`I DON'T have time to be sick,'' I protested, when I started feeling symptoms of the same throat problem that was keeping my husband in bed. ``I've got too much to do.'' Sound familiar? Sometimes the agenda of commitments seems unending. Such stress can threaten to take away our joy, patience, and even health. But prayer can enable us to find freedom from stress by yielding to what we might describe as God's pace.
The Bible states, ``Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.''1 In other words, prayer that acknowledges God as the center upon which all things depend, brings peace to the human consciousness.
When we pray, we are apt to ask God to help us accomplish all the things we have to do. But for our prayers to start with God they really need to ask Him what His purpose is and how we can fulfill that purpose. From a spiritual standpoint, man exists to express God. When we accept this purpose, every detail of our daily affairs can be an opportunity to express spiritual qualities.
It's not enough, then, just to check activities off a list. We will bring far more to worthwhile projects if our goal is to glorify God and to bless His children. We accomplish this goal when we work with love, patience, joy, intelligence, and peace. Such prayer lifts us out of a material grind where there is never enough time, rest, peace, or quiet.
Through prayer we gain a clearer sense of God as the all-knowing Mind who is ever-present Love. Mary Baker Eddy states in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``The divine Mind that made man maintains His own image and likeness. The human mind is opposed to God and must be put off, as St. Paul declares. All that really exists is the divine Mind and its idea, and in this Mind the entire being is found harmonious and eternal. The straight and narrow way is to see and acknowledge this fact, yield to this power, and follow the leadings of truth.''2
The belief to be put off is the limited sense of things that argues, ``Never enough!'' As we begin to perceive God's infinite love for us, we find that our perspective changes. We become more willing to trust God, to seek His guidance as we plan our day. In fact, as our understanding of God's guidance deepens, we may well find ourselves able to do far more that is worthwhile with no sense of burden at all because we are putting off the limitations of human thought.
Prayerfully yielding to God's pace also brings freedom from illness that seems to be caused by stress. I saw evidence of this the day I was feeling so pressured and ill. When I finally realized that what needed healing first of all was the restrictive -- and false -- feeling that I bore all the responsibility, I stopped and found a quiet place to pray. I remembered Christ Jesus' words ``I can of mine own self do nothing''3 and I prayed humbly to understand that God is forever present and that He is in control. I prayed until I felt genuinely at peace. The pain in my throat quickly receded. I was able to resume my normal activities and fulfill all my commitments. And my husband was soon well too!
Each of us has his or her own challenges to face. But no matter what course our lives take, we will find that as we give up the desire to cling to our own personal agendas and instead commit our work to God, we will feel the great peace and joy of yielding to God's restful, yet productive, pace.
1Isaiah 26:3. 2Science and Health, p. 151. 3John 5:30.