IT is often the most effective utterance we can make! After all, haven't most of us known the frustration of trying to unload some of our wisdom on a loved one struggling with a personal problem, only to be rebuffed? No one need feel helpless in such a case. Perhaps that rebuff can serve as a nudge to something more ef- fective we can do in support of this special one.
A family member's silent prayer can help lift everyone from the depths to joy and light. It can remove the fretfulness that worried advice often brings and replace it with the vision of a loving God caring for His entire family.
Most of us are well acquainted with the timeless Biblical verses known as the Lord's Prayer. Just before giving the words in these verses, Jesus lays out a few ground rules for prayer. He says, ``When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.'' 1
Often, the most schooled parental advice deflects itself from bringing the best results because it is so strongly tied to the emotion of a parent-child relationship. This emotion can garble the message. Silent prayer, on the other hand, puts us into calm communion with God. What God ``seeth in secret'' is the universal family of man inseparable from Him, the divine Parent. And what He is always communicating to His creation is harmony. There is no garble here. Our receptivity to infinite Spirit's communication of good to its creation displaces the emotional back-and-forth of people tugging at one another.
Perhaps we would all turn more quickly to silent prayer in support of a loved one if we trusted our personal knowledge less and God a lot more. One thing we can be sure of about this loving God: He does know all there is to know about His creation. His knowledge extends to every corner of being; it includes eternity. Hand in hand with this all-knowing is the all-doing aspect of God. He is all-powerful and imparts His goodness lovingly and effectively without fail.
To feel the pressure of believing we have to hammer advice home to someone can be so tiring! Realizing that God's love will convey the needed message can lift the load.
Without this load, it is easier to turn wholeheartedly to God for a better understanding of the perfect child that He ``seeth in secret'' always. This is silent prayer, and through it we will learn what we can do or say to be supportive.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, turned in just this way to God many, many times in prayer. In one of her books she writes, ``Silent prayer is a desire, fervent, importunate: here metaphysics is seen to rise above physics, and rest all faith in Spirit, and remove all evidence of any other power than Mind; whereby we learn the great fact that there is no omnipotence, unless omnipotence is the All-power.'' 2
As we align our thought with the divine Mind through silent prayer, we can better understand the ways in which God is working. Mrs. Eddy says in another place, ``Of this we may be sure: that thoughts winged with peace and love breathe a silent benediction over all the earth, cooperate with the divine power, and brood unconsciously o'er the work of His hand.'' 3
And the ``open reward'' that Jesus refers to? Silent prayer does bear fruit. As we pray--not to have someone else's attitudes changed necessarily--but to understand more clearly the true God and the true man in God's image, we can expect improvement. Attitudes can change, the right steps be taken. Intransigence or indifference can begin to dissolve. Who knows? Maybe part of the intransigence that dissolves will be our own!
1 Matthew 6:6. 2 The People's Idea of God, p. 9. 3 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 152. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalms 46:10