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This truth stands at the threshold of your thoughts a guest so new and strange that we know it must knock loudly and long before you open unto it – and yet once [past] the iron portals of belief which close against it, where truth sups with understanding, and ever thereafter will you say of it: We have entertained angels unawares.

Mary Baker Eddy

(Mary Baker Eddy – Christian Healer, page 129)

Prayer: the long and the short of it

A Christian Science perspective: Whether our prayers are long or short, the key is heartfelt sincerity and trust.

By Robert R. MacKusick / April  2012

Why is prayer always good, whether long or short, petition or affirmation? Even a short “No” to the negative and intimidating thoughts knocking at our door is powerful. Is it just the right words that make prayer effective? Or is it the heart, the motive – the sincere desire to turn to God, divine Love?

Since prayers can be effective even without words, it has to be the sincere, heartfelt desire that makes prayer always good. It’s our desire to love God, to please God and honor Him. In the chapter titled “Prayer” in the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “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” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 4).

Whether our prayers are long, short, audible, or silent, or whether they involve patient listening, immediate trust, or instant denial of a bad situation, the key is heartfelt sincerity and trust in God’s presence, goodness, and lovingkindness to bless.


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Prayer: the long and the short of it