Science and Health
with Key to The Scriptures
by Mary Baker Eddy
Chapter I - Prayer


He who is immutably right will do right without being
reminded of His province. The wisdom of man is not
sufficient to warrant him in advising God.
The spiritual mathematics
Who would stand before a blackboard, and pray the
principle of mathematics to solve the problem? The
rule is already established, and it is our
task to work out the solution. Shall we
ask the divine Principle of all goodness to do His own
work? His work is done, and we have only to avail
ourselves of God's rule in order to receive His bless-
ing, which enables us to work out our own salvation.
The Divine Being must be reflected by man, – else
man is not the image and likeness of the patient,
tender, and true, the One "altogether lovely;" but to
understand God is the work of eternity, and demands
absolute consecration of thought, energy, and desire.
Prayerful ingratitude
How empty are our conceptions of Deity! We admit
theoretically that God is good, omnipotent, omni-
present, infinite, and then we try to give
information to this infinite Mind. We plead
for unmerited pardon and for a liberal outpouring of
benefactions. Are we really grateful for the good
already received? Then we shall avail ourselves of the
blessings we have, and thus be fitted to receive more.
Gratitude is much more than a verbal expression of
thanks. Action expresses more gratitude than speech.
If we are ungrateful for Life, Truth, and Love, and
yet return thanks to God for all blessings, we are in-
sincere and incur the sharp censure our Master pro-
nounces on hypocrites. In such a case, the only
acceptable prayer is to put the finger on the lips and
remember our blessings. While the heart is far from
divine Truth and Love, we cannot conceal the ingrati-
tude of barren lives.
Efficacious petitions
What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire
for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness,
love, and good deeds. To keep the com-
mandments of our Master and follow his
example, is our proper debt to him and the only
worthy evidence of our gratitude for all that he has
done. Outward worship is not of itself sufficient to
express loyal and heartfelt gratitude, since he has
said: "If ye love me, keep my commandments."
The habitual struggle to be always good is unceas-
ing prayer. Its motives are made manifest in the
blessings they bring, – blessings which, even if not
acknowledged in audible words, attest our worthiness
to be partakers of Love.
Watchfulness requisite
Simply asking that we may love God will never
make us love Him; but the longing to be better
and holier, expressed in daily watchful-
ness and in striving to assimilate more of
the divine character, will mould and fashion us
anew, until we awake in His likeness. We reach the
Science of Christianity through demonstration of the
divine nature; but in this wicked world goodness
will "be evil spoken of," and patience must bring
Veritable devotion
Audible prayer can never do the works of spiritual
understanding, which regenerates; but silent prayer,
watchfulness, and devout obedience enable
us to follow Jesus' example. Long prayers,
superstition, and creeds clip the strong pinions of love,
and clothe religion in human forms. Whatever mate-
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