At a time of discouragement you may have wondered if God answers prayer. Be assured, He does. Even as you read these words, God's love is blessing you. Don't stop praying - improve the quality of your prayer!
First, we shouldn't hurry when praying, because truly effective prayer involves aligning our thought with the reality and presence of God's infinite goodness. Any tendency to rush or rapidly rattle off words imploring His attention only tends to make Him seem more distant. ''Be still, and know that I am God,'' n1 we read in Psalms. And Christ Jesus taught his disciples, ''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.'' n2
n1 Psalms 46:10.
n2 Matthew 6:6.
The stillness of our mental ''closet'' enables us to really feel the love God has for us. It reveals His unconditional gifts of love, wholeness, and intelligence to His offspring. Such prayer helps bring to light the appropriate ideas that will care for our need.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ''Spirit, God, is heard when the senses are silent.'' n3 We can insist on our God-given right to ''closet time,'' even when the events of the day are claiming priority. Our days will be more fulfilling and our activities more effective as they're shaped by the spiritual understanding found in prayer to God.
n3 Science and Health with key to the scriptures p. 89
Trust your prayer. Sincerity is more important than a terrific vocabulary. When we pray from the heart, we are open to God's healing, cherishing touch. We can be increasingly confident in our prayers as we discover the nature of God, who is infinite Love, and of man as His likeness. If we don't trust our prayer, this may indicate that we need to recognize more of our true worth to God. Man is the expression, the very evidence, of God's being. Therefore each individual is essential to creation in order that God be completely expressed. And each one is of equal value to the creator.
It helps me to realize that there are no second bests among God's offspring. Each one comes uniquely first in his own relationship to the Father. No competition, no vying for position, is necessary. Knowing this, we can follow the good counsel of these lines from a hymn:
Trust all to God, the Father, Confide thou in none other, He is thy sole defense; He cares for thee past measure, Seek Him who has thy treasure, Thy helper is omnipotence. n4
n4 Christian Science Hymnal, No. 361.
Be persistent. One of Christ Jesus' parables tells of a man coming to his friend's home late at night in need of food for unexpected company. The friend is already in bed and refuses to help. The Bible states, ''Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many (loaves) as he needeth.'' n5
n5 Luke 11:8
Not the fact of friendship, but the continued knocking, was the key. ''For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.'' n6
n6 Matthew 7:8
Don't be ready to settle for unanswered prayer. Spiritual determination is often demanded, and we can strengthen our resolve by remembering the worth of our goal. ''When the destination is desirable, expectation speeds our progress, '' n7 states Mrs. Eddy in Science and Health.m
n7 Science and Health, p. 426.
I prayed daily for more than two years to overcome an addiction, which to some might have seemed minor but to me seemed enslaving. When discouragement came, in spite of some clearly discernible progress, I learned to recognize the frustration as having no source in God, divine good. It became clear that the need was not to figure out how and when the healing would come but to strive for deeper trust in His love for my true, pure identity as His child.
And the healing did come, in a most unexpected way, along with greater freedom from other material dependencies. Now I rejoice to have learned that sincere prayer to God, springing from an understanding of Him, is always answered, and that even the most entrenched beliefs in material power can be overcome.
The effort is well worth it. So keep on keeping on! DAILY BIBLE VERSE The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, them out of all their troubles. Psalms 34:17