. The boy seemed to understand, but when the explanation was ended, he said, "Missus, you are always good to me, and you always tell me what's true, Missus, but please, Missus, when the sun goes down at night, a great big bug eats it up and a new sun comes up the next morning!"

"How ridiculous!" we all say. Yet many let false material beliefs rob them of the wonderful joys and blessings of spiritual understanding and its demonstration through prayer in Christian Science.

 

Jesus Promises the Comforter, Christian Science

In his Gospel, John records Jesus' comforting promise to his disciples, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."

About three hundred years after that promise was made, Christian healing, which had nourished until that time, practically disappeared. Then followed centuries of religious darkness. The promised Comforter was only awaiting the consciousness that was sufficiently clear, spiritually, to discern its presence and purpose. Mary Baker Eddy, a gentlewoman, who from childhood had been accustomed to talking with God, did discern this promised Comforter, this Science of the Christ, through divine revelation, and named it Christian Science.

 

Basis of the Healing Power of Christian Science

The acceptance into your thinking of the truth which this Comforter, the Science of the Christ, teaches you about God, yourself, your brother man, and how to antidote error, can heal you here and now. You ask, "What is this truth and how can I know it?" Mrs. Eddy provided the following answer: "The rays of infinite Truth, when gathered into the focus of ideas, bring light instantaneously" (Science and Health p. 504).  This light is Christ's coming. All you need to do is to take the truths in this lecture, and gather them into the focus or clarity of ideas, and as you do, the Christ-healing will dawn upon you.

Jesus was a deep student of the Old Testament. He caught its clear spiritual message. As a result, he chose to accept only that which is true before God, just as you must do if you wish answered prayer, he chose to recognize the material sense testimony as the untruth just as you must do. Let his own words admonish you: "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

Free from what? From anything that does not have its source in God, good. Specifically, it frees you from believing as real the false, material sense evidence confronting you. And how does it free?  By revealing the presence and power of God here and now, and the fact that the seeds of freedom and liberation characterize His truths.

Study each of the first four books of the New Testament. Study to gain the spiritual meaning of the Gospels.  They give four distinct accounts of the life, works, and teachings of our great Master. As you become familiar with them, you may feel the impulsion to follow his example. The essence of the whole Bible is culminated in these words from the Apostle John; "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life."

Real spiritual consciousness is actually right where the false and unreal material sense of things appears to be. You exist eternally in spiritual consciousness as perfect expression, the perfect expression of God. Christian Science teaches you to claim that you are that man now, always have been, and always will be, regardless of what the senses say. You are an eternal, individual, spiritual consciousness that includes and expresses, by reflection, all possible good, such as joy, peace, activity, freedom, health, inspiration, contentment, harmony, real satisfaction, and abundance. Claim this good. It is your divine birthright as a son of God. You are praying when you do.

The prayer of Christian Science disowns and repudiates the physical sense of man. Therefore realize that you are not a mortal personality. You are not the product of mortal sense. You are the handiwork of God. You are not a corporeal mortal. You are incorporeal, spiritual. You are not two men, one spiritual and the other material. You are not a person who is a combination of the spiritual and material.

You are not a material body with a soul inside. You are not a material person trying to become spiritual. You are spiritual man, the image and likeness of the one Spirit, God, and you are therefore, wholly, eternally, and satisfyingly spiritual. Therefore, choose to be man and not his counterfeit. See yourself as what you really are - not as the senses would try to mesmerize you into believing you are.

It is very important that you do this. Mentally deny and repudiate the erroneous beliefs about yourself and claim the spiritual truth. Do this for your fellow man also. Then proceed to act as though you believe it is the truth - in other words, make it practical in your common tasks. Live like the son of God.

One time an eminent divine was invited to conduct an experience meeting in a colored church in the South. A woman testified to the beauty of her religion as a light bringer and comfort-giver. At this point the visiting minister said, "That's fine Sister, but how about the practical side?  Does your religion make you strive to prepare your husband a good dinner? Does it make you look after him in every way?" Just then he became aware of a tugging on his coattails, and the negro preacher whispering, "Press dem questions, press dem questions Doctor; dat's my wife!"

