Science and Health
by Mary Baker Glover
Chapter V
Prayer and Atonement
THOUGHTS unuttered are not unknown to the infinite
Intelligence comprehending them, to whom a desire is
prayer, and no loss can occur from trusting God with
our desires, to mould and make higher before they are
evolved in action. But prayer has its motives, and
what are they? To make him better that prays, or to
benefit his hearers, to inform the Infinite of what he is
ignorant, or to be heard of men? First, are we ben-
efited by praying? Were God a person to be moved
by the breath of praise, or less than Infinite in under-
standing, or changing in Love and Wisdom, He might
do more good because of our petitions, and grant them
on the ground of the petitioner, in which case lip-ser-
vice were an advantage not to be overlooked. But
God is Love, and do we ask Him to be more than this
to man? God is Intelligence, and can we inform the
infinite Wisdom, or tell of our needs, the infinitesimal
part already comprehended? Do we hope to change
perfection in one of its arrangements, or shall we plead
for more of the open fount, pouring in all we will re-
ceive, and more cannot be given? Does prayer bring
us nearer the divine source of all being and blessed-
ness? then it is the prayer of works and not words;
asking to love God never made us love him, but this
desire, expressed in daily watchfulness and assimilation
to the divine character, moulds and fashions us to His
The danger of audible prayer is, that we fall into
temptation through it, and become an involuntary
hypocrite. First, by uttering what is not a real desire,
and secondly, consoling ourself under sin with the re-
collection we have prayed over it. Hypocrisy is fatal to
Christianity, and praying publicly, we often go be-
yond our means, beyond the honest standpoint of
fervent and habitual desire; if we are not yearning in
secret and striving for the accomplishment of all we
ask, ours are "vain repetitions, such as heathen use."
If our petition is sincere, we shall labor for what we
pray, and be rewarded by "Him who seeth in secret
and rewardeth openly." No expression of them can
make our desires more, or less, nor gain the ear om-
nipotent sooner by words than thoughts. If every
petition in prayer is sincere, God knows it before we
tell Him, and letting it remain honestly before Him we
incur no risk of overtalking our real state.
Prayer is sometimes employed, like a catholic con-
fession, to cancel sin, and this impedes Christianity.
Sin is not forgiven; we cannot escape its penalty.
Being sorry for its committal is but one step towards
reform, and the very smallest one; the next step that
Wisdom requires is, the test of our sincerity, namely, a
reformation. To this end we are placed under stress
of circumstances where the temptation comes to repeat
the offence, and the woe comes for what has been done
until we learn there is no discount in the law of retribu-
tion, and we must pay the uttermost farthing. The
measure we have meted will be measured to us again,
< Previous  |  Next >

  from page    for    pages

  for    from    to  

View & Search Options