Faith Matters: The importance of prayer

  • First Church of Christ, Scientist, on Federal Street in Greenfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Reading material at First Church of Christ, Scientist, on Federal Street in Greenfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

First Church of Christ, Scientist, Greenfield
Published: 9/6/2019 10:00:19 PM
Modified: 9/6/2019 10:00:06 PM

(Each Saturday, a faith leader in Franklin County offers a personal perspective in this space. To become part of this series, email religion@recorder.com)

Prayer is fundamental to every religion, and it is likewise central to the lives of members of the First Church of Christ, Scientist. Christian Scientists pray daily for themselves and the world in addition to praying during their services. They depend on prayer to maintain health and to solve the problems that arise in daily life. But what is prayer in Christian Science? Why do Scientists feel that they can depend on prayer to resolve all kinds of difficulties, including those related to health?

Mary Baker Eddy, founder and discoverer of Christian Science, wrote, “True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us … It shows us more clearly than we saw before, what we already have and are; and most of all, it shows us what God is.” (No and Yes, p. 39.)

But what is God? Most Christians are familiar with the passage in the Bible (I John 4:8) that tells us that God is love. Other synonyms for God that the Bible mentions are spirit and truth, and throughout the Bible we are told that God (love, spirit, truth) is all-powerful. We are also told in Genesis 1:26 that God made man in his own image — in other words, in the image of love.

Christian Scientists have found that when they pray with the idea that God is love and that they have been made in the image of that love, multitudes of problems can be resolved. Scientists testify to all kinds of healings — of soured relationships, of difficulties at work, of ill health — during their Wednesday evening testimony meetings. Verified testimonies of healing are also included in every issue of the Christian Science Journal and the Christian Science Sentinel, both of which can be purchased in any Christian Science Reading Room, including ours at 110 Federal St.

For Christian Scientists, prayer is not asking God to intervene in their lives in an arbitrary, miraculous way but rather acknowledging the all-power of God, Love, to heal. Jesus seems to have been completely certain that God’s presence and power would bring healing, and Christian Scientists believe it’s possible to follow in his footsteps, and they take seriously his promise that those who followed his teachings could emulate his works (John 14:12).

Since spiritual healing is at the heart of Christian Science, the question often arises as to whether members of this church are permitted to avail themselves of medical help. The answer is yes. Although Christian Scientists generally rely on prayer for healing, they are free to seek whatever treatment they deem best in a given circumstance.

Christians around the world pray for peace and for the resolution of world problems, and they have faith that their prayers are effective. Christian Scientists do the same. Mary Baker Eddy felt that engagement with the world was so important that she founded a daily newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor, which reports the news as it happens without sensationalizing it and is particularly alert to solutions, progress, and to the work of individuals “making a difference,” as that particular column is named.

In 1908, she wrote, “For many years I have prayed daily that there be no more war” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist and Miscellany, p. 286). Her followers likewise pray for the world on a regular basis — with love as their starting point. We can’t always see where and how those prayers are helping, but we know that they do.

About First Church of Christ, Scientist

First Church of Christ, Scientist is located at 110 Federal St. in Greenfield. Services are at 10:30 a.m. on Sundays and 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. The Sunday service includes hymns, prayer and a sermon consisting of a weekly Bible lesson topic read aloud. On Wednesdays, in addition to readings from the Bible and the textbook of “Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, members of the congregation are invited to share testimonies of healing.

Our Reading Room in the building is open Wednesdays from 2 to 5 p.m. It provides a quiet place to pray and study. Bibles and Christian Science literature including The Christian Science Monitor are available to read, borrow or buy. Everyone is welcome!




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