HAVE you ever felt troubled, confused, perhaps even depressed, about some situation and been at a loss to know what to do about it? We all have at times. But there is something we can do when we're at our wits' end. We can, as many people have learned to do, follow Christ Jesus' example and turn to God for answers.
Why not ask God? It sounds almost too simple, doesn't it? Yet in the Bible, James assures us: ``If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering.''1 And elsewhere he explains: ``The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.''2
This kind of wisdom isn't either learned or mystical. The ``wisdom that is from above'' is a spiritually based intuition that can show us what's best to do in any situation. It's wisdom that comes from the same source -- God -- as the ``understanding heart''3 that Solomon, who became proverbial for his wisdom and discernment, asked God for.
One of the symbols the Bible uses to convey the power and presence of God is light. This light of wisdom and love is available to anyone who asks God for it in prayer.
Turning to God is quite a different concept from petitioning a manlike being to listen and respond to us. God's light -- His guiding love -- is always there. He's always giving His beloved children -- and that's us -- everything they need. And when we ask Him for help, it's like drawing back shades to let His light come in and sweep away the mental darkness -- whether it takes the form of depression, danger, deprivation, or disease -- that is troubling us.
When we do this -- when we bring more of God's light to our lives -- we make this light more available to the people around us too. When our lives are filled with light from God, we just have to reflect that light to others.
Once a young airman going on a combat mission was talking to a friend about prayer. He protested that he didn't want to come back himself if he couldn't bring his crew back with him. The friend's comment was ``Oh, I don't think of prayer like that. If one person lets in more light, everybody around him sees better.'' His friend could see that it wasn't selfish to pray -- to ask God for safety -- since prayer blesses those around us, too.
As a metaphor, one might liken God to the sun and man to a ray of light emanating from God. Man, then, doesn't generate his own light but reflects it from his creator, God. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, urges: ``...in speechless prayer, ask God to enable you to reflect God, to become His own image and likeness, even the calm, clear, radiant reflection of Christ's glory, healing the sick, bringing the sinner to repentance, and raising the spiritually dead in trespasses and sins to life in God.''4
Asking God for light in this way, not just in moments of special darkness but habitually, is a very practical and satisfying kind of prayer. And the more people use it, the more light is brought to bear on human affairs for the benefit of everyone concerned.
1James 1:5, 6. 2James 3:17. 3See I Kings 3:5-12. 4The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 150.
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