"Why are you in this class?" the fishing instructor, a retired banker, finally asked me. I explained that my son, who didn't meet the minimum age requirement for this class, wanted with all his heart to learn to fish. I was learning in order to teach him. We chatted about it, and then, eyes twinkling with kindness, he set a date for my son to come to the pond for a private lesson. My little son was soon well instructed and caught his first fish. The lesson gratis! Our need was met. That was long ago, and I still find opportunities to tell of that man's goodness.
Folks around the world look for ways to have their needs met. They inquire after the best education; long for productive employment; search for adequate housing, dependable transportation, reliable health care; and hope for safety and good health for their children.
Well, "good luck," some might say, or "knock on wood," unsure that what they need will always come their way or, perhaps accepting the widely held belief that everyone has a measure of vulnerability for accidents or bad luck.
Isn't there something much more reliable and powerful than chance presiding at the very core of our existence? An ever-present goodness, an infinite All, an eternal Principle, an unfailing Love, a supreme Truth the one God we can call on anytime, and see dependable results? To me, the fishing instructor's kindness was more than just good fortune. It was the answer we needed, and he was part of God's goodness that is shown to us in so many ways.
There is something much more reliable and powerful that governs our lives than chance. The Bible tells us how to find it. "Knock," promised Christ Jesus, "and the door will be opened for you. The one who asks will always receive; the one who is searching will always find, and the door is opened to the man who knocks" (Matt. 7:7, 8).
This knocking is prayer, which connects our hearts and minds to God and yearns for what is good for what is rightfully ours as His children. And how does God send us what we need? It's natural. It all comes from God expressing Himself through His creation. This includes each one of us, along with the many ways we help each other, such as the way the fishing instructor helped my family.
Could Jesus prove that prayer is effective? He surely did. He prayed, calling on the one true God to respond effectively to earnest requests. The results? Extraordinary examples of storms calmed, food provided for thousands of hungry people, sickness, injury, and disease healed, safety and comfort brought to people in distress, and the dead raised.
Can we prove the power of prayer today? We all can, and countless do. A 19th-century middle-aged woman from New England rose from grave illness, healed immediately after reading from her Bible. She lived in good health for almost another half-century, during which time she prayed and healed as Jesus taught people to do, and she founded the Church of Christ, Scientist, based on the understanding that God, divine Love, supplies every need. She was Mary Baker Eddy, who wrote: "Are we benefited by praying? Yes, the desire which goes forth hungering after righteousness is blessed of our Father, and it does not return unto us void" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 2).
Evidence is current. For example, journalist and broadcaster Larry King interviewed hundreds of notable people about their prayers and compiled the results in his book "Powerful Prayers." Those he interviewed spoke of the effective power of prayer in their daily lives, including healing of disease, illness, and substance addiction; guidance for problem-solving; emergency life-saving; deterring thoughts about suicide. There are also published accounts of healing available in Christian Science Reading Rooms worldwide.
This is real. No matter who you are, God promises, through the Psalmist, "He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him ..." (Ps. 91:15).
Go ahead. Knock on His door. He's waiting.