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Following the example set by the question-and-answer columns in the early Journals, when Mary Baker Eddy was Editor, this column will respond to general queries from Journal readers—such as the one above—with responses from Journal readers. It will not cover questions about how to interpret statements in Mrs. Eddy's writings. There's more information at the end of the column about how to submit questions.


From the October 2006 issue of The Christian Science Journal

From time to time I see articles in the Journal that make a distinction between prayer and Christian Science treatment. But I have not found anything in Mrs. Eddy's writings that points to some important distinction between prayer (as Mrs. Eddy said prayer should be) and the method of healing in Christian Science. Indeed, Science and Health says that Jesus' prayers were "conscientious protests of Truth" (p. 12) and that the Lord's Prayer "covers all human needs" (p. 16). What is the basis for making a distinction between prayer and Christian Science treatment?

A1 While there may not be a specific reference in Mary Baker Eddy's writings stating that there is a distinction between prayer and Christian Science treatment, such a difference does exist. Prayer tends to examine and harmonize one's own thought, whereas Christian Science treatment prayerfully examines someone else's thought, upon that person's request.

Whether Mrs. Eddy's means of distinguishing the two types, however, was by calling one "prayer" and the other "Christian Science treatment" may be a little bit difficult to precisely identify. Regardless of the distinction, it is always appropriate for one to pray. In fact, the Bible declares that we should pray without ceasing, and Christian Science teaches that we have a duty to pray each day. This prayer consists in spiritualizing one's own thoughts in a way that clearly establishes God's reign of harmony for all humanity. Here, we are not praying for any one person's thought, but simply acknowledging harmony as a law for everyone.

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