It is comparatively easy in praying to associate presence, power, intelligence, law, and reality with God. How easy it is, for instance, to realize that God is All-in-all. Just do it and then think about it. Think what that means: that God, infinite good, is all that is present; that nothing exists outside of or beyond "the mighty actuality of all-inclusive God, good," as it says in our textbook (p. 52), think about that for a while: that God, infinite Love, is all the power there is, here and everywhere.

In this spiritual attitude of prayer associate yourself with God as His eternal and inseparable evidence and expression. Think about that. You are man, the changeless evidence of the divine Being, Love - eternally at one with God. Because you reflect or image forth God's nature you are naturally spiritually-minded and spiritually poised. What is true about you is equally true about your brother man. If you have been deceived into accepting any ungodlike mental pictures of others, recognize each as a counterfeit of man, mentally repudiate it as false, and replace it with the true concept of man. Healings have come to many individuals who have purified their thinking about themselves and their brethren.  Purge your consciousness thoroughly. Forgive. Bless. Heal.

 

No Compromise in Christian Science Healing

There must be no compromise in the prayer of the Christian Scientist.  Our textbook, Science and Health, states: "You render the divine law of healing obscure and void, when you weigh the human in the scale with the divine, or limit in any direction of thought the omnipresence and omnipotence of God" (p. 445); "Only through radical reliance on Truth can scientific healing power be realized" (p 167; "You weaken or destroy your power when you resort to any except spiritual means" (p. 181).

Those weak in faith sometimes endeavor to divide their dependence between God and matter, hoping to procure help from both.

Actually, it works the reverse. Christ Jesus, our Way-shower said: "No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Mrs. Eddy wrote: "Christian Science is absolute; it is neither behind the point of perfection nor advancing towards it; it is at this point and must be practised therefrom. Unless you fully perceive that you are the child of God, hence perfect, you have no Principle to demonstrate and no rule for its demonstration." (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 242).

Sufficient spiritual understanding cures compromise. Again and again study those sixteen and a half pages constituting the first chapter, "Prayer," in the textbook.  Continue that study until you are thoroughly satisfied with your demonstration of the prayer of absolute spiritual understanding.

Many who first seek to use spiritual understanding to overcome such beliefs as selfishness, bad temper, worry, fear, greed, malice, envy, resentment, and sinful propensities are at the same time freed from physical distress and limitation. Those who genuinely seek to spiritually transform their thoughts, motives, desires, and actions, as the Scriptures admonish (see Romans 12:1,2), find that relief from distress comes more naturally, quickly, and completely.

Some oppressed with various distresses, who seek only what Jesus called the loaves and fishes, namely, ease in matter or material satisfaction, never really open their mental hands. Consequently, the healing Christ, Truth, does not manifest itself to them in their tribulation. A closed mentality deprives them of the realization of their God-given freedom.

It is well to remember the Master's challenge to some who sought healing. To the two blind men, according to the ninth chapter of Matthew, he said, "According to your faith be it unto you." At another time, speaking of a case his disciples failed to heal, he said, "This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting." We read in "The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany" (p. 339) that to fast is to "silence appetites, passion, and all that wars against Spirit and spiritual power."  Thus doing, we pray the effectual prayer which heals.

Some healings are instantaneous, some require more spiritual effort, and still others require months of persistence in alertness, obedience, willingness, study and prayer, before healing comes. Prayer frees man from the bondage of anything unlike God, and is applicable to every human need.

 

Prayer of Consecration Most Effectual

With the unfoldment of one's spiritual understanding, through the study and application of Christian Science, one learns that his progress is most rapid when he learns how to obey the injunction, "Not my will, but thine, be done." The attitude of just praying to God for what one wants was well exemplified by the experience of a little boy whose parents had never given him any proper reason for praying. One day he was questioned by the minister whether he prayed every night. "Why should I?" replied the boy, "some nights I don't want anything." The individual who prays that God will use him to unfold the divine will and plan, in that very attitude lives a life of constant effectual prayer.

