WE'VE all been through times when either our personal lives or national and international conditions seemed to be undergoing great changes. Perhaps a loved one passes away. Economic conditions change and our job is threatened. National leadership changes, and we fear -- or look forward to -- changes in policies. Events like these can leave us feeling unsure about what to rely on. I had such a time in my own life when many changes left me reeling. Everyone around me was uncertain because of large changes where I was newly employed. I felt particularly vulnerable because I was new.
Prayer had helped me to find the answers I needed so often that it was natural for me to pray in this situation, too. I knew from my study of Christian Science that God is good and gives only good to His children, but I still felt afraid. A friend pointed out to me that whenever there is change, taking a spiritual perspective is vital. He said that I could expect good, not evil, and that because God is Mind, I would be able to see this divine intelligence at work. As it turned out, the changes at work were positive in the long run. But I have often thought back to what I learned from that experience: that God is the giver of good to His children. And these children -- you and me in our real nature -- are completely spiritual, totally inseparable from Him.
Conditions in our lives or in the world may strongly argue that evil, not good, is dominant, that it is hopeless to struggle against evil. Yet through prayer we can challenge this aggressive falsehood and actually see change come about.
An understanding of our spiritual identity shows us who we really are. If you think about what makes you -- or your friends -- who you really are, you may find yourself thinking in terms of qualities such as intelligence, joy, love. When you do, you are looking beyond the obvious to spiritual reality that hints at the true, enduring nature of man. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, observed, ``We must look deep into realism instead of accepting only the outward sense of things.''1
Christ Jesus was a realist of this sort. He was born at a time of turmoil, when his people were looking for a savior, a messiah that would free them from oppression. Yet he saw that what was needed was less a political liberation than a spiritual one. He faced many challenges to his life -- even the threat of death when he was only an infant. Ultimately he was crucified. Yet through his understanding of God, he was able to overcome death itself.
Always conscious of God's presence -- and of his need for God -- he succinctly summarized his relationship to God in these words: ``I and my Father are one.''2
This statement is a key to understanding all his teachings. And these teachings continue to change the world. They transform our own lives as we strive for genuine spirituality. Through prayer we learn to think of ourselves as spiritual, not material beings, and to trust in God's direction.
At first, it may seem pointless to pray -- especially about national and international events. Yet through small steps and large we begin to see evidence of the effectiveness of prayer in our own lives. As this occurs, we are not just helping ourselves. We are helping our families, our neighbors, and our world.
1Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 129. 2John 10:30.