At a Christian Science students’ association meeting a while ago, the speaker asked the audience to pray for themselves for three minutes. They were to use a specific concept from Mary Baker Eddy’s answer to the question, “What is man?” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 475). Although it sounded simple, the speaker noted discernible discomfort in the group. People were restless, checking their watches to see if the three minutes had passed, and so on.
The speaker made the same request four more times during the day. Each time the group seemed to display the same discomfort and resistance to prayer. At the conclusion of the meeting, they were asked to pray, again for three minutes, but this time they were to pray for the world. There was an almost audible sigh of relief. Praying for the world was easy.
What was the difference? Could it be that praying for the world seemed more important, more interesting, and therefore easier to do? Has prayer for ourselves become brief, perfunctory, and routine? If so, then maybe getting a different perspective on daily prayer will bring freshness to our work.