During the taking of the Salerno beachhead in Italy, a sailor on a tank landing craft, a former student in a Christian Science Sunday school, had to stand in water shoulder deep for hours in order to help in the unloading of tanks and other heavy equipment. He said he prayed much, but his prayers were for strength to do the job he had volunteered for, rather than for protection for himself. That was the prayer of consecration.

A seventeen year-old Sunday school boy, upon entering college, placed over his desk a placard bearing the words, "Myself Third." It was his junior year before he told anyone what it meant. Then when his roommate pressed him for an explanation he said: "When I was leaving home to come here, my mother asked me to remember to put God, Principle, first in every situation, service to mankind second, and myself third. I promised her I would and hung up that sign as a reminder of whom I was serving." I am told that today many "Myself Third" signs are over desks, workbenches and kitchen sinks as tokens of a sincere endeavor to live the prayer of consecrated service.

 

Sunday School Training Vital

It is very inspiring to hear of instance after instance of spiritual understanding and its fruitage in protection, guidance, and provision that are being reported about the youths with Christian Science Sunday School training. Graduates and former attendants are outstanding today in their practical recognition and application of the Word of God in battle.  Every boy and girl under twenty should now take advantage of this vital teaching in Sunday school whenever it is in any way possible.  It is worth any sacrifice that is necessary on the part of the youth or the parent.

 

Mary Baker Eddy

The subject I love most to tell you about comes next. It is Mary Baker Eddy. A student of Christian Science once told me a touching incident of Mrs. Eddy's childhood. I want to share it with you. Her love of God was early instilled in her by a devout mother, and before she was ten years old she had already become a devout student of the Bible.

The inspiration she gained from the Scriptural example of Daniel, who withdrew three times a day to pray, aroused in that little girl a desire to do likewise. She retired to the woodshed where she could pray without being disturbed, not three times a day, but seven times. Each time after praying, she made a chalk mark on the side of the woodshed, lest she forget to fulfill her full obligation of prayer. Isn't it natural that the child heart that reached out in trustful prayer to God to bless a needy world should he rewarded by that spiritual light through which God revealed to her the Comforter, Christian Science?

This unfoldment came as soon as her more matured spiritual thought enabled her to nurture, protect, and demonstrate it. Thus God prepared and selected her as the revelator of His Science of the Christ. Thus she also became recognized as the Discoverer of Christian Science. Then she prayed, not seven times a day but followed Paul's admonition to "pray without ceasing."

As a result of her devotion there is found nowhere in modern history another such record of answered prayer in healing the sick, transforming the sinner, and awakening the   deadened consciousness, as we find recorded and authenticated in the works of that dear, unselfish woman. Were it not for her prayer-inspired consecration to God, which caused her to spiritually discern and freely share Christian Science, I would not be here today. Neither would many of you in this audience.

The last verse of her poem "Christ My Refuge," might be said to voice her life of prayer (Poems, p. 13):

 

"My prayer, some daily good to do

To Thine, for Thee;

An offering pure of Love, whereto

God leadeth me."

 

That can well be the prayer of every one of us here.

Mary Baker Eddy is gratefully, reverently, and universally recognized today not only as the Discoverer of Christian Science and the Founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, but, through her inspired writings, as the present Leader of this great worldwide Cause of Christian Science. Christian Scientists are so grateful to her for what she has done, and through her writings is doing for them and for the world today.

 

Christ Presents the Indestructible Man

We find the following statement in the Christian Science textbook (p. 332): "Christ illustrates the coincidence, or spiritual agreement between God and man in His image." I have heard many acknowledge with joyous conviction, "I am indestructible man because Spirit creates, constitutes and governs me." What a thought for a serviceman to keep of himself - that he is indestructible - that Spirit, God, creates, constitutes, and governs him.  This thought, too, is in Science and Health (p. 316): "Christ presents the indestructible man, whom Spirit creates, constitutes, and governs."

