Where can we go if we feel troubled or need inspiration, renewal, or peace? We can go in prayer to God.
At one point Christ Jesus, who gave his followers the Lord's Prayer, went up a mountain to pray (see Matt. 5:1). When his disciples came to him, Jesus shared many inspired lessons in a sermon that has been called his Sermon on the Mount. One of those messages, a beatitude, says, "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled" (Matt. 5:6). This is a wonderful promise! When we turn to God, we will receive an answer.
What if it is not possible to be alone in prayer with God, as Jesus was on the mountain? That's O.K. We can listen to God no matter what our surroundings, whether we are alone or with other people. No matter what, God, our Father and Mother, is ever present with us. The desire to listen to Him is prayer. The desire to be good is prayer. The acknowledgment that God continuously communicates to us as His sons and daughters is prayer. Being on the mountain is fundamentally being quiet enough to listen only to God. And this is how Jesus lived every day.
A book that has sold millions of copies, "Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures," speaks of these quiet moments of prayer. Here its author, Mary Baker Eddy, quoted Jesus: "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and, when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." Then she elaborated: "The closet typifies the sanctuary of Spirit, the door of which shuts out sinful sense but lets in Truth, Life, and Love" (Pgs. 14-15). This offers insight not only into the way Jesus prayed but also into the way we, too, can pray.
In the closet, on the mountain, we can shut out the thoughts that God never sends: fear, doubt, human will, anxiety, the burden of planning our lives without God's help. At the same time, we can let in the thoughts He does send: humility, joy, obedience, hope, goodness. We can trust that anything that is not good is not from God. For God is Love and has only good in store for us.
When you listen for God, you might acknowledge that He is your eternal Parent, guiding and caring for each of us. You can feel at peace by knowing that God is in control of your life. You can expect to feel renewal by knowing that God is Life itself, which means His sons and daughters find their energy, joy, and endurance in Him.
Anywhere you are, you can be on a mountaintop, with the opportunity to quietly turn to God. Perhaps you find yourself in a crowded office or on a busy street, at home with the demands of small children or alone in a beautiful meadow. Because God is ever present, they are all places in which to hear Him. Places in which to pray.
One day I felt troubled about a decision my daughter had made to change colleges and move to another area. There is a place on the waterfront where I love to read; it overlooks the Olympic mountain range. All around, there are lovely boats of all kinds. And in this place I found myself suddenly reaching out to God in prayer for an answer to my concern for my daughter. I asked Him what I needed to learn.
Looking out at the marina, I noticed a man in a small motorboat, towing a small sailboat with two young boys in it. He was leading the boys safely around all the other boats and out into the sound, where they could practice sailing. In seeing this, I recognized my answer! I had felt as if I still needed to be leading my daughter, instead of trusting that God, her true Father and Mother, was guiding her. Immediately I felt so very much at peace; all my willfulness for her life, my need to outline her activities, and my worry left me. I felt reassured of God's love for my daughter.
Inspiration, renewal, and peace all have their source in God. When we need to feel them more, we only need to realize we are with God, on the mountaintop, right now!
Come ye, and let us go
up to the mountain of
the Lord, to the house
of the God of Jacob.