A blog reader asked that I tackle this question. "Desire is prayer," wrote Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science. And I think that is a great way to look at the "what" of prayer. Praying assumes many forms and involves various techniques, but the underlying essence of all prayer is desire.
Obviously some desires are better than others, and we should watch what we pray for. But, when we let our desires be molded and lifted up by the Christ, the animating truth of God, Good, then prayer results in untold blessings that leave no one out. Lifting up our desires to God, and letting our desires be lifted up by the healing Christ brings us into a healthy conversation with the Divine.
__Prayers of affirmation and gratitude are central to the practice of Christian Science.
Mary Baker Eddy recognized five demands of effective affirmative prayer. (See Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 466-467) This is my take on those demands:
Its a common misconception that prayer changes things.
I guess we could say that prayer changes things like the sun changes its position during the course of the day. It's a matter of perspective. If we are earthbound in our thinking then, yes, it looks like the sun moves. If we are problembound in our prayers then, yes, we'll expect prayer to change things.
But the beauty of prayer is that it can open us to a more accurate perspective of the way God works. Prayer reveals God as an unchanging divine Principle that has never forgotten or neglected even the tiniest element of His spiritual creation. Here are three important points:
_When Jesus was asked this question by his disciples, he gave them the Lord's Prayer which is a prayer of affirmation and desire and petition and gratitude. From beginning to end, the Lord's Prayer lifts us up to show us God and His creation in the kingdom, power and full glory of God's Love.
Many are familiar with the King James version of the Lord's Prayer. It can be helpful to look at other translations and paraphrases from time to time to bring out the truths from another angle. Here is the Lord's Prayer as recorded in Eugene Peterson's The Message:
Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
Set the world right;
Do what's best— as above, so below.
Keep us alive with three square meals.
Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
Yes. Yes. Yes.
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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