Advanced Developments in Christ Science


Dynamics of Prayer
a spiritual exploration presentation

Rolf A. F. Witzsche

First Church of Christ, Scientist, Rock Island, Illinois (dissolved) - Wikipedia


Prayer has a principle. The principle is to meet the human need universally with the divine resource that is God, which is absolute and therefore universally reflected, as illustrated by Christ Jesus in the opening phrase of the Lord's Prayer, "Our Father..." On the necessarily universal dimension of good, reflected in prayer, hangs the whole of civilization or the loss of it.


Dynamics of Prayer


in an information sheet on Islam, an anecdote is presented of a visiting holy man who taught the community of a city a profound lesson. He asked a black man who was also a slave to enter with him into the most holy shrine of the city. There he asked the black man to climb onto the roof, onto the very top of it, and from there utter the call for prayer.

He may have caused quite an uproar with this. Not only did he invite black man into the most holy place, and a slave at that, but placed him on top of it so that he had the entire shrine under his feet, and to add insult to injury, he asked the black slave to call the faithful to prayer.

It is said that the holy man explained to the people of the city the principle behind the deed that he later put it into the form of a verse to be added to the Koran.

The information sheet stated that this episode changed the people's relationship to one another in the city, and may have changed the face of Islam itself. No one was excluded anymore. The were all challenged to regard one another as equal.

The lesson that the holy person had taught the people was essentially the same that Christ Jesus taught with the Lord's Prayer.

The Lord's Prayer opens with the phrase, "Our Father." - He didn't say 'my' Father, but 'our' Father. There is a world of difference between "my" Father, and "our" Father. The "my" excludes the whole of humanity from the divine unity, while the term "our" is all inclusive. The sense of "Our Father" is threaded through the entire Lord's Prayer, such as with the phrase, "Give US OUR daily bread;" "Forgive OUR debts;" "Deliver US from evil;" and so on.

Christ Jesus may have said, "Don't forget this, this is important." America 's great spiritual pioneer, Mary Baker Eddy, evidently understood what he had said. She made it an item of discipline in the Church Manual for every member of her Church to pray each day: "Thy kingdom come." The phrase is one of the corner stones of the Lord's Prayer. It is built on the phrase "Our Father." It reflects it. The phrase, "Thy Kingdom come" projects a recognition of universal good manifest in concrete expressions that no one is, or can be, excluded from. The holy person of Islam who selected a black slave to stand on top of a mosque to utter the call for prayer was evidently aware of this principle.

Mary Baker Eddy added two more parts to the mandatory daily prayer. One of these is, "Let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin." This part heightens the universal sense of OUR Father. Mary Baker Eddy capitalized the terms Life, Truth, and Love. This means that the terms represent exclusively the absolute sense, which is the universal sense by reflection, the sense of the phase "Our Father." All aspects of God that Mary Baker Eddy presents as synonymous terms in capitalized form: "Principle, Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth, and Love," are in the scientific sense absolute in nature, and being absolute they are necessarily singular, and being absolute and singular, they are necessarily universal in expression, without exclusion in any form.

It means that God is the universal source and resource of life, truth, and love reflected in all without exception. Since this is a tall task to implement in the wide world of human living, she asks us to desire daily, and by implication constantly, that this sense of divine good - being universal expressed - become evermore established in our thinking and living, individually, so much that this swilling recognition rules out of consciousness anything contrary and anything less.

Evidently Mary Baker Eddy didn't leave it with this either, because in the third part of the daily prayer she requests us to expect in prayer that God's promise, the Word of God,  results evermore in enriched affections across all mankind, and that these will govern mankind.

That's quite a tall basic requirement for Church Members to fulfill, but a necessary one.  And so, perhaps to make the task easier, Mary Baker Eddy added another bylaw for "Discipline" to the Church Manual, right behind the one for the Daily Prayer. This additional bylaw says, "The prayers in Christian Science churches shall be offered for the congregation collectively and exclusively." The requirement for collectively reflects again the opening of the Lord's Prayer: "OUR Father." The door to the notion of "MY Father" is closed, since it is scientifically impossible.

The principle of God is One. This, One, is universally reflected. God is the universal source and resource for all mankind, from which no one is excluded or ever can be excluded. By us offering our prayers for the congregation, we begin to learn what prayer really is; that it cannot be anything small, or isolating, or self-isolating, or be a one-way street of getting.

Of course, Mary Baker Eddy also gives us the substance for those prayers in the form of the lesson sermons. Every aspect of the lesson sermons is a resource to facilitate the universal prayers.

