The mother turned quietly to her son and continued, ''I didn't say the right thing.'' Something had stopped her in the middle of an annoyed reaction to what her son had been doing. She suddenly thought of a more healing,m constructive thing to say, and knew that her initial reaction was not irrevocable. As a result, a hectic, friction-filled day was transformed into a happy and productive one. She and her son felt each other's cooperation.
Un-thought-out words seem very powerful sometimes. They fall heavily on our ears and hearts. And perhaps it isn't the words themselves that are most troubling but the impatience, anger, or pride that prompted them. We've all been either the victims or perpetrators of such words - words that we wished had never been uttered.
But those words are not cast in concrete. There is something we can do, both to correct a wrong response and to avert an outpouring of wrong response in the future. We can pray.
The Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, n1 contains a chapter entitled ''Prayer'' that can open up our sense of the naturalness of prayer, and of our native tendency to pray. ''Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds ,'' n2 the textbook tells us.
n1 The discover and founder of Christian science.
n2 Science and Health, Pg. 1.
Tthe mother had a strong desire to be a good mother. She truly desired to do the best thing. She desired to respond to her child with love and patience. And the boy loved his mother and desired to be a happy and loving son and to cooperate with other members of the family. These desires were a form of prayer.
''The habitual struggle to be always good is unceasing prayer,'' n3 Mrs. Eddy also writes. Although we know that we have deep desires to be good, there are lapses! It does seem a struggle to be always good. But there is no lapse in God's goodness, as our Way-shower, Christ Jesus, proved. And in the spiritual reality of God's creation, there is no lapse in man's goodness, because man is His likeness, as the Bible teaches. Our goodness as the perfect offspring of God has never lapsed or been forgotten, and this is practical truth.
n3 I bid., p.4.
In any situation, when we realize and declare that the nature of God's offspring, man (which we truly are), is to be good - to be wise, loving, and so forth - we are actually praying. We have the right to know that God-derived qualities of thought overrule their opposites. If we cherish the good that is God-given, we'll feel this good shaping our words and deeds. And the losses that would otherwise have held the ground - loss of patience, harmony, and progress - will be eliminated from our lives.
When Moses indicated that he was afraid that his inability with words made him awkward and a poor choice to be sent by God to free others, God told him, ''Go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.'' 4
n4 Exodus 4.12.
Our desire to express in words and deeds the best of our nature cannot be thwarted, because God supports these efforts. Our true selfhood is always motivated by good - not by pride, frustration, or guilt - and none of these has actual power to hold us back from a healing course.
Trusting in God, good, we will use every opportunity to prove that good reigns in us because we are the children of God. It is never too late or too difficult to demonstrate this. In proportion to our honest desire to be good, we can put that good into action, and merciful blessings will result.
We can share the Psalmist's heartfelt prayer ''Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.'' n5
n5 Psalms 19:14
DAILY BIBLE VERSE Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;. . . . rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer. . . . Be of the same mind one toward another. . . .If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men. Romans 12:10,12,1,18