MANY things in modern life seem to have power over us: our government, whether it is benign or not; our jobs, our families, our landlords, local officials. Sometimes this situation makes us feel powerless. The things we need can't be obtained, because someone somewhere won't cooperate or because some part of the system breaks down. Good seems far off, inaccessible.At times like this, it is crucial to make time to pray, because prayer opens our eyes to what is really true about our lives and our relationship to the one omnipotent God, good. And, as the Bible shows, this knowledge of God's actual presence in our lives makes an enormous difference. Joseph's life is an illustration of how prayer makes a difference. Sold into slavery in Egypt, then betrayed by his master's wife and cast into prison, Joseph certainly would have had reason to feel hopeless. Yet he persistently trusted in God's presence and power. In fact, when he was taken from prison to interpret a dream of Pharaoh's, Genesis records, his faith in God's power and goodness was so complete that he could say, "God shall give Pharaoh an answer of peace. And he was able to explain the sign ificance of the dream and so was freed from prison. Christ Jesus, as he faced enemies who were determined to trap him in his words, set an unparalleled example of trust in God. He showed how we can experience freedom and power even when we seem ensnared in hopelessness. For this reason, he never was afraid when circumstances seemed to be against him. The Master, who faced danger and ultimately crucifixion, was able persistently to overcome their challenges. His resurrection proved that man is spiritual and inseparable from God's healing and saving power. The Master wanted us also to be certain of God's power working in our lives. This knowledge of God opens our eyes to the spiritual basis of existence and the divine law from God that overrules any claims that man is powerless. Understanding our essential spiritual nature enables us to perceive the operation of divine law, of God, Mind, right in our midst. Here is an illustration. I was doing research in another country, and I needed access to the special collections of the national museum. I had a letter of introduction, but a museum official said this was not sufficient, and he would not tell me what more I needed. I asked if I could return after lunch to talk with him further and went away, intending to spend the time praying. As I prayed, it became clear to me that I had to trust in God, the one Mind, and to know that this Mind was governing its creation intelligently. In practical terms this meant that under Mind's wisdom and authority, I could not be deprived of what I needed. In my prayer, I took time to acknowledge that all of us, in reality, are the sons and daughters of God. And that included the not-very-friendly museum official! In truth, then, I knew that we were all spiritual, and all united by our common allegiance to the one God, one Mind. This knowledge helped me to return to the museum confidently. I found to my great joy that the official had decided to give me access to the files I needed. To me, this small experience illustrated a statement Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, makes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes, "There is divine authority for believing in the superiority of spiritual power over material resistance. There may be times when it will be hard for us to perceive God's love. But persistence in prayer will cut through everything from red tape to barbed wire. Divine Truth will set each of us free.