THERE are certain decisions people must make on their own. When someone goes away to school, for example, he or she may discover the need to make more serious demands on prayer. A decision to look to God in prayer for answers to both personal and worldwide concerns is usually made alone--often without too much support from anyone else. Usually that is how it should be. Educational experience encourages people to think, and to think for themselves. A person in school can be exposed to much of what is goin g on in the world--things quite wonderful, and modes of thought which are definitely not so wonderful. And deep, heartfelt prayer can be the framework (and sometimes the foxhole) from which to make these important decisions. Prayer provides a basis, a way to really ``step back" and think things through.
When times are especially tough, through humble prayer a person often finds that he or she has something new to learn of God and man. A prayerful, more spiritual view of things can make the all- presence and all-power of God very clear to us--can make His goodness and His deep love for man, His dear creation, stand out in bold relief.
For example, just at the time I was about to graduate from my university, I discovered that I had neglected to fulfill one very necessary requirement in order to receive a diploma. I was supposed to have taken a particular writing class. It was impossible to attend the class itself, since it was now the end of the year, but I was allowed to take a test to determine my proficiency in that subject. I took the test and failed it. I was faced with the prospect of staying in school an extra term--and paying a ll of the fees, and housing and food costs--just to take the one class. I didn't have money for anything like that.
This happened when there was to be a talk about Christian Science given on my campus. I was studying Christian Science, so I went to the talk hoping that the ideas presented in it could help me. The speaker referred to the time in the Bible when Christ Jesus was confronted by a man with a deformed hand. Matthew's Gospel records the encounter: ``Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other." In speaking of that healing, the lec turer cited a passage from a book called Unity of Good by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. She states ``If his patient was a theologian of some bigoted sect, a physician, or a professor of natural philosophy, --according to the ruder sort then prevalent,--he never thanked Jesus for restoring his senseless hand; but neither red tape nor indignity hindered the divine process."
This caught my attention. I reasoned that, in my case, even though I wasn't looking for physical healing, the resolution of my difficulty could also be a divine process--I too could realize and experience God's continuous, pure goodness. As a result of this reasoning and prayer, I found myself thinking differently. I recognized that there wasn't ``red tape" or anything else with the power to change the inevitable goodness of God. Soon afterward, I was able to retake the test. I passed it and graduated.
Turning to prayer to solve the problems encountered in school helps teach us ways to meet difficulties later on in life. Constant, day-by-day spiritual commitment establishes prayer as not just an ``extracurricular activity" but actually the foremost growing activity in one's educational experience.