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1st Enter Your Storehouse (tameion) to Pray!

Craig L. Ghislin, C.S., Glen Ellyn (Bartlett), IL
Posted Monday, December 29th, 2014

[1st Enter Your Storehouse (tameion) to Align Thought with God in Prayer]
Metaphysical Application Ideas for the Christian Science Lesson on

God

for December 29, 2014—January 4, 2015

by Craig L. Ghislin, C.S.   Glen Ellyn, Illinois (Bartlett)
craig.ghislincs@icloud.com  /  (630) 830-8683

[Bracketed italics added by CedarS Director, Warren, who’s very grateful for good support already received with more needed at Adopt the Herd Riding Fund , CedarS Giving Tree & IRA .]

How do you pray?  Is your prayer a technical exercise, or repetition of rules or statements?  Is your prayer a list of requests to a power outside yourself?  Or a reminder to yourself that there is something beyond your own control governing your world?

I like the way John Calvin put it:
“Believers do not pray, with the view of informing God about things unknown to him, or of exciting him to do his duty, or of urging him as though he were reluctant.  On the contrary, they pray, in order that they may arouse themselves to seek him, that they may exercise their faith in meditating on his promises, that they may relieve themselves from their anxieties by pouring them into his bosom; in a word, that they may declare that from Him alone they hope and expect, both for themselves and others, all good things.”

Prayer is aligning our thought with God.  In Christian Science, we’re taught that prayer should begin and end with God—with Truth.  So it’s fitting that we begin the New Year, a new cycle of Lesson-Sermons, and the Golden Text with a declaration of God’s excellence and glory.

The Responsive Reading reminds us that even the gospel taught by Jesus himself was not of his own design or the product of his intellectual capacity.  Everything Jesus taught came directly from God, and so does everything we learn in Christian Science.  As Christian Scientists we sometimes emphasize the procedure, or scientific reasoning of prayer, but we have to remember it all hinges on God.

Jesus gave his listeners some specific guidelines regarding prayer.  First of all, we should approach prayer with sacred reverence.  We don’t need to give God a laundry list of problems because Jesus says God answers our need before we even ask.  Mrs. Eddy tells us, “Desire is prayer” (Science and Health 1:11), and “God knows our need before we tell Him or our fellow beings about it” (ibid. 13:14-16).

So if God is already answering our need, why pray?  We pray to get our thought in line with what God knows.  Jesus was constantly aligning his thought with God.  In fact, everything he did and said came directly from God.  Jesus said, “I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.”  Jesus gave his disciples what we call The Lord’s Prayer.  Most Protestant scholars agree that the Lord’s Prayer isn’t meant to be a liturgical recitation; but rather, a general guideline as to the manner and attitude required for prayer.  [See Warren’s P.S. for insights from a Cobbey Crisler commentary.]  The Lord’s Prayer is a template for aligning thought with God.  This week’s Lesson takes us through that prayer line-by-line.

Section 1: God Is All
We begin this section with the indisputable fact that God is all, and “there is none else.” [See citation B1 & Hymn 444 in P.P.S. as inspired by Isaiah 45.]  Several translators and commentators pose Isa. 45:11 as a question which makes it seem as if God is affronted by the fact that men have the nerve to complain about what He has done, and dare to question His will.  But the King James Version makes this phrase a statement, almost as if God is offering His service to mankind as if to say, “Don’t look anywhere else, or go to anyone else to find out what’s going on.  I created all, so come to me to see what I am doing.”  It is in short, an open invitation for us to turn to God, the Creator of all, and seek understanding directly from Him.  God is distinguished as omnipotent and without a second or equal by acknowledging His dominion over the heaven and earth (B2).  Joseph Benson, a contemporary of Methodist John Wesley, notes that the phrase “Our Father which art in heaven” sets God apart from those whom we call fathers on earth, and from those whom we call gods but are not in heaven.  He also mentions that to “hallow” or sanctify something is to show the highest veneration for it.

