Today, May 2, is National Day of Prayer in the United States.
Two of my favorite statements regarding prayer are by the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy. She begins the preface of her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures this way: “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings.” Then, on page 12 of the same volume, the author speaks of Jesus, “… whose humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth,—of man’s likeness to God and of man’s unity with Truth and Love.” Truth and Love are scriptural names or synonyms for God.
I’ve always loved that phrase “deep and conscientious protests of Truth” as a way of thinking about prayer. It elevates the activity of prayer for me. Prayer may start out as a petition or request that asks God for something, but that is really just a warm-up for the main event as thought moves quickly to a “deep and conscientious protest of Truth.” This protest is a grateful acknowledgment of what God is, has, and does as divine Love, and what I am, have, and do by virtue of an inviolate relationship with God, Love.
We are not outside of God’s tender care, having to earn His good grace, but we are at one with Him.
In Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son (see Luke 15:11–32) he tells the story of two brothers. One stayed at home and played by the rules, so to speak. The other brother asked for and received his inheritance and “took his journey into a far country, and there wasted his substance with riotous living.” When this son “came to himself,” realizing what he had done, he returned to his father’s home to petition his father that he might live there as a servant. Instead, he is greeted by his father, recognized for who he is—a loved son—and given a robe, ring, shoes, and a celebration party.
The son who had remained faithfully at home is reported to be jealous and wants to know why he was not given a party. His father tells him, “Son, thou art ever with me, and all that I have is thine.”
I love to consider that this is exactly what God is telling us. God is ever present as divine Love and is loving, guiding, cherishing, upholding, tenderly shepherding, and caring for us every moment of our daily walk. Yes, right now. We are not outside of His tender care, having to earn His good grace, but we are at one with God, sheltered safely under His wing, under His holy influence. In our prayers, we have the opportunity to affirm—to conscientiously protest—this fact trustingly, understandingly, and with good effects.
On this National Day of Prayer, let’s pause to consider the God-given relationship that we have with Him. Take a thoughtful moment to acknowledge what God as Love is doing for us individually, as a nation, and as universal brothers and sisters around the world. Let’s rest for a moment in the full recognition of God’s all-presence and all-power, and with a deep sense of profound gratitude for the divine good that is ours—and that our prayers, our “deep and conscientious protests of Truth,” do indeed comfort, guide, and heal.
Diane Marrapodi is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher living in Forest Hill, Maryland.