The additional aspect of discipline that requires the collective prayer for the congregation to be made also exclusively for the congregation, brings to light the essential nature of prayer. Since God is manifest as universal good, the divine good can only be found on the universal platform, exclusively. "Blessed is the man who finds his good in another's good," because then he enters the platform where good unfolds. If one aims to harvest apples, one needs to look for them on apple trees exclusively. It is foolish to look for them anywhere else.

On this universal platform where the light of good unfolds, a bond of dedication and purpose unfolds with it, a growing bond in good, for which the congregation has gathered in the place that is a church, which, when it operates on the universal platform, is a Church of Christ Scientists. This universal purpose, to honour the universal good that expresses God, is nicely expressed in the words of the hymn that opens with these words:

From these Thy children gathered in Thy name, 
From hearts made whole, from lips redeemed from woe, 
Thy praise, O Father, shall forever flow. 
Alleluia! Alleluia! 

(Hymn 421)

It should be noted that the discipline that requires the prayers in church to be offered for the congregation collectively and exclusively is a universal requirement in Christian Science churches. It is not limited to the church membership only, or to the Mother Church membership. It is universal and applies to anyone who steps through the door.

How vital these bylaw are has come to light in a personal experience some time ago. I was invited to view a movie some time ago. I felt obliged to accept the invitation. The movie consisted primarily of scenes of a famous guru of a religion that was foreign to me, addressing an extremely large crowd that filled a major stadium. I recall that the crowd was constantly cheering the guru, who actually said very little. It was as if the people felt that the louder they cheered, the greater their blessing would be. They came there to be blessed by the guru. Later the movie showed scenes of many people lining up to receive a personal blessing. It was around this stage in the movie that I felt physically ill. I felt that needed to get out of the house were the movie was shown.

Outside, breathing the free air again, I soon felt well again. But I also felt puzzled. I knew that I had learned a lesson of something, though I couldn't quite figure out what it was. The answer didn't come to mind until I was working extensively with the Lord's Prayer, especially the opening phrase: "OUR Father." I recognized that the people in the stadium and at the reception afterwards were all saying, "give me", "give me!" That's when it dawned on me that the whole world was saying the same thing. The "give me" song has become the song of the stock market, the financial market, the commodity market, even in much of the world of business, investment, including building. The universal song of commerce and finance has become "my money," endlessly repeated, instead of a song of "our money," standing as a financial resource to be applied for the collective welfare of society, meeting the human need.

It is fairly evident by the economic collapse around the world that the "my money" song, the 'prayer song' to god of money has made the world poor and civilization fragile. And for some, money has indeed become God, MY God. The people in the stadium were evidently chanting, "my blessing," "my blessing," "give me my blessing." Those trapped in the financial market, and this to some degree includes much of humanity pray to the god of money that offers nothing, bowing with they hands held out. While money is a useful tool to support creative and productive economics, if it is deployed in the service of universal good for the development of humanity. On this platform it reflects the divine principle of universal good, the OUR Father platform. Outside of this sphere it is a thief that is choking civilization, which humanity needs to gain its freedom from.

I began to wonder what would have happened if the people in the stadium who had come to be blessed by the guru had recognized that the resources for the blessings they thought are universal, located in God, and are thereby universally at hand to be accepted and expressed, so that it is each one's task to project this resource onto one-another and thereby to help assure that all human needs are met. With this in mind I began to wonder what a beautiful human world we would create if the same discipline that Mary Baker Eddy called for in Christian Science churches had been applied evermore fully, and had been applied in business, finance, and all other forms of economics.

And as I ponder these things, I hear Mary Baker Eddy saying to me through the Church Manual, "isn't this what I had asked you already in 1895, to achieve in the world? - Isn't the discipline that I require - the platform, OUR Father - the heart of the Lord's Prayer, and the Daily Prayer, and the discipline I have requested for the prayers in the churches?"

Oh, it is easy to answer this pondering with all kinds of excuses, why we have not yet succeeded, but even as we answer thus, we cannot escape the recognition that each case where we failed is fundamentally a case where we said no to God.

Mary Baker Eddy's discipline requirements are for our healing to help us to reduce the number of such cases to zero, and thereby uplift civilization.

Related video explorations:

Science of the Lord's Prayer --
Christ and Christmas -- 
Marriage on the Infinite Plain

Related articles:

Is Prayer Effective on the World Stage?   --
Restoring the Glass Steagall law. --
Lord of the Rings exploration --


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