I WAS attending a Christian Science Sunday School. Each Sunday the teacher would have us memorize different verses from the Bible. But she wanted us to do more than just know the right words. She wanted us to understand what they meant and to make what they said practical in our lives. At times, I wasn't sure if I would really remember what I was learning if I was afraid or hurt. Time and time again, though, I found that not only could I remember what I had read in the Bible, but the verses were comforting, guiding, and healing--just as my teacher had assured us they would be!
When I was offered drugs at school, for example, I was able to refuse them because I remembered the First Commandment from Exodus: ``Thou shalt have no other gods before me'' (20:3). I understood this to mean that we shouldn't worship or serve anyone or anything except God. I didn't just refuse the drugs because I knew they were bad for me--almost everyone knows that. I refused them because I had learned through the Bible that choosing to do and be good makes us feel closer to God, who is good. I knew that I wanted to please God, to grow closer to Him, because that's what would really make me happy, peaceful, and strong. In fact, be-cause God made me pure like Him, it was natural for me to want to know Him better and to obey His guidance.
Because I didn't want anything in my life to be more important to me than God, I could see that I didn't want to take drugs. And we can reject anything else that would try to dominate us, like stealing, lying, cheating, envying, through prayer that helps us to understand what God is and what He wants us--His very own children (and that includes our parents)--to do.
The Bible is available to help anyone who is willing to turn to it and be guided. And the deeper and more consistently we study it, the easier it is to follow its teachings. We need inspiration to understand the Bible, the inspiration that comes from prayer. Prayer leads us away from evil and guides us to God. But praying isn't something that only grown-ups or specially educated people can do. Christ Jesus was only twelve when he first proved that his inspired understanding of the Word of the Bible could bless himself and others. And prayer isn't a ritual or formality. God doesn't care if we're riding a bicycle, taking out the trash, or quietly listening for His guidance in a field of wild daisies.
Our prayer leads us to understand God and His creation better. It inspires us to look deeper into the teachings in the Bible for help. When we read the Bible with all our heart, and really try to understand its teachings, we find that its message makes a lot of sense. It's natural, then, that the distinction between right and wrong becomes clearer and our ability to do right is strengthened.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, searched for a deeper, clearer understanding of the Bible--and she found it in the teachings of Christ Jesus. She explains the importance of the Bible this way in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``As adherents of Truth, we take the inspired Word of the Bible as our sufficient guide to eternal Life'' (p. 497).
The inspired Word of the Bible is the Word that helps us in times of need--just as the verses I memorized have helped me so many times when I was in trouble or tempted to do something wrong. Turning to the Bible's inspired Word guides and heals.