So, have you ever, like, disagreed with what someone was saying, and been told “I’ll pray for you” in response?
What the heck?
Could it be that if we’re seeing some fallible, imperfect mortal when we look at someone else, it’s our OWN perception of God’s perfect creation that needs to be corrected? Could it be that it’s not the OTHER individual who needs to be “prayed for” – but that we need to be praying to correct our OWN thoughts?
It seems to me there’s a certain un-Christly smugness about the thought that someone who disagrees with our mortal opinions and beliefs needs to somehow be “fixed” to conform with how we think about things. And telling someone who doesn’t want our prayers that we’ll pray for him is really pretty presumptuous, isn’t it? A Christian Science teacher once made the analogy that unsolicited prayers are akin to going, uninvited, into someone else’s home and re-arranging their furniture. I think we need to be careful to mind our OWN business, to mind our OWN thoughts, and trust that others are being led – just like we are – no more and no less – by God and Truth, too.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mary Baker Eddy writes: “The heavenly law is broken by trespassing upon man’s individual right of self-government. We have no authority in Christian Science and no moral right to attempt to influence the thoughts of others, except it be to benefit them. In mental practice you must not forget that erring human opinions, conflicting selfish motives, and ignorant attempts to do good may render you incapable of knowing or judging accurately the need of your fellow-men. Therefore the rule is, heal the sick when called upon for aid….”
In the chapter titled “Prayer” in Science and Health, Eddy asks: “What are the motives for prayer? Do we pray to make ourselves better or to benefit those who hear us, to enlighten the infinite or to be heard of men?” Are we praying with humility, quietly putting ourselves “in the closet” as Jesus admonished us to do, and humbly drawing our own thoughts near to the heart of Love and Truth? Or are we trying to use prayer as a sort of bully stick – trying to knock others around until they agree with us?
When I’ve been asked by someone else to pray for him – well, that’s a whole ‘nother thing, of course. That’s a prayer of support coming from a place of love – and that’s the kind of prayer that heals. Eddy writes: “If Spirit or the power of divine Love bear witness to the truth, this is the ultimatum, the scientific way, and the healing is instantaneous.”
Now we’re talking! 🙂