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Two crucial questions about prayer

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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Prayer works. It heals. It reforms human nature. Prayer restores lost and broken hearts and lives. Still, many people wrestle with and question the motives, reach, and value of prayer – in the face of personal health challenges as well as complex national troubles.

Is praying for your own health and welfare selfish?

Our answers come straight from the Christian Science concept of God and the life He creates. If God were a benign but unknowable father figure, then His aid might be suspect. The God we love and rely on is one universal Father-Mother – Love itself, omnipotent and everywhere present, and the creative Principle of all existence, eternal Spirit, the always-caring and all-good Mind that governs and communicates with all creation.

And the nature of this creation? If men and women were nothing but reason-endowed higher organisms, vulnerable to disease, malfunction, and genetically transmitted flaws, then even God's help wouldn't be enough to cope. However, reasoning spiritually from the Genesis 1 account of man, male and female, made "in the image" of God, Christian Science founder Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "The likeness of Spirit cannot be so unlike Spirit.... Man is idea, the image, of Love; he is not physique. He is the compound idea of God, including all right ideas; the generic term for all that reflects God's image and likeness;...." ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 475).

Then, prayer for healing in Christian Science isn't pleading to a remote God for physical change. It begins with acknowledging the wholeness of God and all He creates. It welcomes the Christ into thought, as God's message of spiritual wholeness and harmony. It trusts the divine law of wholeness to govern and correct the patient's thoughts, remove fears, and dissolve feelings of separation from God. As people awaken to life's spiritual realities, their bodies conform with normalized health. But the aim of Christian healing goes beyond health to the betterment of character. It purifies desires, deepens honesty, and spawns compassion.

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