Prayer when you're in a bind

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

In the roaring 1980s I was a salesman for an elite Wall Street firm. Every day was pressure-filled, especially for someone new like me.

One day, I bought a big block of securities from my biggest account. A little later, the company called again with more to sell (which would hurt my firm's position). After informing the trading desk, I got a screaming call from the head trader, one of the most powerful men in the firm, informing me that not only would we not be buying the next group of securities, but that he might cancel the first trade. I was in a jam.

What did I do? I prayed. Right there, in the middle of this crisis, I turned to God. My prayer was not particularly eloquent. It was more along the lines of, "Dear God, I know I can't do anything on my own, and I know You are always loving me. You are always providing me with all the intelligence, care, and poise I need. Please show me how Your omnipotent power governs this situation, and every situation."

When we pray, it's not the expertly crafted words we use that are important; it's the heartfelt longing to hear God's direction, and the willingness to follow His leading. Often this requires us to give up our own personal views of what needs to be done, or our stubborn ability to push things through ourselves. In this case, I believe the quickness with which I turned to God, knowing that His will was the overriding authority, contributed greatly to the outcome.

I was also confident of the immediacy of God's care. There is no law that can delay any corrective action required, whether the need is for physical healing of the body, or for removal from danger, a difficult academic situation, or a tense business crisis. Since God is all powerful, His law is ever active and not subject to time constraints.

When Jesus told us, "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret" (Matt. 6:6), he was not referring to a small room. He was stressing the importance of mentally closing ourselves off from the many distractions that may prevent us from hearing God's direction.

Where I was sitting at the time of this incident there were nothing but distractions. There were co-workers in loud conversation four feet on either side of me, squawking intercoms on my desk, and a computer screen that was constantly updating market prices and news. Yet amid this controlled chaos, nothing could prevent me from mentally communing with God, from being strongly attuned to my Father-Mother.

One of the most difficult distractions to overcome is often not noise and confusion, but fear. This particular incident could very well have cost me my standing in the firm, my biggest customer, or even my job. When we're afraid, it's important to claim consciously that God is always in control, and that we cannot be in situations beyond His reach.

Another distraction may be that we're not worthy of His care because of something we did or said, or an event that happened to us, or just because of some aspect of our identity, such as race, gender, nationality. But each of us is the son or daughter of God, and no event or circumstance can ever change that spiritual relationship.

The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote, "The relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in Science; and Science knows no lapse from nor return to harmony, but holds the divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pgs. 470-471).

Although the temptation to "do something" quickly was great, I sat quietly until I was at peace. It became very clear to me that God governed every situation, including this one. With prayer-inspired confidence, I called my client's chief investment officer and explained the situation. Not only did he drop the second list of securities to sell, he apologized to me that his traders had sent it out, and thanked me for my work.

Prayer brings help to our lives, and we can confidently turn to God no matter where we are.

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