Positive thinking can be a great vehicle for getting through one’s day. It can help one be more attentive, affectionate, cheerful and aware. Co-workers would certainly prefer a positive thinker over a negative thinker. The same is true for teachers, spouses, children and just about everyone. But positive thinking has its limits – it deals with problems only on the surface, instead of getting to the root of them.
Some people may think of prayer as mere positive thinking – trying to make oneself feel better but not really changing anything. Others think prayer is a blind faith that petitions a whimsical or uncertain God to do something for us, and hopes that He will do it.
I have found prayer to be something else. I have found prayer to be a quest to find a logical and provable explanation of the power of God to heal. In other words, I have found prayer to be scientific.
Scientific prayer does not ignore the world and its dangers but rather examines them very seriously. This kind of prayer can actually heal the injustices, crimes and diseases that plague mankind. It looks deeper than the surface of things – fear, bigotry, worry, sickness – and looks to God instead of the human mind for answers to life’s smallest and largest challenges.
Scientific prayer begins with God as only good. It then examines the relationship between this good God and His creation, man and the universe. If God is good, so must be His creation. The Bible tells us in the book of Genesis that man is made in the image of this good and intelligent God. As we strive to understand that each of us is the inheritor of God’s love, wisdom, intelligence, might and life, our lives change. We develop more strength, courage, integrity and health. This prayer is not only effective for oneself, but can also embrace the world and those we meet and love. Scientific prayer can actually help us all feel that comforting, inspiring divine Love which heals our fears, worries and illnesses – mental and physical.
One night I received a call from a man I had known in the past. He said he needed to talk with me. I picked him up at the boarding house where he lived and took him to my office. It was rather late at night and we were the only ones on the floor that night. He sat down, and when I did the same, he pulled out a gun and pointed it at me.
He asked me if I was afraid. I was certainly concerned, but I was praying – silently asking God to help me understand that this man was God’s child as much as I was, and that both of us could feel this overpowering and unconditional divine Love right then and there.
The man proceeded to tell me about his irrational fears and his total inability to trust anyone. I listened intently, but while I listened I knew with all my heart that deeper than those fears and irrationality was his innate goodness and composure as one of God’s children. I prayed to understand that he had the intelligence God gives everyone. At this point, he put the gun back into his pocket.
We stayed and talked for an hour. I assured him that he, too, was created in the image and likeness of God, and that he could understand that about himself. I told him that God was revealing to him his composure, peace, and joy because God loved him as one of His own children. And that since God was divine Mind, God revealed this peaceful identity to him as his own thinking. This wasn’t positive thinking; this was the power of God. My friend didn’t have the capacity to think positively at that moment – he was too afraid. But he was touched and reassured by the love and wisdom of God.
I took him back to the boarding house where he lived. We had many conversations after that, and he often felt the healing power of God, and this changed his life for the better in many ways.
In the years since, I have found a beautiful definition of healing prayer in these words of Christian Science founder, Mary Baker Eddy: “True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love and to include all mankind in one affection.” I feel that was the kind of healing prayer my friend and I shared and felt that night.
You might think of prayer as a journey in understanding the relationship between an ever present, all-good God and His creation as the beneficiary of that all-powerful love and intelligence. Enjoy the journey!
©2017 Christian Science Committee on Publication for Illinois