Whether it’s just everyday things or larger world issues, worry can feel tormenting. Anyone – that would probably be all of us – who has been drawn into worrying about something might agree that it’s exhausting and never brings solutions. But worry can be confronted head-on and dissolved quickly through prayer that reveals the peace of God’s all-encompassing presence. In this calm, we can feel God’s reassurance that there are always answers to whatever problems we’re worried about.
A few years ago, my husband and I had an experience in which we were able to prove this. We were waiting at the airport to leave from overseas and return to the States for a few months. My husband got a call from his sister saying that their dad had just gone to the hospital. My thought began to bounce around with fretful questions. My sister-in-law was also fearful and very concerned.
My husband and I were both praying. I silenced my worry by knowing that it didn’t come from God and had no power to block the ever-available light of spiritual understanding. My prayer turned to the permanent, governing law of God that is always active no matter what the material condition, including this one. I felt a deep release from the pressing “what ifs” in the tangible peace of God’s control.
As we learned from the next phone call, the alarm had subsided and everyone had calmed down. My father-in-law was better and was able to go back home. I was grateful for that and also grateful that through prayer I had remained fearless in the middle of a disturbance. Worry had not taken control. Instead, my thought had been filled with God’s tender, ever-present care for all His creation, including family members, my husband, and myself.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded Christian Science and the Monitor, loved God and humanity. Her life was devoted to helping others understand the one and only God, to whom all good is possible, and whose power can conquer every conceivable problem. In her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” she wrote, “When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious – as Life eternally is – can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not” (p. 495).
Worry about sickness or a relationship or economic and other problems makes us feel that our or others’ troubles are too much, that it is too late, and that God can’t help us. But prayer that seeks to hold steadfastly without reservation to unchanging spiritual harmony, which is the Life that is God, and our only Life, doesn’t just keep worry at bay; it destroys it. With persistent trust in God, it becomes more natural to joyfully and confidently expect solutions to the things we are worried about.
I’ve found it helpful to pray with “the mind of Christ” that the Bible speaks of as belonging to all of us
(see I Cor. 2:16). In all that he said and did, Jesus perfectly expressed the Christ – the God-given identity each of us has as the spiritual image and likeness of God. He showed by example that praying with the “mind of Christ” overrules what Paul referred to as the “carnal mind” (see Rom. 8:7) and the worrisome fear and doubt that go along with it.
Praying with the “mind of Christ” is knowing that we have one Mind, God, who gives us thoughts of comfort and encouragement, whether we are worried about making a mortgage payment or concerned about the environment. As we allow the Christ to control thought, we feel the power of God as Truth and His presence as Love. Then worry loses its hold on us.
I can’t say that I never get caught up in worry, but I’m much more alert to not giving it space in my thought. Whether we feel engulfed in personal concerns about our own lives or the welfare of the world, prayer helps us see that worry can’t overrule our natural inclination to turn to God for everything and feel the certainty that God’s power does meet every human need.