Into the 'closet' to pray
A Christian Science perspective
Much of the news from my home country, Japan, does not sound promising – the highest unemployment rate since the end of World War II, lack of political stability and initiative. People are feeling fear and frustration, which will not yield constructive solutions and decisionmaking.
The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, sometimes urged people to pray at times like this for the progress of nations, and for humanity at large (see, for example, "Christian Science versus Pantheism," p. 14).
But how can we begin to pray? Christ Jesus instructed his followers to go into the closet and pray (see Matt. 6:6). Jesus said this before offering a prayer that later came to be known as the Lord's Prayer. This prayer is so famous that even many who are not Christians know it.
To me, a closet means a space without windows that's full of stored stuff. If used as a metaphor, it can also mean a private space in one's consciousness, full of ideas to draw from. This is also a mental place where we can shut out the noises of everyday life – worries, resentment, anger, and negative memories.
Mary Baker Eddy, who also discovered Christian Science, described it this way: "The closet typifies the sanctuary of Spirit, the door of which shuts out sinful sense but lets in Truth, Life, and Love. Closed to error, it is open to Truth, and vice versa.... To enter into the heart of prayer, the door of the erring senses must be closed. Lips must be mute and materialism silent, that man may have audience with Spirit, the divine Principle, Love, which destroys all error" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 15).
One time when I was doing research on the Lord's Prayer, I came across a reference that opened my eyes and confirmed that this instruction was based on universal truth, applicable to anyone, anytime, anywhere.