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Keep in touch

WHEN parting from friends or signing off in letters, we often use the phrase ``keep in touch.'' Aren't we sometimes so lax in following up our contact that the words become rather empty? And what about keeping in touch with God? How extensive are our efforts to reaffirm our relationship to Him? Do we maintain a receptivity to His communication to us? Do our prayers keep us open to His thoughts? When we pray to the all-knowing Mind, are we thinking of Him as a kind of superhuman who will listen to our tales of woe, to our pleas for help, and to our decisions as to what He should do for us? These are important questions, because it's in our relationship to our creator that we find genuine, lasting wellbeing. Appearances would deny this, and materialistic reasoning would persuade us to neglect prayer as of little relevance to our welfare. Yet the God to whom we should pray is the very source and sustainer of our being. In harmony with the Bible, Christian Science brings out the importance of praying daily. Jesus made it clear that material desires must be relinquished through prayer in order that God's purpose can be accomplished in our lives. Knowing the value of this constant, quiet time with his Father, Jesus often went off by himself to pray, even remaining all night. Maintaining the consciousness of his unity with God enabled him to accomplish his Father's work throughout the day. At that supreme moment in the g arden of Gethsemane he prayed, ``Not as I will, but as thou wilt.'' 1 Following the Master, we should listen to and hear what God has to say to us--listen for His thoughts rather than try to inform Him of something, as though He were less than all-knowing good. Such listening sometimes takes considerable effort. Can you recall an occasion when someone was talking to you, but your preoccupation with your own thoughts kept you from hearing a word that was said? You just were not listening. God already knows our every need, but we must quietly listen for His direction. Thi s is a vital point in Christian Science, and it's at the heart of prayer. It is expressed so beautifully and simply in Psalm 46, verse 10: ``Be still, and know that I am God.'' And Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``The intercommunication is always from God to His idea, man.'' 2 When needing help or advice, we often instinctively turn to our parents or friends. During a very stressful time, as I paced the lonely room one evening, I cried aloud: ``I have no one to help me. Oh, who can help me?'' In the stillness of that dark room my heart, reaching out in prayer, found its answer in divine Love. Clearly in the depths of my thought I heard the Father say, ``I'm here--I will help you.'' Of course! God is my true Father-Mother, and He is always near and ready to help each one of us. A great feeling of joy and peace impelled me to drop to my knees in prayerful gratitude to God as I recalled a verse from Psalms: ``God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.'' 3 Though I try to keep in closer communion with God, many times the concerns of the day preoccupy me, and I lose the feeling of His presence for a time. Of course, we're never truly separated from God. Man is God's image, as we learn from the Bible, and that perfect image is the true selfhood of us all. But we need to prove our inseparability from Diety, and one vital way is through continuous prayer. As Paul says, ``Pray without ceasing.'' 4 That is truly keeping in touch with God. 1 Matthew 26:39. 2 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 284. 3 Psalms 46:1. 4 I Thessalonians 5:17.

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