Pressure or prayer?

CAN prayer relieve pressure? The answer is ``Yes.'' Why? Because prayer enables us to draw on deep spiritual reserves of strength and wisdom that help us to accomplish things. Prayer brings us into harmony with God, with the very source of the qualities that free us. Pressure insists that there's no time to pray. But prayer enables us to see that there's no need to feel overwhelmed by such pressure. What builds up pressure? Perhaps fear of not being able to cope, hurry because there seems to be so little time, reaction to the pressure everyone around us seems to be contending with. Through prayer we can actually begin to feel that divine intelligence is always present and always available, that the infinite doesn't work according to human timetables, that nobody need accept a sense of pressure or communicate it.

A young man learned something of this last Christmas when he was feeling very pressured himself. He had much work to complete before the holiday, which he planned to spend with his family. Then quite suddenly he was taken ill, and it didn't look as if he would be able to do either of these things. So he telephoned a Christian Science practitioner and asked for treatment through prayer.

The practitioner pointed out to him that perhaps he had been accepting the pressure around him and then reacting to it. He was thinking of himself and everyone else as squeezed beyond the limit of their powers. But if he could begin to realize that all were, in truth, spiritual offspring of God, expressions of the infinite divine Mind, which is always equal to every demand, he would be able to accomplish what was needed.

His condition soon began to improve until he had fully recovered. He was able to do all that his business required of him and to enjoy his holiday to the full. And at the same time he learned a little more of the real significance of Christmas, a little more about the continuous appearing of the Christly power that brings healing and regeneration and comfort all the year round to everyone who responds to it. Christmas isn't meant to bring pressures of its own to add to the challenges we have already.

Christ Jesus promised: ``Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.''1

Does this mean that we'll never have any challenges to meet, any trials of our strength, any troubles to cope with? Hardly. But it does show us how to deal with these things with dominion through yielding in prayer to the Christ, to the divine healing, saving power.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes: ``The star that looked lovingly down on the manger of our Lord, lends its resplendent light to this hour: the light of Truth, to cheer, guide, and bless man as he reaches forth for the infant idea of divine perfection dawning upon human imperfection, -- that calms man's fears, bears his burdens, beckons him on to Truth and Love and the sweet immunity these bring from sin, sickness, and death.''2

We shouldn't, of course, simply set out our objectives and then use prayer in order to get what we think we want. This would be as though we were putting pressure on God. Prayer doesn't work that way. The purpose of prayer is to spiritualize, to purify, human thought rather than selfishly to gratify it. Sometimes the result may be that we modify our original objective instead of pursuing it more doggedly. Sometimes the answer may come in a way that's quite different from what happened before in similar circumstances.

Pressure closes human thought. Prayer opens it. Pressure drives human thought. Prayer leads it. Pressure drains human thought. Prayer inspires it. And the nature of human thought determines to a great extent the nature of human experience. Which one are we to choose -- pressure or prayer?

1Matthew 11:28-30. 2Miscellaneous Writings, p. 320.

You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2

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