To understand this is strength-giving prayer.  In the textbook under the marginal note "Indestructible relationship," you find (p. 470): "Man is the expression of God's being." This makes man inseparable from the essence of his being, or existence in God, the ever-present, eternal, incorporeal divine Mind. Because God is Life, man lives. Man's being then is divine intelligence. Man's life expresses divine Life, and is uninterrupted, unending.

 

The Presence of God

When going into action with an infantry company in Belgium, and while frequently under fire, during the previous war, the most effectual help in praying that I recall, came from the realization of some thoughts in one of Mrs. Eddy's poems.  Let me repeat to you just a part of the first verse (Poems, p. 4):

 

"O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;

O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour."

 

"O gentle presence" - the consciousness of that divine, gentle presence replaced the sense of shells breaking around with hideous sounds, "O gentle presence, peace" - the calm, assured, quiet, divine peace, realized, replaced the sense of mental turmoil, fear, and threatening danger. "O gentle presence, peace and joy" - yes, joy was there because the consciousness of God's presence and peace was there. Gloom, depression, chaos, dissolved as darkness before the light.

"O gentle presence, peace and joy and power" - power, yes, the divine, joyous, peaceful, matchless all-power of God's presence replaced the belief that power was    oppressively destructive around us. "O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour." Mortal belief argued that death owned each waiting hour as moaning shells constantly headed toward us, but we were in the presence of illimitable Life and Love, and we proved on that occasion that Life divine did own each waiting minute and hour, night and day. There is no impending evil in the consciousness of Life divine.

What comfort there must be to the loved ones of fliers in the next words of that hymn:

 

"Thou Love that guards the nestling's faltering flight!

Keep thou my child on upward wing tonight."

 

Pray, by realizing that God, divine, omnipotent Love, alone is directing, guiding, uplifting, protecting, and sustaining your boy and other boys "on upward wing tonight." The Bible tells us that the eternal God is their refuge and "underneath are the ever-lasting arms."

 

Healing Power of Gratitude

Some time ago a woman was confined to her bed with evidence of a malignant growth. She was under the care of a nurse and a faithful practitioner. But healing did not come. Months passed. One day she was told to open her heart and pour out her gratitude to God, scribbling it down on sheets of paper. Her reply was that she couldn't do that because she didn't have anything for which to be grateful.

In the effort to arouse her thought she was asked to write on a sheet of paper those things for which she could be grateful and to mail her reports of gratitude to the practitioner daily. The second day brought sixteen letter-size sheets from her filled with acknowledgments of gratitude. That day the growth disappeared. The healing power of gratitude to God is limitless. We all need our hearts constantly overflowing with gratitude. It is the open door through which God can find admittance. The expression of gratitude is prayer.

In summing up this subject, let me reiterate these few thoughts: Christian Science is a religion of answered prayer. Accept this basis of prayer and help the world to right itself. Let no Christian find himself a spiritual slacker. Answered prayer is a vital need of today.  Prayer is one of the most effective weapons for destroying evil in any form. No evil forces can stand against a prayer-inspired people.

In conclusion, may I ask you to depart in quiet thought on this lecture. Let us go to our homes and pray as we never have before until we are satisfied that we have humbly done our full part in supporting our brothers, whether they be struggling with beliefs of sickness, sin, or oppression here, or whether they be our boys, scattered over the whole world, who are going forward to represent God, divine Principle, and His people, among all nations. May all of you who came here downcast or oppressed leave this lecture tonight transformed and healed.

God inspires you in prayer, and your prayers - the very Word of God - will find abundant fulfillment. God brings His Word to fruition, and yours shall be the promise given to Ruth: "The Lord recompense thy work, and a full reward be given thee of the Lord God of Israel, under whose wings thou art come to trust."

 

[Published in The Marion County Mail of Indianapolis, Indiana, Oct. 13, 1944.]

 

 

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