Adam Clarke reminds us that we hallow God’s name with our lips, speaking those things which minister grace to our hearers; in our thoughts, when we suppress evil and have our tempers regulated by Spirit; in our lives, as we keep everything we do for God’s glory; in our families, as we teach our children to follow the Lord; and in our business, as we practice honesty and fairness.  Isaiah expands the traditional view of God as Father to include God’s Motherhood.  Everything we are, and everything we have we owe to God (B3).

Mary Baker Eddy also introduced the Motherhood of God to the theological discourse in modern times (S1).  Although the concept of a feminine aspect of Deity has been in and out of theological discussions for centuries, Mrs. Eddy’s idea of God as “Father-Mother” was quite a stretch for the male dominated religious scene of the nineteenth century.  Traditional views also relegated God to the distant heavens far from the earthbound mortals who were believed to be unworthy sinners.  Mrs. Eddy emphasized God’s “Allness” (S2, S3).  This brought man into oneness with God and lifted man out of mortal condemnation to sonship with his Creator.  Puritans thought that only those who were saved should be included in the religious community, but Christian Science reveals man as a universal family with everyone already saved by virtue of their common divine Parent (S4).  Seeing God as Mind, Life, Truth, and Love (S5) rather than as a magnified human opens the door to endless possibilities for healing and regeneration.

Nobody is left out of God’s kingdom, and prayer begins with that acknowledgement.  It’s not just “my father” it’s “Our Father-Mother God” (S6).  Embodying the spirit of the first lines of the Lord’s Prayer has a regenerating effect in itself. It’s the foundation for all that follows.

Section 2: God Is Ever-present
As mentioned above, much of traditional theology separated man from God.  Man was seen as down here on earth struggling with sin, disease, and death; while God was way up there in heaven, occasionally condescending to help us if we asked the right way and behaved properly.  But the biblical idea of God as in heaven is indicative of His mighty sovereignty.  Unlike earthly monarchs who come and go, God is fixed, and nothing can overthrow His dominion (B4).  What’s more, God isn’t far off.  He is ever-present Good—right here always (B5).  Even those who try to deny God cannot hide from His law, or be separated from His love.  Christ Jesus was fully aware of God’s presence, and this awareness fueled his life and healing ministry (B6).  Jesus was so alive to God’s presence that he said, “the kingdom of God is within you” (B7).  That’s quite a statement.  No external condition can determine the heavenly kingdom.  It’s within our hearts, and we can find it wherever we are when our hearts are aligned with God.

In the spiritual interpretation of this line our Leader adds, “Thou art ever-present” (S7).  This is another key feature of healing prayer.  Not only do we recognize that God exists and is sovereign, but that His government is present right here, right now.  Often, prayer is motivated by some situation deemed dangerous whether it’s an illness, a financial difficulty, adversarial disputes, or any other impending concern.  Basically, if people pray at all, they tend to do it when they get into trouble.  But really understanding that God is infinite, ever-present Spirit not only saves us from the challenge at hand, it eliminates all belief in matter whatsoever (S8).  If God is truly “All-in-all,” there is nothing else to oppose Him (S9).  There can’t be more than All.

Jesus knew that right where a sinning mortal appeared to be, the real man of God’s creating was there.  He saw man the way God made him—“unfallen and eternal.”  Mrs. Eddy says, “Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact” (S10).  “Intact” means “untouched.”  So whatever the human circumstance seems to be, the spiritual fact of what God has made and is doing prevails and brings healing.

Section 3: God Is Omnipotent
The presence of the kingdom of God isn’t a passive thing.  It is actively working without interruption to maintain God’s law.  As Jeremiah says, “nothing is too hard for thee… the Lord of hosts…[is] Great in counsel, and mighty in work” (B8).  The kingdom of God is so much more than a pleasant concept to ponder.  It’s actually working with us all the time (B9).  Jesus didn’t just talk about God.  He demonstrated God’s power through healing (B10).  This isn’t to say that Jesus didn’t face challenges.  On the contrary, he faced more challenges than anyone else in history has or will ever face.  But he did it to show us that God is more than a theoretical concept.  Even if it seems that there is a devil with the power to destroy us, that lie can be cast out through understanding the omnipotence of God (B11).

