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MAYBE you never have nightmares. But if you do, you know what they are like. And, like me, you probably wake up feeling scared. One of the things I've found that really helps me whenever I am having-or have had-a nightmare is prayer.

That may sound strange at first, but prayer helps us see how close we are to God, who is good. Since nightmares are usually about evil or about bad things happening, I find that a powerful dose of good helps me tremendously. Sometimes, I find that I can even pray during the nightmare. When I do this, the dream always comes to an end. In fact, since God is all-powerful good (like really awesome good), His presence is sure to wipe out evil, including any bad memories.

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God, divine Love, is always with us. Even when we are having nightmares, we can call on Him for help. This verse from Psalms helps me feel His presence any time I have doubts. It also shows me that God's plan is for all of us to experience only good. The verse says, ''The Lord will command his lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life'' (42:8).

I love the idea of God's song being with me, filling me with thoughts of good, of love, peace, joy, and safety. Instead of being distressed by the evil noise of a nightmare, we can have confidence in the goodness and loving thoughts of God.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, brings out this point in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes: ''We treat error through the understanding of Truth, because Truth is error's antidote. If a dream ceases, it is self-destroyed, and the terror is over'' (p. 346).

Another way that Truth is an antidote for nightmares is by helping us know that God is the only creator. There isn't really a source for nightmares-some evil ''production center'' where these dreams are ''manufactured.'' You and I don't have anything bad inside us that brings forth evil dreams. We aren't a mass of chemicals or mental circuits or psychology that sometimes goes wrong. We are perfect and good because we are ideas of God, of divine Mind. So instead of having little personal minds that can get messed up by trouble at home or somewhere else, we live in Mind, which is totally good. Only true thoughts come to us from God, and they never include nightmares.

If you have a nightmare that is particularly troubling, prayer can help you get rid of it. I know this because I used to have a nightmare that showed up over and over again. Its main point was that I was in trouble and I couldn't speak up to the people who were planning to hurt me. Each time, I would wake up sweaty and frightened.

After I learned about Christian Science, I found it very helpful to pray right after each episode of this nightmare. Then I got the idea to pray during the dream itself. Whenever I was able to do this, the dream would stop instantly or change for the better. I was really grateful for this progress, but the dreams continued.

Finally, I had the nightmare while I was on a camping trip with a friend. Apparently, in my sleep I was making strange sounds because I was trying to speak and this woke my friend. She is also a Christian Scientist, and after she woke me from the nightmare, we had a little talk. It was so clear that God was present with me always, and that I couldn't be under any influence but His. I saw how certain things that had happened at the end of the day had influenced my thoughts and might have led to the nightmare. And I also saw how totally irrelevant they were to me, my happiness, or anything I was doing. The only real influence I needed -and wanted-was God's, and I could never be out of His care. That was the last time I had that nightmare.

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So if you are troubled by nightmares, you don't need to be. Pray persistently, trust Truth, God, to guide you, and you will be free.

When thou liest down,

thou shalt not be afraid:

yea, thou shalt lie down,

and thy sleep shall be sweet.

Proverbs 3:24

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