ISN'T it sometimes true when we come across a problem we can't solve -- when we are really ``up against it'' and have pulled out all the stops without results -- that we are then willing to give prayer a chance? But suppose we have prayed long and earnestly for something, and our prayers have not been answered in the way we expected? Does this mean that prayer is futile? By no means. What are we doing when we pray? Aren't we turning to and acknowledging a power and intelligence infinitely above our own -- in fact, the power that is divine Love, the only real power? Perhaps we should ask ourselves just what God is, and what His will for His children is.
God is ever-present, tender, all-powerful Love, supreme and infinite intelligence, perfect Mind. The Bible assures us, ``The Lord's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his earheavy, that it cannot hear.''1
Our prayers need to be humble offerings, not demands that our Father-Mother God work things out our way. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes: ``The `divine ear' is not an auditory nerve. It is the all-hearing and all-knowing Mind, to whom each need of man is always known and by whom it will be supplied.''2
At one time I yearned for my life to take a particular course, and so I prayed. Oh, how I prayed! It seemed to me then that my every hope of future happiness and fulfillment rested on this prayer being answered a certain way. Over the years I had learned to trust God with my life and confidently turned to Him when there were problems to be solved or there was sickness to be healed. He had never failed me before, so why would He now? Through all of this experience I was very much aware of the Father's tender love. I felt His closeness and supporting care. Yet things were not working out the way I thought they would.
It was some time later when I could plainly see that my prayers had indeed been answered, although the answer was not what I had expected. How deeply grateful I felt for this evidence of divine protection! It had become obvious that had my plan been carried out, this would have had quite disastrous results, not only on my own life but on the lives of those dear to me. Of course my prayer had been answered.
God, our divine Father-Mother, governs each of His offspring wisely, lovingly. Our true selfhood is His very expression, His spiritual likeness, inseparable from His care. Our need is to open our thought to this reality and humbly yield in prayer to His will. Then our lives will unfold in a way that brings true joy and fulfillment.
Sometimes stubbornness would impede our progress in the right direction. But our willingness to pray each step of the way -- to listen for, and obey, divinedirection -- ensures the right outcomefor all concerned. One Biblical promise reads, ``The Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.''3
It isn't always easy to relinquish our most cherished plans, but we can be sure that God's love will never fail us if we turn to Him. And if our prayer is answered in a way we don't expect, we need never fear we will lose anything we really need.
It is vital to start each day, and each new contemplated step, with prayer, acknowledging God as the supreme and only power, and being willing to lay our plans at His feet, yielding personal will to the divine. Humbly allowing God todirect us can never lead to frustrationand unhappiness. On the contrary, true prayer opens the door to ever-unfolding good. If the results are not immediate, we may need patience, but divine wisdom never errs. The outcome will be blessing for all concerned.
1Isaiah 59:1. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 7. 3Psalms 84:11. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever...I called upon the Lord in distress: the Lord answered me, and set me in a large place. Psalms 118:1,5