Effective Prayer

The following citations from The Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy were read during the November 25, 2009 Wednesday Testimony Meeting of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Chagrin Falls, OH. After the readings, those attending the meeting are encouraged to share proofs of God's care in times of trouble.  All are lovingly invited to attend the 7:30 p.m. Wednesday meetings at our church. 

The Bible

Jas 5:13 (to .),14,15,16
Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.

Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.  Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 

Matt 6:7 when, 8

when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.  Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. 

Mark 1:14 Jesus
Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,

Luke 11:1-4,9,10

And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.  And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.  Give us day by day our daily bread.  And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil. 
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.  For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. 

John 17:1,4-6 (to :),8-10
These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.  And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.  I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world:

For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.  I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.  And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. 

John 17:11 Holy
Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. 

John 17:12-14 (to ;),15-21 (to :), 22-26

While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.  And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.  I have given them thy word;

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.  And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.  Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us:

And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.  Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.  O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.  And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them. 

Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures

by Mary Baker Eddy

1:1-4,10
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.

Thoughts unspoken are not unknown to the divine Mind.  Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds. 

1:-10-0 (to Jesus), Science and Health, Chapter 1, Prayer

              
For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.  Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them. 
 Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him.--Christ Jesus

38:10-12 (to .)

Jesus said: "These signs shall follow them that believe; . . . they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

38:12-14 He,18
He was addressing his disciples, yet he did not say, "These signs shall follow ^you^," but ^them^--"them that believe" in all time to come.

At another time Jesus prayed, not for the twelve only, but for as many as should believe "through their word."

2:1-4 (to 1st ?),8-11,23

What are the motives for prayer?  Do we pray to make ourselves better or to benefit those who hear us, to enlighten the infinite or to be heard of men?

God is not moved by the breath of praise to do more than He has already done, nor can the infinite do less than bestow all good, since He is unchanging wisdom and Love.

God is Love.  Can we ask Him to be more?  God is intelligence.  Can we inform the infinite Mind of anything He does not already comprehend?  Do we expect to change perfection?  Shall we plead for more at the open fount, which is pouring forth more than we accept?  The unspoken desire does bring us nearer the source of all existence and blessedness. 

4:27-30
Audible prayer can never do the works of spiritual understanding, which regenerates; but silent prayer, watchfulness, and devout obedience enable us to follow Jesus' example.

4:3-5,12

What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds.

The habitual struggle to be always good is unceasing prayer.  Its motives are made manifest in the blessings they bring,--blessings which, even if not acknowledged in audible words, attest our worthiness to be partakers of Love. 

6:17-18
"God is Love."  More than this we cannot ask, higher we cannot look, farther we cannot go.

8:14-18
If we feel the aspiration, humility, gratitude, and love which our words express,--this God accepts; and it is wise not to try to deceive ourselves or others, for "there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed."

9:5-11, 32-4
The test of all prayer lies in the answer to these questions: Do we love our neighbor better because of this asking?  Do we pursue the old selfishness, satisfied with having prayed for something better, though we give no evidence of the sincerity of our requests by living consistently with our prayer?

Consistent prayer is the desire to do right.  Prayer means that we desire to walk and will walk in the light so far as we receive it, even though with bleeding footsteps, and that waiting patiently on the Lord, we will leave our real desires to be rewarded by Him.

10:28
That which we desire and for which we ask, it is not always best for us to receive.  In this case infinite Love will not grant the request.  Do you ask wisdom to be merciful and not to punish sin?  Then "ye ask amiss." Without punishment, sin would multiply.  Jesus' prayer, "Forgive us our debts," specified also the terms of forgiveness.  When forgiving the adulterous woman he said, "Go, and sin no more."

11:22

We know that a desire for holiness is requisite in order to gain holiness; but if we desire holiness above all else, we shall sacrifice everything for it.  We must be willing to do this, that we may walk securely in the only practical road to holiness.  Prayer cannot change the unalterable Truth, nor can prayer alone give us an understanding of Truth; but prayer, coupled with a fervent habitual desire to know and do the will of God, will bring us into all Truth.  Such a desire has little need of audible expression.  It is best expressed in thought and in life. 

13:14

Even if prayer is sincere, God knows our need before we tell Him or our fellow-beings about it.  If we cherish the desire honestly and silently and humbly, God will bless it, and we shall incur less risk of overwhelming our real wishes with a torrent of words. 

15:14-16
In order to pray aright, we must enter into the closet and shut the door. We must close the lips and silence the material senses.

14:12-15,16-22 (to .)
Become conscious for a single moment that Life and intelligence are purely spiritual,--neither in nor of matter,--and the body will then utter no complaints.

Sorrow is turned into joy when the body is controlled by spiritual Life, Truth, and Love.  Hence the hope of the promise Jesus bestows: "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; . . . because I go unto my Father,"--[because the Ego is absent from the body, and present with Truth and Love.

15:16,26-27
In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings, we must deny sin and plead God's allness.  We must resolve to take up the cross, and go forth with honest hearts to work and watch for wisdom, Truth, and Love.  We must "pray without ceasing."  Such prayer is answered, in so far as we put our desires into practice.  The Master's injunction is, that we pray in secret and let our lives attest our sincerity. 

Self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection are constant prayers.

16:2-4, 5-11
The highest prayer is not one of faith merely; it is demonstration.

It distinguishes between Truth that is sinless and the falsity of sinful sense. 
Our Master taught his disciples one brief prayer, which we name after him the Lord's Prayer.  Our Master said, "After this manner therefore pray ye," and then he gave that prayer which covers all human needs.

 

Previous Wednesday Readings

  • Witchcraft & Ghosts (10-28-09)
  • The Platform (10-21-09)
  • Destructive Weather (10-14-09)
  • The Lame Walk (10-7-09)
  • Protection from Contagion & Swine Flu (9-30-09)
  • The Armor of God (9-23-09)
  • What Cannot God Do? (9-16-09)
  • Cause & Effect (9-9-09)
  • Life Most Sweet (9-2-09)
  • Stand Perfect and Complete in God (8-19-09)
  • The Real Jurisdiction of the World is Mind (8-12-09)
  • Think Without Limits (8-5-09)
  • Purity (7-29-09)
  • Corruption (7-22-09)
  • The Serpent or Animal Magnetism is Unreal (7-15-09)
  • Freedom (7-8-09)
  • Abraham (7-1-09)
  • Children & Healthcare (6-24-09)
  • Marriage (6-17-09)
  • Dare to be a Samuel, a Solomon, a Daniel (6-10-09)
  • God's Infinite Resources (5-27-09)
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