Is it sometimes hard to figure out your priorities for the day? Or are there times when you'd rather do just about anything so you could avoid facing the demands ahead?
Most people have had times like that, and there are many ways of dealing with those feelings. One possible way is prayer – taking some time each morning to think about life in spiritual terms and to look to God for direction.
While God doesn't know the details of our "to do" lists, prayer enables us to shift our priorities in a more spiritual direction. From looking at the day as a certain number of hours in which there are lots of demands, we can mentally step out of the pressure and see the same day as an opportunity to learn more about how God's goodness can – and will – strengthen and guide us.
Looking at our days from this angle erases the anxieties about yesterday and takes away the fears of tomorrow. This more spiritual approach sharpens our focus and makes us more conscious of the good in our lives. It develops a willingness to trust God and an ability to rely less on just struggling through events under our own steam.
Mary Baker Eddy, whose discovery of Christian Science has enabled thousands of people to bring healing and more focus to their lives, wrote in response to the question "What am I?": "I am able to impart truth, health, and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 165).
That sounds like a very noble aspiration – and it is. But it's also something everyone can do, whether while shopping for groceries, picking up the kids after school, or at home reading a newspaper like this one.
Each morning in our prayers, we can ask to feel God's nearness and support as a loving Father, guiding His child. Letting our day be shaped by Him reveals new opportunities to express love, intelligence, goodness, and joy in whatever He gives us to do.
The ability to focus on the "deep things of God" (I Cor. 2:10) comes directly from Him to us as His loved idea. And we can bring this spiritual desire to bear in every situation. So if there's an unpleasant task on your agenda, it's possible to see yourself – and all involved – as inseparable from divine Love and to bring a loving thought to what you're doing.
God also sends us spiritual intuitions about decisionmaking. Listening for these intuitions on a regular basis relieves pressure – or makes us better able to deal with it. And as a result, sometimes new opportunities come our way. For example, a woman felt led to set aside time each day to develop a specific talent. Shortly thereafter, she had three new opportunities to impart aspects of this talent to others in both an individual and a group setting. An added bonus was that each of these projects carried with it some unexpected income.
Making a commitment to think of life in more spiritual terms reveals new inspiration and clearer direction for every day. If you're tempted to slip into old patterns of thought and behavior, you can take the time to affirm that God has already given you focus, and that is to be, to the best of your ability, the full idea God created you to be. You may still have reminder lists of things to accomplish, but by aligning your thought with God's purpose, these things will get done without pressure or discouragement.
A productive, joyful day is God's gift to each of us. And it includes as "part of the package" the opportunity to "impart truth, health, and happiness," and to feel these qualities ourselves. What more meaningful focus do we need?
It is God that girdeth me with strength,
and maketh my way perfect....
thy right hand hath holden me up,
and thy gentleness hath made me great. Psalms 18:32, 35