Who wouldn’t want to know that “God is omnipotent, supreme”? (S11).  That’s an integral part of prayer.  If you didn’t think God could do anything, what would be the point of praying?  In the face of evil, it may seem like something other than God is running the show, so it’s natural for us to ask God to help us understand Him better.  Our leader had no doubt of God’s presence or power, and she knew that that precluded anything else (S12).  She tells us in order to pray effectively we “must” acknowledge God’s supremacy right where we are (S13).  She points to Jesus’ example: he didn’t inquire about the human condition, or concede to material health laws.  It’s interesting too, that our Leader reminds us that Jesus “never prayed to know if God were willing that a man should live” (S14).  That’s important to us, because so often people have the mistaken impression that not only does God send sickness, but that there are times that dying is “God’s will.”  How can sickness or death ever be the will of eternal Life?  It’s impossible.

Our leader stressed the point that to pray aright, we have to be absolutely convinced that the power of God is omnipotent and “adequate to unclasp the hold” of sickness, sin, and death (S15).  We can’t be satisfied with talking it.  It has to be proved.  She gives us a couple of “musts” here.  Our unity with God “must be wrought out in life-practice, and God’s will must be universally done” (S16).

Embracing and understanding any of the first three concepts of the Lord’s Prayer: God’s existence, God’s omnipresence, and God’s power can have remarkable effect on our prayer.  Having established that firm foundation of understanding God, we’re ready to apply that to our present experience.

Section 4: God Is the Source of All Good
As our prayer shifts to what the understanding of God means for man, the scriptures first instruct us to recognize and praise God for the good things God has done so far (B13).  God supplies us with every needful thing.  All the wisdom, understanding, and grace we require is always at hand.  The New Testament reminds us not to focus on merely material things.  We should look to God and seek heavenly things first (B14).  It’s easy to drift into complacency when we have material comforts.  To be sure, we may start out by recognizing God as the true source of all we need, but if we get too comfortable, our focus may start to drift away from heavenly pursuits.  Throughout the Lord’s Prayer the petitions are plural not singular.  It starts with “Our Father,” and as we move into specific petitions, it says, “Give us this day our daily bread.”  Paul too, expects God’s grace to be sufficient for us to help others through our good work (B15).  A key word here is “sufficiency.”  The tendency for mortal mind is to hang on to whatever one has and keep everyone else away from it.  Basically, people are very attached to their “stuff.”  But the Bible tells us not to be afraid to share.  In fact, trying to accumulate and hold on to things is sometimes done out of fear that God will not always supply our needs.  God’s supply is consistent and constant (B16).  There is no deficit in Spirit.  Benson points out that we are called upon, rich and poor alike, to look to God for our sustenance and provision.  Not trusting in riches or the providence of men, nor for a lifetime supply all at once, but of the ongoing supply that gives us what we need day by day.

The Lord’s Prayer instructs us to ask for no more than what we need for the moment, and the spiritual interpretation takes it a step further, by showing us that the real need is for grace (S17).  Our textbook promises that God tenderly supplies all creation with exactly what is needed (S18).  If we are aware of God’s parenting nature, and really see that everyone’s need is met by God alone, we won’t be afraid to give what we have.  Even more importantly, Mrs. Eddy says imparting a sense of peace, patience, and an abiding consciousness of God’s love for us is more useful [and nourishing] than practical supplies (S19).   Whatever we need, divine Love always has, and always will supply it.  Our Leader was convinced of this, pointing out that “to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good” (S20).  Spiritualizing our desire opens the valve for abundant blessings.  Focusing on material pursuits, we will necessarily be bound by limited resources, but spiritual things have unlimited potential for bearing fruit (S21).

Section 5: God Heals Sin and Sickness
In the previous section, we saw that God supplies all of our sustenance.  In this section we’re reminded that every single benefit we receive for both our moral and physical health also comes from God (B17).  A major obstacle to our recognition of God’s ability to save and heal us is sin.  So it makes sense that in prayer, if we want to feel the benefit of God’s power and presence, we would want to take active steps to abandon anything that prevents us from embracing our true natures as children of God.

