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From the May 1910 issue of The Christian Science Journal

One of the unjust things said of Christian Scientists is that they are a prayerless people. This arises in part, doubtless, from the differing conceptions of what prayer really is. With orthodox Christians the generally accepted estimate of prayer makes it nothing more nor less than a call upon God to do something, a supplication or request; and thus understood, there could be but little if any regenerating effect upon men as a result of prayer. Such a concept takes no account of the one supreme fact that it is the man, not God, that must or can change.

Prayer to be effective must serve to bring, not God nearer to men, but men nearer to God, nearer to the eternal and unchangeable harmony of being that destroys all sin, disease, and discord of every kind. There is an omnipotent Principle to which man must conform to be entirely harmonious, therefore prayer, to be effective, must help men to come nearer to the realization and understanding of that great Principle and to conform to it in every thought and deed. In so far, then, as prayer does elevate men to a higher concept and understanding of God, and the willingness and desire to conform to His laws, to that extent is it effective prayer. Without this regenerating element, acting upon mortal man himself, prayer, so called, is of no force or effect.

It is just here that the one great difference between the generally accepted prayer of most believers and the Christian Science prayer is found. The one is looked upon and regarded as an appeal, request, or supplication to God to act for the good or relief of mankind in general, or of some individual man in distress. The other is essentially a declaration that God has already done for man all that can be done, or that he needs in order to find relief from all sin, disease, sorrow, or other ills; and that the object and purpose of true prayer is to bring men to a realization of this great fact, and to induce them so to think, act, and live as to receive what God has already provided for man. It assumes, as its basic fact, that God has made everything good and harmonious, and that mortal man's false concept of life and being, acted upon by him, is the cause of all his troubles. Therefore the object of prayer, rightly understood, must be to remove that false concept and the tendency or desire to act in accordance with it.

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