The Third Commandment – Q&A #3

The Third Commandment
“Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain”

Question: What is wrong with just saying prayers? After all, we say the Lord’s Prayer out loud at church services.

Answer: It is always right to pray. Our public prayers in church often help bring a sense of unity to the service. But, in order to be honest, and not praying “in vain,” we must strive to have our private thoughts live up to our public prayers.

What if your parents are forcing you to say your prayers, even if you are not really interested? Most likely they are simply trying to help you learn the habit of turning to God in prayer. However, we all need to learn, at some point, that merely saying the words of a prayer will not help us much, unless those words are from our heart, and are meaningful.

“If we are not secretly yearning and openly striving for the accomplishment of all we ask, our prayers are ‘vain repetitions,’ such as the heathen use. If our petitions are sincere, we labor for what we ask; and our Father, who seeth in secret, will reward us openly.” (S&H 13)

“A wordy prayer may afford a quiet sense of self-justification, though it makes the sinner a hypocrite. We never need to despair of an honest heart; but there is little hope for those who come only
spasmodically face to face with their wickedness and then seek to hide it. Their
prayers are indexes which do not correspond with their character.” (S&H 8)

Further Study: You can learn a lot about prayer in the first chapter of our textbook. Today, read a few pages, and try your own “silent” prayer. Ask God for help, and listen for His angel messages.

* * *

(Excerpted from “First Lessons in Christian Science, Volume One: The Ten Commandments”
Copyright 2001)

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Third - Q&A #3


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