Christ Jesus’ life was an ongoing prayer.  Not only did he constantly acknowledge God’s presence and power, he consistently demonstrated it.  Jesus himself was arguably the purest, most sinless individual to ever walk the globe.  This gave him a clear advantage in being able to heal others.  In the story of the palsied man (B19) Jesus proved God’s omniscience through Jesus’ own accurate reading of the sick man’s need, as well as by knowing what his detractors were thinking about it.  He also illustrated God’s omnipotence by showing that purity does have healing power and authority.

The line “forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors” implies a promise on behalf of the petitioner to make every effort to let his own actions be as godlike as possible.  He asks no more from God than he is willing to practice with others.  Mrs. Eddy’s interpretation, “Love is reflected in love” (S22) underscores the importance of man’s responsibility to live in accordance with God and that every act of goodness in man is a reflection of God’s goodness.

Commentators point out that to the Jews in Jesus’ time, it was thought that healing of sin preceded healing of sickness.  In fact, most often sickness was thought of as a consequence of sin.  This thought lingers today, as sufferers quite often tend to search their souls when in physical distress.  We’re all familiar with stories in which people start making sweeping promises of reform to God, if He will deliver them from their malady.  But this sort of situational prayer is misleading.  Mrs. Eddy reminds us that “God is Love.”  That being the case, we can’t really ask, or expect anything less or more from God (S23).

Aligning our thought with God by forsaking sin is a necessary part of being forgiven, but asking God to forgive us isn’t enough.  In order for sin to be forgiven, sin must be destroyed (S24).  As we mentioned in the beginning, prayer is getting our thought in line with God and seeing things from His perspective.  Our textbook tells us the way to do that is to “Turn from sin and lose sight of mortal selfhood.”  That sounds fairly simple doesn’t it?  Jesus proved that actively living the Christ has the power to heal sickness and sin, so let’s make sure to incorporate that commitment to purity into our prayer.

Section 6: God Delivers Us From Evil
Sometimes people think that God puts obstacles and trials in our way to test us.  The scriptures are solid on this point, that God has no part in evil.  On the contrary, God delivers us from every potential challenge we may encounter (B20).  The book of James reinforces this, reminding us that temptations are the product of human belief; for God can’t be tempted, nor can He tempt with evil (B21).

The psalmist asks for direction to keep him on the path of righteousness.  He knows that God will save him from his enemies and that since God’s Spirit is entirely good, he will be led to freedom from all trouble (B22).  In Paul’s letter to Timothy, he doesn’t ask for deliverance from captivity or even from death.  Paul’s great concern is that he be delivered from all manner of evil—that no matter what befalls him, he maintains a righteous path and spiritual outlook (B23).  John Calvin calls this verse “…a remarkable passage for maintaining the uninterrupted communication of the grace of God.”

Mary Baker Eddy turns the request to be delivered from evil into a positive statement of fact—“And God leadeth us not into temptation, but delivereth us from sin, disease, and death” (S26).  She confirms that the true nature of man is indeed free from sin, disease, and death (S27).  How could she be so sure that God has nothing to do with evil, and that the real man is free from these evil attacks?  She saw it recorded throughout history and in her own experience (S28).  The story related in citation S29 is one of countless examples of how correcting a false belief about God and man brings healing.  Everything about the Lord’s Prayer brings thought into alignment with God.  Using the Lord’s Prayer as a template, we can achieve that solid conviction of God’s omnipresence, omnipotence, and omniscience; and we can apply it to every human need.

The well-known paragraph on page 495:14 (S30) of Science and Health gives us specific instructions that follow the pattern in the Lord’s Prayer.  It starts with “clinging steadfastly to God and His idea.”  We’re to let nothing else but His likeness into our thought.  We’re to banish anything that would cloud our “clear sense and calm trust.”  Once we have firmly established our trust in God, we should let that spiritual understanding support us and replace every erroneous belief with Truth.

