Time4Thinkers.com has just launched an exciting summer project called "Radical Acts."
The focus is 18 of Jesus' toughest teachings, including CHALLENGE Pharisees, DO GOOD to those who hate you -- and of course Seek the kingdom first - don't worry about food and clothes and drink.
It is this last one that inspires today's guest post by Diane Marrapodi, CSB. How easy it can be to let prayer slip into a wishing/wanting session. But as Diane says, "There’s more than a hot dog for you" in the prayer that seeks to know God as the Love that is loving you in very practical ways.
Radical Acts is ecumenical. All are invited, regardless of religious (or no religious) affiliation. Click any link in this post to take you into the Radical Acts pages of Time4Thinkers.com and learn more about the project.
For many years our sons were year-round swimmers, which meant we attended swim meets almost every weekend on some part of the east coast of the US. Through that activity we met many wonderful swimmers and their parents.
To this day I am very fond of Linda, a mom who constantly displayed a marvelous sense of humor. Midway through a swim meet she’d say to her terrific husband, “Bob, I’d really like a hot dog”. And with a regal wave of her hand she'd add, “Make it so." Bob, with a chuckle, always got up from the bleachers, went to the concession stand, and brought back a hot dog.
Every once in a while in the public practice of Christian Science I hear just such requests. Oh, not for hotdogs, of course, but for other things: entrance into a certain college; the desire for a specific spouse, house, move, job, - all for the purpose of getting something thought to be essential to happiness. But is the most efficient prayer really to tell God what we want and then to ask God, with a wave of our hand, to “make it so?"
Don’t we all remember a time when we prayed for something specific and didn’t receive it? Perhaps some time later we saw the folly of our request and the wisdom of not receiving that for which we asked. The best motive for going to God in prayer may not be so much to get something that we think will complete us, as it is to awaken to our nature as His beloved child and to His perfect plans for us.
Just before the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew’s gospel, there appears this admonition with a promise: “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly...when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking…your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (6:6-8)
Those verses remind me that while I can always pray “on the run” - in the car, at the grocery store - consecrated prayer also requires something more. We need to "go apart" sometimes, - maybe not physically, but certainly mentally, - to completely set aside the wishes and desires and cares clamoring for our attention - to be still and watch for fresh views of what God is doing for His creation. This devout prayer is not so much an asking as a listening and yielding to God who loves us and has our best interests at heart.
God is Love. (I John 4:8) Divine Love made you, knows you, loves you, and maintains your every step. Can you even now imagine the effect of going deep in prayer on this fact and keeping it before thought throughout the day? Why, it would comfort you, eliminate fear, enable you to see yourselves and others as the child of God, and open the door to abundant good. Harmony, peace, well-being is spiritually natural and normal. The prophet Isaiah said, “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.” (26:3)
Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures begins with a brief 17-page chapter entitled, “Prayer”. It opens with this very powerful statement, “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.” (1)
Further on she writes, “Look away from the body into Truth and Love, the Principle of all happiness, harmony, and immortality. Hold thought steadfastly to the enduring, the good, and the true, and you will bring these into your experience proportionably to their occupancy of your thoughts.” (261)
A prayer of absolute faith in what is possible to God and that springs from an understanding of God as Love, doesn’t involve wishing and wondering what you’ll get. It involves becoming aware and acknowledging the ever-present Love that is loving you, and Love’s will of divine good for you and for each one of His children.
Will there be results? Trust me on this. There’s more than a hot dog for you in this kind of prayer.
DianeMarrapodi is a Christian Science practitioner, teacher, and blogger. You will find this and more wonderful posts on her blog at DianeMarrapodi.com. Thank you, Diane, for helping us practice the radical act of seeking the Kingdom before all else!
Jesus gave the parable of the prodigal son, as a lesson on the correcting and redeeming power of the divine Father's persistent love for all his children. Who's to say that the younger son in the tale was the only prodigal?
Prodigal has two definitions that could apply to the storyline. "Prodigal [ˈprɒdɪgəl] (adj.)1. Rashly or wastefully extravagant; recklessly wasteful, as in disposing of goods or money 2. Giving or given in abundance; lavish or profuse; lavish in giving or yielding."
A few weeks ago, I was studying a Bible Lesson that included the parable of the prodigal in the gospel of Luke. We are told that the father welcomed his repentant younger son back into the house and prepared a party to celebrate his return. Seeing the festivities, his eldest son became angry.
The father left the party to seek out his elder son in the field where he was hiding. He entreated him (that is, he earnestly dealt with him, treating his concerns). The son poured out the resentments that had built up over many years: of watching the younger brother fall short and yet seem to be favored. The father discerned his heart and lavished on him the one thing he needed most: To know that he, too, was greatly loved. He said "Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine." There would be no divided inheritance. All the father's love was available for each son.
Corresponding passages in the Bible Lesson included this statement from Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, "Evil which obtains in the bodily senses, but which the heart condemns, has no foundation..." (448)
This caught my attention because I couldn't see how the elder son had had a change of heart before he received his father's blessing. Had his own heart condemned the evil of anger and envy? Was that a prerequisite to his progress? Apparently, no. It was the father's heart, not the son's, that condemned the envy as having no place. The father showed the son that his suffering was without foundation. The father condemned the lie so his son would not suffer.
The younger son may be generally viewed as the prodigal because of the way he squandered his resources. But I think the other sense of prodigal better points to the father, whose lavish, unstinting, unsparing, bounteous love towards each son spoke to their hearts and met their needs.
Father's Day lets us pause to honor the prodigious fathers who give unsparingly of their hearts to their kids. But every moment of every day, our heavenly Father is reminding each one of us, "Dear, dear child of mine, you are ever with me. All that I have is thine. I will always love you. Open your heart and you will find that all that I have and all that I am is already there."
Happy Father's Day!
Find two blog posts that honor good fathers and good fathering:
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My daughter, at 10 years old, was pushing boundaries. I resorted to a time- tested method to get her attention: I started counting to three. As I rounded two and was expecting a quick restoration of order, she piped up with, "You know, Mommy, my friends' parents count to ten."
Retorting quickly in all sincerity, I said, "Oh, Betsy, you don't realize what you are asking. Three is for your protection. If you made me count all the way to ten, I just don't know what I might do!"
I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no