In times of trouble, it's common to use the expression "I haven't got a prayer!" However bad things get, though, one thing we each always do have is a prayer. What's more, that prayer can actually bring about change, even in times of great need.
That's what the Scriptures frequently declare. For example, there's the account of how Jesus stilled a threatening storm at sea. "Peace, be still" (Mark 4:39) was his simple, spoken prayer, and the storm instantly calmed. One minute his fellow travelers were fearing for their lives. The next moment they were awestruck at how their teacher's prayer kept everyone safe.
Facing financial storms in this time of recession – as individuals, as a nation, or as a global family – we always do have a prayer, even if we're down to our last cent, or way beyond that. We can mentally address the fears washing into our thoughts by praying, "Peace, be still!" with the expectancy that our fears and doubts will be calmed by God's response to our need and that His inspired ideas of how to go forward in practical ways will emerge in thought.
Not that the words have power in and of themselves. Prayer is not a mantra. Jesus couldn't have stilled the storm just by mouthing the right words. His words were the visible – or audible – tip of a profound conviction of God's goodness, founded on a conscious ability to commune with the divine Spirit and based on the countless times healing had resulted from that communing.
With this evidence of prayer's power, Jesus could speak with the authority of the Christ, the awareness of an underlying spiritual dimension in which peace is not only natural, but inevitable, because it is divinely formed and maintained. In communion with God, it's possible to perceive a calm, harmonious creation right where a stormy world appears to be, and to know that the former trumps the latter, irrespective of evidence to the contrary. This perception brings even the evidence of the material senses in line with the vision of spiritual reality perceived.
In today's storms, everyone can commune with God and feel the touch of the Christ that Jesus was so completely conscious of and expressed so clearly. The God to whom Jesus entrusted his safety in that wind-tossed boat was and is ever-present Spirit, freely accessible divine Mind, wholly dependable Principle. This knowledge subdued and removed the opposite apparent influence of what the Bible calls "the carnal mind," the would-be source of all that is negative and distressing. Jesus proved that this force is not genuine. That is, his prayer to see the presence of God, good, and its infinite influence saw through the carnal mind's lie of an absence of good, called evil.
Since God remains the same forever, His spiritual power is the same now to help and heal. God responds to today's "Peace, be still" prayers with the mental stillness needed to open the eyes of those needing to see practical solutions that will make a difference. Reaching for, and attaining, spiritual stillness lets in the divine Mind's ideas, which point the way to right next steps.
In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy pinpointed this prayerful and practical process of spiritual perception. She wrote, "The calm, strong currents of true spirituality, the manifestations of which are health, purity, and self-immolation, must deepen human experience, until the beliefs of material existence are seen to be a bald imposition, and sin, disease, and death give everlasting place to the scientific demonstration of divine Spirit and to God's spiritual, perfect man" (p. 99).
Whether or not one's financial needs, or society's, turn around as immediately as the storm did when Jesus proved prayer's power, our prayers can at least begin to lessen the wail of the winds and turn back the threatening tides.
Step by step, individually and collectively, the heartfelt prayer always available to everyone can contribute to transforming today's crises into tomorrow's "calm, strong currents of true spirituality," with genuine progress as the inevitable result.