A Ministry of Quiet Prayer
THERE'S a lot of noise in the world today. A lot of hype. A lot clamoring for attention and influence. No wonder people can feel it's difficult to be heard -- or to listen. It sometimes appears that the way society goes about attempting to solve problems is to throw more noise at them. When a person is in need of healing, however, it's natural to yearn for something quieter, something that speaks to the heart with gentle grace, steady authority, compassion, and power. This is what many have discovered through the healing ministry of Christian Science. It's a ministry of quiet prayer, striving to follow Christ Jesus' example. It's a ministry aimed at bringing one to an understanding of man's unity with God.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, there's a passage that indicates the need to shut out the intruding noise of the physical senses and to turn wholeheartedly to God's all-power. The passage also shows the coincident demands of Christian discipleship. As Mrs. Eddy writes: ``In order to pray aright, we must enter into the closet and shut the door. We must close the lips and silence the material senses. In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings, we must deny sin and plead God's allness. We must resolve to take up the cross, and go forth with honest hearts to work and watch for wisdom, Truth, and Love.''1 The book goes on to make clear that the way we live what our prayers express is essential to discovering healing answers.
Of course, if someone were struggling with a particular challenge and needed help, he could call on a Christian Science practitioner to assist him in finding healing through spiritual means. The practitioner might share some ideas about the individual's true identity as God's child, His loved spiritual expression. Perhaps the practitioner would point to a direction for study in the Bible and the writings of Mrs. Eddy. But generally, one would find the practitioner's spoken communication to be rather low-key and modest. The primary response would normally be a genuine expression of love and heartfelt prayer.
The prayer of Christian Science treatment includes communion with God, where sin and the error of any form of discord are firmly denied. In place of the falsehood, such prayer recognizes the allness -- the infinite goodness and power -- of God.
Prayer in Christian Science also includes humble listening for messages of divine Truth, which reveal specific spiritual facts. God's truth counters and overturns whatever lies might be suggesting a power apart from God's goodness, such as malfunction, infection, pain, moral weakness. In the scientific listening of prayer, Spirit's supremacy and the purity, integrity, and strength of man's true being are more clearly realized as immediate reality. Discord is seen as having no origin, substance, or action in God's kingdom, and the way is thereby opened for healing. Such prayer might be strong and direct -- but the ``noise'' of materiality is conspicuously absent. As the Bible confirms: ``In quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.''2
A sanctuary of quietness and spiritual confidence is available to everyone through the ministry of Christian healing. Such prayer strengthens us. It comforts. It guides. It heals.
1Science and Health, p. 15. 2Isaiah 30:15.
This is a condensed version of an editorial that appeared in the December 12, 1988, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.
Healing through prayer is explored in more detail in the Sentinel, a weekly magazine.