A Christian Science perspective.
I once thought that prayer was just for healing sick or broken bodies – that prayer was meant for the hard stuff. God had no time for petty needs.
If I had poor grades, it was my job to study harder, not ask God for help. Few friends? It wasn’t God’s job to make me popular. I could be a better person. Broke? I could get a part-time job. I didn’t think it was right to ask God for money, or for any of my other modest wants. It was natural to pray when I was sick or hurt, but praying for money or other narrow needs seemed, well, unseemly.
My grandmother said I was wrong because it was right to look to God for any need, big or small. She was an early student of Christian Science, whose founder, Mary Baker Eddy, taught that since we are all God’s children, made in His image and likeness (see Genesis 1:26, 27), we have divine dominion over any earthly discord, including poor health, poor grades, or even a poor purse. There is no needy God for us to reflect; the God we reflect is abundantly full of goodness.
The Bible clearly shows that turning to God meets difficult challenges: A widow was able to feed her son and herself with an always full pot of oil and a bottomless barrel of meal; Joseph survived cruel brothers, slavery, and wrongful imprisonment to save a nation from starvation; Jesus fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fishes; Jonah found salvation in the belly of a whale. No small stuff here.
In her primary work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mrs. Eddy made a stunning declaration: “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (p. 494). Not just some needs some of the time, but all needs, always.
I didn’t have to ask God for better grades, popularity, or money. All that is good already exists. Everything I’ll ever need or want already is mine as the full expression of an all-good God, who gives me dominion over anything to the contrary. I could let God be God!