Section 7: Praise His Holy Name
The Lord’s Prayer ends with a doxology of praise for God’s great goodness (B24, B25).  Many think the last line was an addition by translators, but it makes perfect sense when we think about it in terms of a template for prayer.  We started with the truth, and we end with the truth.  That’s how we’re taught to pray.  And the act of praising and acknowledging God’s greatness is also a form of gratitude and a strong punctuation to our prayer.

Aligning our thought with God is “knowing” God. It’s acknowledging His presence, power, and infinite wisdom. It includes understanding man’s unbroken relationship with his Maker and gives us the courage and conviction to trust God to meet our every need, which includes transforming our lives and keeping us free from sin, disease, and death.

The final line of the spiritual interpretation is in itself a rock solid statement of spiritual fact, and it eliminates anything that would oppose God or cause us to doubt His presence.  “For God is infinite, all-power, all Life, Truth Love, over all, and All.”  Enough said!


[Warren's P.S. “Cobbey Crisler’s Commentary” on Matthew 6:6—Step 1 of prayer: mentally go to where our supplies already are & leave problems behind.]

“Matthew 6:6 “But when you pray,” first, now notice, here are the rules for praying.  If we think we’re praying, wait till we get through with what his requirements are, and then ask again.  “When you pray,” here’s what we do. There’s no way around these requirements, because this is Jesus’ specific answer to how we pray.  When we pray, number one, we do what? “Closet.” Number two, “Shut the door.”

Often we do one or two of these things but not all of them. Number three, “Pray.”  Don’t forget why you’re in that closet.  Don’t go to sleep with the door closed.  What’s good about studying the Greek that’s behind this?  The Greek word for closet is tameion. It really is not translated as closet, I don’t believe any other time it’s used.  Tameion has in the Greek this meaning: it’s a storehouse.  It’s a place in which our supplies are kept.  Now ask yourself if you’re really praying.

In prayer, in our first step, do we actually go mentally into the place where our supplies already are?  That means in prayer we can’t take any problem with us. In prayer we’re in the presence of the solution, or it’s not prayer, as far as Jesus’ definition is concerned. Once we’re in there where the supplies are, shut the door so that the problem doesn’t nag.”

Book of Matthew, Auditing the Master: A Tax Collector’s Report , p. 32
by B. Cobbey Crisler
Click on link under “Downloads” in the upper RIGHT corner of CedarS Met for January 4, 2015 for a PDF file of a scan of pages 32-34]


[P.P.S.  Here's Hymn 444, I AM THE LORD, by Désirée Goyette, inspired by Isaiah 45 (B1).
"I am the Lord, there is none else; There is no God beside Me. I girded thee, I girded thee, Though thou hast not even known Me. But know that from the rising sun To the west there is none beside Me, For I am the Lord, there is none else; There is no God beside Me."

"I am the Truth, there is none else; There is no Truth beside Me. Infinite light, bountiful, bright, Is ever present to guide thee. Beloved and free, eternally, Perfect peace and joy I provide thee, For I am the Lord, there is none else; There is no God beside Me.

"Innocent one, sinless and pure, Nothing can ever divide thee. Governed by Love, you’re safe and secure; I am forever beside thee. So rest and know wher-e’er you go, Home and heav’n cannot be denied thee, For I am the Lord, there is none else; There is no God beside Me."

Words and Music Copyright 2008 Lightchild Publishing. Used by Permission.]


[The weekly Metaphysical Newsletter is provided at no charge to the 1,200 campers and staff blessed each summer at CedarS, as well as to CedarS alumni, families and friends who have requested it. However, current and planned gifts are a big help and are greatly appreciated in defraying the costs of running this service and of providing needed camperships, programs and operations support. Click http://www.cedarscamps.org/giving/ for more about how you can provide even monthly support online. Or you can always call the Huffs at 636-394-6162 get information or discuss privately how to transfer securities or other assets to help support and perpetuate CedarS work.]

