As the football playoff games started up yesterday in the States, a Facebook friend said that when asked if she prays for football games, she responds, "Yes, I do! I pray for the home team!" I chuckled, because I had just had similar thoughts that morning about my church - I pray for the "home team" of spiritual seekers who attend.
Not everyone interested in spirituality is drawn to church. I, however, am an avid churchgoer. In fact, what keeps me coming back is a little rule in our church about prayer. Prayers in Christian Science churches are to be "offered for the congregations collectively and exclusively." (Church Manual 42:1)
Now one might say, wait a minute! Why a rule instructing who or what to pray for in church? Why wouldn't you pray for yourself, your sick pet, or for harmonious elections in the Congo? The answer relates to what we are up to the rest of the week.
A tenet of Christian Science, relating to individual salvation, compels us to follow the path of Christ Jesus and to engage in healing prayer for others. (Church Manual 15:14) Salvation, of course, isn't a once or twice a week subject. It is an everyday affair to pray for ourselves, our family and the community. But we gather in church twice a week for another kind of prayer - prayer specifically focused on holding up each others arms - prayer for the "home team", so to speak.
_There is a story in the Old Testament of a battle between Israel and one of their enemies.
Moses directed the army from a high hill. Exodus explains, "As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset." This was how the battle was fought and won. (see Exodus 17:10-13)
The way I see it, the daily work of helping others, praying for ourselves and the world, can require extraordinary stamina and focus. Church services that compel us to pray for, and to be supported by, the congregants, give us the Aaron-and-Hur advantage during the week. It lets each one go out with arms lifted, hearts eager and thoughts energized to get the job done during the rest of the week.
Church is designed to heal. It is also designed to support the healer. Next time you find yourself in church, think about pulling up a rock for the rest of the congregants. Offer prayers that praise the goodness and power of the Creator and witness to the spiritual authority with which man is endowed, to be a strong, productive, healing influence in the world. Draw strength from knowing that the prayers of that congregation are lifting up your arms and leaving you fit and ready to handle and defeat anything that would get in the way of the healing influence you express in the world.
Pray for the congregation in church like the world depends on it. Because it does. Let's hear it for the home team!
Today's Question: How have you been praying in church, or for your church?
_If you know someone who might enjoy this daily blog, don't hesitate to email, tweet, or post the link on your Facebook page, so that others can find it, too.
And if you wish to subscribe, simply scroll up and submit your email in the box shown in the right-hand column. It's free and allows you to get updates in your inbox, without publicity or spam content.
You may also wish to:
VISIT MY WEBSITE HOME PAGE
READ MORE BLOG POSTINGS
FIND LINKS TO MY OTHER PUBLISHED CONTENT
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