Taking the Time to Pray
RECENTLY, everything I was doing became pointless and uninspired. I had been praying spasmodically with the hope of getting out of the doldrums, but these prayers were rushed and beset with distractions. We may not at first realize when we've let the quiet, listening times of prayer slip away. But suddenly we catch ourselves saying, ``I just don't have time right now to sit still and think,'' and the need for a special, prayerful time is pushed aside by the clamor and demands of material living.
Certainly Christ Jesus had unparalleled demands on his time, yet he would go off by himself to pray and be alone with God. In the first chapter of Mark, for instance, we're told that the Master healed many people of diseases and ``cast out many devils.'' The account continues, ``And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.''
The Master's example points to the fact that we must look to God for purpose, wholeness, and vitality in our lives. As Mary Baker Eddy1 writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``Jesus taught but one God, one Spirit, who makes man in the image and likeness of Himself, -- of Spirit, not of matter. Man reflects infinite Truth, Life, and Love.''2
These last three words are some of the Biblically based terms for God brought out in Christian Science. Our lives take on higher meaning and added dimension only as we turn to Him and see something of our spiritual selfhood as the very expression of God's nature. During such prayerful, receptive moments we are able to rise above a mundane, drab sense of existence and find something higher and holier. We glimpse spiritual reality with its beauty and harmony, and this lights up our world.
This is not, however, an escape from reality. Through prayer we're able to discern life in its truest sense and to recognize God as the unending source of all good. As Science and Health states, ``It is Love which paints the petal with myriad hues, glances in the warm sunbeam, arches the cloud with the bow of beauty, blazons the night with starry gems, and covers earth with loveliness.''3
One morning during this particular uninspired time in my life, it became clear that I needed to stop everything -- to be still. I realized that joy and inspiration are spiritual qualities because God, Spirit, is their true source. That's what makes praying -- communion with God -- so important. I sat down alone and humbly listened in prayer. I felt God's presence and His tender love. After some continued prayer, I went about my day, and the days to come, inspired and happy.
Learning more about God, divine Love, and man as His perfect child -- learning more about spiritual reality -- not only adds depth and clarity to our lives; it can also redeem and heal. As we are obedient to what Jesus taught and lived, the light of the healing Christ touches every aspect of our experience. But we must take the time to listen and pray. We must be consecrated enough to interrupt our round of activities, and be humble enough to reach out to something beyond ourselves.
We read in Psalms, ``Be still, and know that I am God:...I will be exalted in the earth.''4 How beautiful and strengthening are these solitary times when we set everything else aside -- these quiet, prayer-filled moments when we humbly turn to our Father-Mother. The very fabric of our lives depends on such prayers.
1The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2Science and Health, p. 94. 3Ibid., p. 247. 4Psalms 46:10.