If we can't afford something we really need, should we ask God for more money? An earthly father might help us in that way if he had the means. Christ Jesus encouraged turning to God trustfully. ''Ask, and it shall be given you,''n1 he promised. Yet when speaking of normal human needs, he urged, ''Seek ye first the kingdom of God . . . ; and all these things shall be added unto you.''n2
n1 Matthew 7:7
Why did he instruct us to follow this apparently indirect way of getting free from lack? Could it have been because he knew that God alone is the source of our provision and that a misunderstanding of God underlies insufficiency? Jesus' life and works illustrated that we need infinitely more than a superficial, material sense of sufficiency. We need a deep understanding of the actual nature of existence, which is far better than our hopes.
Because God made us and He is Spirit, our true identity is spiritual, joyfully expressing His unlimited goodness. Because God is infinite, therefore all-presence, we actually live in Him. We aren't really animate bundles of atoms or molecules. Nor are we God's spiritual children temporarily packaged into restrictive and afflictive material bodies. The challenge is to discern these truths, anchoring our lives in an understanding of God, who alone created man and cares for his every need.
Seeking the kingdom of God, then, isn't a gloomy experience. It's finding out from the deep messages of Scripture, and from the intuitions that come through Christly living, that we're made to express the joy of everlasting unity with our Maker. As we better grasp and live our sonship and daughterhood with Him, the truth of our spiritual well-being becomes more apparent and obliterates the mistaken belief that we're subject to lack.
How did God create us? Lovingly, of course, for He is Love. But He is also supreme Mind, always governing His spiritual creation wisely. Realizing this, we'll experience a liftoff from insufficiency, because we'll perceive the God-derived ideas that reveal His ever-present provision.
Our prime need, then, is to go to God in humble prayer and let His all-sufficing ideas direct us. Mary Baker Eddy n3 puts it this way: ''God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies.''n4
n3 Mrs. Eddy is the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n4 Miscellaneous Writings, m p. 307.
So, adking God for money to get us out of difficulties isn't the ideal form of prayer. God has already provided man with far, far more -- immeasurably more -- than anything money can buy. His love, spiritually sensed and responded to, brings us by degrees into conscious, obedient recognition of His all-providing fatherhood. Then, instead of being anxious about how we're going to pay the rent or mortgage, or maybe finance the expansion of a business, we begin to base our decisions and actions on wisdom sought in prayer. We find that yielding to God's goodness and all-power harmonizes and prospers human affairs by purifying the motives and attitudes behind them.
It is right that we prosper in worthy enterprises and in helping others. Jesus showed wonderfully that a prayer-based life triumphs over earthly trials and is conspicuously successful.
But our home is heaven, and our high destiny is to discover our likeness to God as His children. That is why we solve human problems, including a shortage of funds, by first seeking the kingdom of universal Love to which we really belong. As Mrs. Eddy profoundly states, ''All Christian faith, hope, and prayer, all devout desire, virtually petition, Make me the image and likeness of divine Love.'' n5n5
n5 Message to The Mother Church for 1902,m p. 6.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life. John 6:27