RECENTLY, accidents aboard naval vessels have cost many lives. I am in the Navy, so each incident has seemed particularly close to home. Over the years, however, I've found it true that ``God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.''1 Because I have wanted to do something to help those crews and their families, I've turned in prayer to God. Prayer brings comfort. Families, shipmates, and a nation mourning Navy casualties are the beneficiaries of the Christlike love prayer calls on. And this comfort is made manifest in greater human kindness, thoughtful provision for the future, and the priceless understanding that God's love lifts the shadow of death.
Our prayer can go further, however. As we discern more clearly that God, divine Mind, gives wisdom where it is most needed, we pray more alertly. Then, if safety-related changes are needed, Christ uncovers, through prayer, whatever needs adjustment. The ability to act wisely to prevent or contain calamity is God-given, and available to all who seek it. The story of Noah in the Bible reminds us of this. At God's direction he built a large ship, or ark, to ensure the safety of his family and the animals entrusted to him. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gives deep, spiritual symbolism to the ark. She describes it as ``safety; the idea, or reflection, of Truth, proved to be as immortal as its Principle; the understanding of Spirit, destroying belief in matter.''2
Noah listened to God and received clear directives from Him for intelligent action to take until the flood subsided. This wise obedience is needed today. A loved hymn says: Take my hands, and let them move At the impulse of Thy love. Take my every thought, to use In the way that Thou shalt choose.3
But, most important, our righteous prayer brings safety. Christ Jesus stilled the storm, healed the sick, and raised the dead, so demonstrating that God is sustaining and maintaining His creation, man. Christian Science teaches that man is the immortal, pure idea, or reflection, of God. This comforting fact will be better proved in safety at sea as we consistently apply it through prayer.
I learned this during a training exercise. I regularly studied the Bible and Science and Health and made a particular effort to pray each day. The exercise included training during hurricane conditions. One day a helicopter lifting a large vehicle almost went down. The unmanned vehicle had to be dumped into the ocean, but no one was hurt. The commanding officer later expressed his appreciation to me for my poise and positive support after the incident. He said, ``Don't think I don't know what you're doing -- I do!'' I thought of the hours spent in prayer and study of Christian Science and how safe we had been under challenging conditions.
Safety can be established as prayer motivates human action. Safety is a divine mandate. Human systems improve to the degree that this is understood and applied in individual Christly living. We can prove, by modest beginnings, that God is a law-enforcing power, maintaining safety on land, air, and sea. 1Psalms 46:1. 2Science and Health, p. 581. 3Christian Science Hymnal, No. 324. You can find more articles about spiritual healing in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.