[You can also reach a member of the Founding family nearly anytime by
PHONE at 636-394-6162
or MAIL your tax-deductible support to our 501-C-3 organization
(Our not-for-profit, Federal Identification Number is #440-66-3883):

The CedarS Camps, Inc.
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THANKS TO YOU PRECIOUS DONORS FOR YOUR ONGOING, GENEROUS and NEEDED SUPPORT OF CedarS IMPORTANT WORK!

[LETTING 2 SPECIAL NEEDS BE KNOWN –
Significant funding is still needed for these special opportunities:
1. Over 100 needed items are featured on CedarS Giving Tree that could fit the budget of every grateful Met-recipient and camper. You can choose for yourself $1-and-up ways to give to support CedarS needs. Click here to see 2 young alumni tell their reasons to give.

2. “Adopt the Herd” Matching Opportunity! Generous donors, aware of the ongoing need to care for CedarS herd, will match donations for our horse program! ($27,317 needed to reach $50k goal)]

Thank all who helped us meet our "Maintenance Musts" Matching Opportunity!
($25k goal reached by 12-14-14—will be matched by generous donors in January 2015!)


[The Met application ideas above are provided primarily to help CedarS campers and staff (as well as friends) see and daily demonstrate the great value of studying and applying the Christian Science Bible lessons throughout the year, not just at camp! YOU CAN ALSO SIGN UP for weekly emails from past CedarS staff of possible ways to share Bible Lesson applications with older, as well as younger, Sunday School classes by clicking the "Subscribe Now" button (lower left) at http://www.cedarscamps.org/metaphysical/ ]

[Additional Director's Note: You can sign up to have these application ideas emailed to you free – by Monday each week in English; or by each Wednesday you can get a FREE TRANSLATION: in German, thanks to Manfred and Jeanette; or in Spanish, thanks to a team of Ana, Erick, Claudia and Patricio, or in Portuguese, thanks to helpers of Orlando Trentini in Brazil. A voluntary French translation by Rodger Glokpor, a Christian Scientist from Togo (West Africa) has been contributed in the past. Thank you, Rodger and all translators! Go to http://www.cedarscamps.org/and click "Newsletters" to sign-up for a free translation into these languages. This sharing is the latest in an ongoing, 14-year series of CedarS Bible Lesson "Mets" (Metaphysical application ideas) contributed weekly by a rotation of CedarS Resident Practitioners and occasionally by other metaphysicians. (Ask and look for "Possible Sunday School Topics "and "Possible Younger Class Lessons" in emails to follow.) These weekly offerings are intended to encourage further study and application of ideas in the lesson and to invigorate Sunday School participation by students and by the budding teachers on our staff. Originally sent JUST to my Sunday School students and to campers, staff and CedarS families who wanted to continue at home and in their home Sunday Schools the same type of focused Lesson study, application and inspiration they had felt at camp, CedarS lesson "Mets "and Sunday School ideas are in no way meant to be definitive or conclusive or in any way serve as a substitute for daily study of the lesson. The thoughts presented are the inspiration of the moment and are offered to give a bit more dimension and background as well as new angles (and angels) on the daily applicability of some of the ideas and passages being studied. The weekly Bible Lessons are copyrighted by the Christian Science Publishing Society and are printed in the Christian Science Quarterly and in a variety of useful formats as available at Christian Science Reading Rooms or online at eBibleLesson.com or myBibleLesson.com. The citations referenced (i.e.B-1 and S-28) from this week's Bible Lesson in the "Met" (Metaphysical application ideas) are taken from the Bible (B-1 thru B-26) and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (S-1 thru S-32). The Bible and Science and Health are the ordained pastor of the Churches of Christ, Scientist. The Bible Lesson is the sermon read in Christian Science church services throughout the world. The Lesson-Sermon speaks individually through the Christ to everyone, providing unique insights and tailor-made applications for each one. We are glad you requested this metaphysical sharing and hope that you find some of the ideas helpful in your daily spiritual journey, in your deeper digging in the books and in closer bonding with your Comforter and Pastor.]

 

 

 

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