Leave your list outside
July 17, 2014
When asked to teach them how to pray, Jesus gave to his followers this first step: “enter into thy closet, and…shut thy door.” He pointed out that there was no need for “much speaking…for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” Jesus seemed to indicate that an attitude of humble listening, communing with God one on one, was most useful. For “thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” (Matt 6:6-8) Nowhere does the Master suggest that giving God a list of to-dos or complaints is prayer.
The Psalmist says, “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving. ” Ps 94:2 Gratitude is an especially wonderful prayer because it opens our hearts and minds to all the good that God is already pouring forth. In fact, we often see that those things we thought were missing, are even now being provided. In this case, a list of those things we’re grateful for is most appropriate!
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy there’s a whole chapter devoted to Prayer. And the author mentions several kinds of useful communion. She says, “consistent prayer is the desire to do right.” (p. 9) Or that “the habitual desire to be always good is unceasing prayer.” (p. 4) Or “self-forgetfulness, purity, and affection are constant prayers.” (p. 15) These qualities of good and right, of purity and affection are important when we’re in the holy space with our heavenly Father. And they supersede any list we might take with us of things we feel we’re lacking.
Instead, live in sincerity with your prayer, live as if you mean what you said in the quietness of your closet. Then, Jesus promises that “all these things shall be added unto you;” (Matt 6:33) everything you need will be made plain before you.
Leave your list outside the closet, take your meekness in. Then, watch God work!
Melissa Hayden is a Christian Science practitioner in Salem, OR. You can find more information and additional articles at this link. If you like what you’re reading, click the “add me” button.