Is the field of financial investments outside the realm of prayer? Not at all. In every legitimate area of human life we can turn to God for wisdom, insight, and foresight. God is the one true source of all intelligence. We experience His guidance when we pray patiently and wholeheartedly for direction.
Of course, we wouldn't, and really couldn't, ''use'' prayer in order to make an investment ''killing.'' Selfishness and greed do not make us responsive to God's guidance. But unselfish, humble hearts, honestly seeking inspiration from God, are always rewarded. As the Bible says, ''In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.'' n1
n1 Proverbs 3:6.
I recently proved the truth of this statement. For about six months I examined what appeared to be a very attractive investment. My initial response to the company holding the investment was not particularly positive. But as the information was presented, I became satisfied that this was an excellent opportunity.
Finally the week came when I felt it was right to begin the transaction, and steps in that direction were taken. In just a few days, the funds - a sizable amount for me - would be committed.
But something didn't feel right; I could not put my finger on it. I turned to God in prayer, realizing that He is divine Mind, the infinite source of intelligence, and that nothing can be hidden from Him. I acknowledged that God loved me and would show me the right way. I knew that as His creation I expressed patience, not haste, wisdom not denseness. I resolved to obey His direction.
This last item presented a particular challenge, since I had eight or ten very logical reasons for proceeding with the investment, not to mention my six months of observation and examination.
The day after I had prayed in this manner it seemed best not to go through with the investment. I could not say why in business terms; but in spiritual terms, I felt God's love saying ''No.''
As a Christian Scientist I am learning to recognize genuine spiritual intuitions, and then obey them. Our Master, Christ Jesus, laid great stress on not just hearing God's word, but doing it. (See, for example, Matthew 7:24-27.) It wouldn't work for me to abandon this divine ''nudge,'' just because it didn't coincide with my plans.
You can imagine how awed I was to pick up the paper the next morning and read this headline: ''COMPANY SHUTS DOORS.'' The investment firm, with some twenty statewide offices, had been mismanaging its funds and misrepresenting itself to investors. Some ten years of dishonesty had been exposed within twenty-four hours of my proposed investment. I humbly thanked God for His guidance and protection.
When we persistently and thoroughly acknowledge God as our source of intelligence, and then prayerfully obey His leadings, we can invest wisely. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes of God: ''He has mercy upon us, and guides every event of our careers. He is near to them who adore Him.'' n2
n2 Unity of Good, pp. 3-4.
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. O my God, I trust in thee. . . . Shew me thy ways, O Lord; teach me thy paths. Lead me in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the god of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day. . . . Good and upright is the Lord. . . . The meek will he guide in judgment: and the meek will he teach his way. . . . What man is he that feareth the Lord? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. Psalms 25:1, 2, 4, 5, 8, 9, 12