NEVER in the world's history has there been a more active inquiry into the nature and office of prayer than at this time—not only as a redemptive, but as a curative agency. The vital question has urged itself upon human thought with such insistency that group after group, in all parts of the world, in all walks of life, are acknowledging that there is this power of prayer and admitting that they must avail themselves of it, to the end that through individual redemption the world may come to know that all things are made new. As any unprejudiced observer of what Carlyle has called "the TimeSpirit" will quite readily admit, this quickened effort to raise the office of prayer to its true place of power and availability is due chiefly to the fact that for over fifty years a band of religionists, steadily being augmented, has been active, whose religion is based on the premise that true prayer is the only real curative as well as saving agency there is or can be.
In an age steeped in materialism and ringing with laudation of physical so-called science, such a premise seemed at first to be so revolutionary and impractical as to be quite without the realm of serious consideration, notwithstanding the words and works of him to whom all Christendom turns as the great Exemplar, who declared, nearly two thousand years ago, "Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you." And to those who should so believe, Jesus specifically promised that definite "signs" or answers to their prayers should follow—indeed, the very same proofs of God's immanence as had blessed his healing ministry along the waysides of Galilee and in the very temple of the skeptical Pharisees. The steadily accruing proofs, however, brought forth by these religionists, known as Christian Scientists, have so won and challenged public attention that the healing power of prayer is being acknowledged in the pulpit, the press, the courts of law, and among the medical faculty.
Two prominent physicians sat together one night until well into the dawn, literally and figuratively, to discuss the now so well-known chapter on Prayer with which the textbook of Christian Science opens. These two faithful servants of the public health realized that the book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" by Mary Baker Eddy, could no longer be ignored. In fact, one of them had turned from the practice of medicine because of the change wrought in his convictions by that book; and he was giving the reason for the hope that was in him by bringing to his brother physician's attention that chapter on Prayer.