Sometimes you just have to put your foot down when you pray. At least that is what I learned when our Labrador puppy started showing the symptoms of detached retina and hip dysplasia - two conditions apparently associated with her breed and bloodline.
I was pretty overwhelmed at the prospects of life with a blind, crippled "horse" of a dog in my home. I wanted to pray about this - wanted to see it healed through prayer. But I was finding it difficult not to be pulled down into the problem.
So I did what I often do when I feel stuck. I went back to the basics and studied Jesus' approach to praying - The Lord's Prayer as recorded in Matthew's gospel.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures takes a line-by-line look at the underlying spiritual message of this prayer that emphasizes God's sovereign power over creation and our right and ability to pray with authority.
One line of the Lord's Prayer was particularly helpful to me: "Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Science and Health brings out the authority of this divine petition. Author Mary Baker Eddy gives her spiritual sense, "Enable us to know, - as in heaven, so on earth, - God is omnipotent, supreme."
Jesus' prayer emphasizes a direct and powerful correspondence between heaven (which to me indicates spiritual consciousness or an understanding of God) and earth (practical everyday experience). Heaven doesn't reflect earth. The lesser doesn't influence the greater. It's the other way around. What is real and true in human experience reflects God. And our present spiritual understanding of God reveals it in human experience - as indicated by the law of "as in heaven so on earth."
I suddenly thought, "You know, even on my worst day, I do have a better understanding of God than is represented by a blind, crippled dog!"
I decided that when I pray I would no longer try to compensate for what I didn't know. I would exercise the power of what I did know. We have the right to pray with authority drawn from our present understanding of God.
I started to mentally stomp my foot when I prayed for the puppy. That is, every time I saw her walk into a wall or drag her leg oddly, I said, "No! No! I refuse to accept that these images of disease reflect my understanding of God and His infinite good." I defended my spiritual understanding, even if it was slight, and declared "God's will is done on earth as it is in heaven, and I know it!"
I think what gave my prayers (and me) such authority was that this method of prayer wasn't my own bright idea. Christ Jesus, the master healer, taught his students the fundamentals of healing prayer. Jesus said, "Let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay." Matthew 5:37
To me, Jesus is describing a "double-tap" method of prayer.
A "double-tap" is a shooting technique where two well-aimed shots are fired at the same target with very little time in between shots. Instruction and practice of the double-tap improves overall accuracy as shooters often do not have the gun fully extended on the first shot, meaning the second of a double-tap is usually the better.
A one-yea prayer affirms what is true about God and man. But a two-yea prayer adds the element of spiritual authority that affirms the understanding of God as an unshakeable truth that extends into every part of human consciousness.
Understanding and exercising your authority fully extends your prayer from a personal truth to a divine law that governs everyone and everything with precision and force.
I double-yayed and double-nayed with stomp-your-foot authority for one solid month. Then one day - while sitting in my yard feeling such gratitude for every little thing I truly did understand of God's goodness - I looked up and saw our pup run down the street to meet our little girl as she got off the school bus. The dog saw her from at least a block away. And she ran without a single hitch in her get-along! This was the end of both problems.
That the symptoms persisted during that month didn't weaken my resolve in prayer. Why? Because the suggestion that I was so ignorant as to accept blindness and frailty as the best I could expect from life was absolutely unbelievable. I could defend myself by leaning on Christ Jesus' own words - Thy will be done, is done, on earth as it is in heaven.
I didn't come up with that. Jesus did! I figure he knew what he was talking about. STOMP.