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The prayer factor

''More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.'' n1 n1 Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Passing of Arthur

Even though many people feel that God is important in their daily living, they may not refer to prayer and spiritual intuition as readily as they would refer to reason as the main factor in making decisions or getting help. Prayer remains a private factor; and Christians are also mindful of Christ Jesus' words to his followers: ''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

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n2 Matthew 6:6

But Jesus also said, ''Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.'' 3 So perhaps it is consistent to make clear that there is a relationship between prayer and the open rewards. For if the prayer factor were more often given credit for bringing us through difficulties, others might be encouraged. Then it would not simply be assumed that a given achievement was just another triumph of logic, circumstances, or personal influence.

n3 Matthew 5:16

One time I was supposed to meet with a school principal and two teachers in order to convince them to allow our son to repeat fifth grade. We had met before , and the school was opposed to the move because there was no logical justification for holding Ethan back. He was a top student, liked by teachers and classmates - an eager, healthy, intelligent boy. But he had been allowed to start public school a year ahead of the usual entry age, and we now felt he ought to get back with his age-group.

It was a situation in which spiritual intuition was apparently in opposition to human reasoning. From the first I felt certain the request was sound because it had come as the result of prayer. And I had continued to pray privately, and calmly, asking God to show me His wisdom and love, and how to proceed. Our family has seen again and again how prayer releases thought from the tyranny of doubt, or personal trivia, or fear of unseen factors. Prayer renews the spiritual sense of man's primary relationship to God - the sense not only that this relationship exists but that it is viable. And it's wonderful to commune with an all-loving Father, and to know that He communicates messages of good, that He reveals the true, spiritual nature of man as always safe and well in His care.

In the privacy of my mental closet I was quite calm, and I had full faith in the practicality of following God's thoughts. Hadn't Abraham and Moses and countless other Biblical characters listened to and followed spiritual intuitions when human logic might have indicated they were making rather unreasonable decisions? One passage by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, comforted me especially: ''Into His haven of Soul there enters no element of earth to cast out angels, to silence the right intuition which guides you safely home.'' n4

n4 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 152

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Just before the final meeting with the school it occurred to me that if I was certain this request really had come from spiritual intuition, then spiritual intuition ought to be presented as a factor in helping the school evaluate it. So when it was time for my ''definitive'' argument I simply said: ''This may sound a bit odd to you, but I honestly have no other way to explain this request except to tell you that it came as a kind of spiritual intuition; I've prayed about it, and it just seems the right course to take. I know there isn't any psychological or behavioral or academic justification. But I trust that leadings which come from prayer have a valid justification also.''

The principal was touched. One teacher said there wasn't much that he could think of to oppose that kind of reasoning, and he respected it. Ethan was allowed to repeat fifth grade and had a good year. Later events showed us that this had been a wise decision. And because of that incident I've been willing to give credit to prayer much more openly. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, togive you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart

Jeremiah 29:11-13

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