Q) In the Church Manual by Mary Baker Eddy under “Discipline” is the By-Law, “The prayers in Christian Science churches shall be offered for the congregations collectively and exclusively” (p. 42). What are “the congregations collectively and exclusively”? Should I be praying only for those people who are congregating in the same edifice as I am? Or for congregations everywhere? How can I better understand what Mrs. Eddy had in mind when she wrote this? —A Reader in Massachusetts, US
A) This question is such a welcome one to me because it reveals a desire to understandingly comply with a By-Law promulgating Mary Baker Eddy’s intention for us to treat in-church time as “we time” and not “me time,” congregating in oneness of thought, purpose, and prayer. She called this powerful affection “the unity of good and bond of perfectness” (Retrospection and Introspection, p. 76).
Prayerful study of this By-Law can be done on a basis that’s proven invaluable for me: the language itself and its context.