Always With God

ONE aspect of these times is mobility--people leaving their native lands for countries where they hope to gain more freedom or opportunities. Others are leaving the towns where they and their families grew up for distant cities within their own countries. While this type of migration has gone on since human society began, airplanes and other modern modes of transportation have made it possible on an unprecedented scale.In the midst of all this moving about, it's easy to feel a bit disoriented or lonely. The customs or habits of our new neighbors may be radically different from what we are used to. Making friends and getting a job present their own difficulties. One of the things that will help us with such changes is prayer that affirms our relationship to God. Particularly in the Old Testament, the Bible shows us over and over again how people who left their native lands were able to feel close to God and to obtain His help. We read in Genesis that Jacob, for instance, had to flee for his life after cheating his brother, Esau. His time with relatives in a distant land was anything but easy. Yet as he learned to turn to God in prayer and to try to live up t o the moral and spiritual demands God was making on him, he achieved prosperity and gained a family of his own. He was later able to return and reestablish peace with his brother. The Bible offers many examples like this. The common denominator, however, is the basic teaching that God is infinite Love and that He loves man, whom He created in His likeness. Since God is infinite, He must be omnipresent. This means in practical terms that there is no place we can go where God is absent or unable to hear our prayers. The best example of a life lived in conscious unity with God is that of Christ Jesus. He traveled throughout the towns of Galilee, preaching the Gospel, and there were times when people were unwilling to hear his message. Yet his certainty of his relationship to God always guided him. As he told one unfriendly group, "He that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him. This last point is important. Really to feel God's presence and His direction, we need to be leading lives that are in accord with divine law. The Ten Commandments, found in Exodus, are a wonderful summary of this law, and Jesus' discussion of divine law in the Sermon on the Mount, recorded in Matthew's Gospel, does much to increase our ability to obey this law. So when we go to a new place--or even if we stay in the same place--we can pray to know that God is ever with us; to perceive His guidance; to live in accord with His purpose for us. We can affirm that we are actually God's spiritual offspring and thus naturally inclined toward good, not toward evil. Since God is Mind, as His ideas we express intelligence and wisdom. Through prayer, we can make right choices that will help us and others. Prayer helps us to follow Jesus' requirement that we always do the things that please God. It isn't, then, a way of influencing God and getting Him to do our will. Rather, we are using prayer to open our own eyes so we can see what God's will for us is. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has a whole chapter on prayer in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In it she says: "Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it. Goodness attains the demonstration of Truth. In our efforts to do and to be good, we may face challenges and temptations--especially in a new country or town where we may miss familiar customs and attitudes. Yet if we use the Bible--and especially Christ Jesus' teachings--as our guide, we will find our way safely in God's care.

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