A New Way to Pray:
What Exactly is Prayer Again?
“That is real which never changes.”
We’ve established that prayer is stopping to listen to Truth, to hear what God is telling us, along with an affirmation that help is already available.
It’s striking to note that the same word is used for the action of praying as well as for the person doing it: prayer (supplication) and pray-er (the person). Here it’s easy to acknowledge that God is One. We just can’t be left out of the picture. Then the dictionary’s definitions for prayer take on new meaning: “request,” “ask,” “entreat,” “implore,” “beg,” “beseech,” “petition,” “supplication,” “a formal request directed to an authority,” “an earnest call for help or support” — these all adhere to the conventional concept of prayer, and certainly remain useful. But what about: “ardent good wishes,” “to address the Divine with adoration,” “confession,” and — best of all — “thanksgiving”? These ideas about prayer point us in a better direction.
Mary Baker Eddy describes prayer this way: “Thoughts unspoken are not unknown to the [D]ivine Mind. Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds.” She continues: “Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it.” Of course we can’t tell God anything. God already knows all, because God is Intelligence Itself. Because each individual is an expression of the One Mind, each of us, too, must already know everything that God knows.
This is the Absolute reality: God is your mind.
This profound realization is itself a humble and powerful prayer. In any time of need, great or small, it could go something like this:
I thank You, God, for all the good that’s happening. You truly are amazing and wonderful! Right now, though, I don’t feel so good! Things don’t seem to be going very well. It’s time for me to turn back to You. That’s why I’m turning away from all these failed attempts to fix this problem. I’m choosing now to realize that I need to reclaim my true identity as Your child. That is, I am asking for Your guidance, recognizing that I am already Your reflection — Your idea, Your creation. Therefore as a reflection of the Original One Mind, Love, Truth, Good, I can’t express anything else. Because I acknowledge this is true, I know all the right ideas I need will be revealed to me. Teach me as I learn once again to accept Your perfect Love for me....
If you’re sure you don’t believe in the capricious or anthropomorphic God you may have grown up with, go easy on yourself. Instead, try Principle. This rock-solid basis can — and shall, if you are willing — lead you to your own sound understanding of God. An understanding that is based on real evidence, not on belief — something that makes sense for you, and works for you. You can prove it. In Divine Science, there’s no such thing as failure. Can the Almighty be a failure? Of course not. Then you can’t be, either. All it takes to see this is to switch to a spiritual viewpoint. I love what inspirational speaker and author Wayne Dyer says about failure: “There’s no such thing as failure.... The difference between a flower and a weed is only a judgment.”
The harmony and peace you seek aren’t somewhere else, they’re already here. Jesus said, “The kingdom of God doesn’t come with observation, neither can you say ‘Look here!’ or ‘Over there!’ for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you” (see Luke 17:20–21). As spiritual teacher John Morton says, Baruch Bashan — the blessings already are.
The undisturbed rhythm of the universe is already imprinted right here in our hearts. God is Love and Harmony — so God doesn’t know, can’t possibly know, anything else. Therefore there is no reason to fear or suffer. There’s nothing to be afraid of — we are safe and sound, we are free, we are OK, we are loved.
The bottom line is, we don’t have to wander around in the mire of our lives, aimless or helpless, buffeted like the wind by chance or fate, never knowing what to do next. There is a universal Principle governing everything. During a difficult time, when we don’t see God’s control, we are accepting chaos instead of Principle, idiocy instead of Intelligence. All that we need to do is turn back to look in the Divine Mirror. Remember who you are: You are a perfect reflection of the One, which is All Good!
So pray scientifically. Be quiet and still.
There’s no formula. But I can offer effective guidelines we can look to in order to organize our thoughts and calm down in any crisis, even in an emergency.
FIRST, DECLARE THE ABSOLUTE TRUTH
Start with the solution, not the problem. Principle is All. Principle is One. This One is All — and here and now. Be grateful for this fact! Even if you can’t yet see it at this moment, give thanks for the Infinite Good you know is real. From time to time, you have been able to perceive this fact. So claim for Principle those “good times” even in this particular “bad time.”
Proclaim the Absolute Truth: The One Mind, Principle, Love, is in control — is true, is handling everything. Is holding you safe. All is well. You cannot be otherwise. You can’t have fear once you accept this fact! So stay here until your thoughts stop racing, and you’ve calmed yourself enough to alleviate the fear.
SECOND, AFFIRM THE TRUTH AND DENY THE LIE
Once fear is dismissed, you can acknowledge the fact of Principle to be true — specifically for your situation, for yourself, and for any others involved. Ask for inspiration and direction. Gather together in your thought as many ways you can think of where Principle and Intelligence can be confirmed here and now, even if the picture looks grim.
Be still. Keep listening for guidance. Don’t give up. Refute, one by one, the false notion(s) that any evil(s) could overthrow God’s all-power. Do this specifically for each problem or symptom, replacing each lie you throw out with a corresponding Truth.
Something you can start with when you’re not sure what to do next is to consult dictionaries and thesauri for the meanings behind the problem. Then start listing the antonyms (opposites). Without exception, whenever I do this I am directed to the root of the error, and it’s always so obvious — and then I can more easily refute it with an opposite Divine quality.
Let God speak to you personally through your study of the words. Then utilize synonyms for God (brainstorming lists are provided at the end of each chapter) in order to focus on specific qualities you know are true and want to see.
THIRD, CLAIM THE HEALING AS REAL AND PERMANENT
Acknowledge God with gratitude for the healing of the situation, recognizing the final authority of Principle — It is the unopposed voice of Goodness! All other nay-saying opinions are put to rest in the face of this all-enveloping Power. Now and always, God is in control. You are comforted, safe, and free.
The example above is just a taste of what it means to pray scientifically. It all may happen in only a few seconds, or it may be a much longer process. There aren’t any rules about form. You can pray with your eyes shut, or you can speak aloud — to yourself or to another. You can sing it, shout it, write it, or simply think it. Of course you can pray anytime, anywhere. You can pray while driving on the freeway, painting the den, doing the dishes, fixing the car, or mopping the floor. Just go for it!