Excerpt from the Abridged version of the chapter Prayer from the book 21st Century Science and Health
Adding words to prayers has not proven reliable. Verbose prayers take detours into unrealistic terrain and the human ego tries to take over. The wisdom of divine Mind is immutable whereas the wisdom of human beings is mutable, therefore incapable of telling God what to do. God is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever,” (Heb. 13:8)
God’s work is done. We reflect the doing. Prayer comes with work. Not busy-work, but logical, timely, and efficient work. We can take advantage of God’s rules and receive the experience and understanding that empower us to work out our own salvation with God.
As we reflect the divine Being—the “altogether lovely” (Song of Solomon 5:16)—we are conscious of the image and likeness of God. This rule of reflection is no small task but is the work of eternity and demands unequivocal commitment of thought, energy, and desire.
God is so infinite and complete that we will constantly need to increase in spiritual understanding. Commitment to a Godlike prayer must be kept modest and open to new ideas otherwise an overzealous loyalty to what is already known will result in treachery. Fanatical devotion will claim to know an omnipresent good God but yet be found telling God, and everyone else, how to think and act. Dismiss the barren holier-than-thou attitudes that often taint a prayer.
We can refine gratitude. Being grateful is important however being grateful for manifestations of material prosperity and health is seriously different from being grateful for Life, Truth, and Love. It’s hypocritical to thank God only for material things or human ideologies, while forgetting to be grateful for honesty, humility, and hard-work. The rule of spiritual gratitude is that you will live the honesty, humility, and hard-work, not just talk about them.
Effective prayer is buoyed by an intense desire for increased grace. The desire must be combined with a genuine effort to express courage, forbearance, love, and good deeds. It is this grace that is recorded in the Bible and which the Master Christ Jesus exemplified.
Silent prayer, spiritual alertness, and sincere obedience participate in the grace of Love. We are worthy of Love. We can be patient with ourselves and with others because in this chaotic world most of us are neophytes at assimilating the divine character. Not only is it difficult to understand a God we can’t physically control, but we’ve also been hardwired to materialize our prayers by saying them out loud or repeating them ad nauseam. Audible prayers may even affect our worship of God, making it an entertainment rather than a means of increasing our spiritual knowledge.