Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
Mary Baker Eddy

Science and Health - CHAPTER 1 - Prayer

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The only civil sentence which he had for error was, "Get thee behind me, Satan." Still stronger evidence that Jesus' reproof was pointed and pungent is found in his own words, - showing the necessity for such forcible utterance, when he cast out devils and healed the sick and sinning. The relinquishment of error deprives material sense of its false claims.

(Audible praying)
Audible prayer is impressive; it gives momentary solemnity and elevation to thought. But does it produce any lasting benefit? Looking deeply into these things, we find that "a zeal . . . not according to knowledge" gives occasion for reaction unfavorable to spiritual growth, sober resolve, and wholesome perception of God's requirements. The motives for verbal prayer may embrace too much love of applause to induce or encourage Christian sentiment.

(Emotional utterances)
Physical sensation, not Soul, produces material ecstasy and emotion. If spiritual sense always guided men, there would grow out of ecstatic moments a higher experience and a better life with more devout self-abnegation and purity. A self-satisfied ventilation of fervent sentiments never makes a Christian. God is not influenced by man. The "divine ear" is not an auditory nerve. It is the all-hearing and all-knowing Mind, to whom each need of man is always known and by whom it will be supplied.

(Danger from audible prayer)
The danger from prayer is that it may lead us into temptation. By it we may become involuntary hypocrites, uttering desires which are not real and consoling ourselves in the midst of sin with the recollection that we have prayed over it or mean to ask forgiveness at some later day. Hypocrisy is fatal to religion.

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