What evidence of progress do you look for when you pray to God for help?
Do you first look for physical evidence, like more money in the bank, a stronger knee, a boss who commends your performance?
Or do you look for spiritual evidence, like a humbler disposition, a calmer thought, a confident outlook, inspired points of view, more love and care in your heart?
Earnest sincere prayer leads to change in the human experience, no doubt about it. But it’s a trick of mortal mind to get humans searching for material evidence of God at work before necessary inward reforms have been made.
Our experience follows our thought, so thought needs to change first for the follow-up to conform.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote,
Are you looking for a proof of progress? Then look to see how well you are doing in terms of purifying “sense and self.”
To cleanse “sense and self” is to purge consciousness of mortal sins, like jealousy, envy, greed, lust, anger, malice, despair and hate. This is done in degrees, but every trial faced is an opportunity to do it a bit better.
For instance, if angry at your boss for passing you up for a promotion, proof of progress on your part is not whether you get a promotion or not, but how fast you release the rage and replace it with love. Real progress is always spiritual. God will promote you in unexpected ways for growing spiritually that more than make up for a lost business promotion—if you rise to the opportunity to love more—purify “sense and self.”
So, when looking for evidence of progress, start with your state of mind. Are truth and love successfully purging sin from your sense of self and replacing it with higher and less selfish states of mind? If so, you are on the route to grand success. And the human will come into line with the divine.