`OH no, not again!'' I muttered as I saw the flashing red lights in my rearview mirror and heard the siren. I was nearing the end of a probationary period on my license, and I didn't need this speeding ticket. ``Why me, God?'' I thought. ``I try, I really try to obey all laws, Yours included. So why me?'' Fear of tickets and fines hadn't been effective, nor had my ``trying'' to be good been enough, it seemed. I had to do something. So I began to take a more serious look at praying about this challenge.
I have since learned that words aren't what is most important in prayer. In reading Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, I came upon an arresting statement about prayer: ``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.''1
God, I came to realize, is not convinced to help us by eloquent speeches or dramatic poses. In fact, because God is Spirit, He knows us as spiritual ideas, as His perfect and beloved children.
God is totally good; He is ever present. He governs thought and action. The Bible reminded me, ``Without him was not any thing made that was made.''2 So in the deepest sense, there isn't, there can't be, any situation or person that's outside His direction, protection, and perfect care.
Our prayers, therefore, aren't really a means of convincing God to help us; rather they open us up to be aware of and to live more in accord with His already established laws. It is our willingness to change -- to repent, to use the Biblical term -- that brings healing and reformation to our human experience. I was sure ready for change! Soon I began to see ways in which I could be more obedient and respectful to others. This went much deeper than just abiding by the speed limit. I needed to be more truthful and God-directed in all my actions -- both with myself and others.
As time went on I continued to find more and more ways to be responsive to God. This responsiveness wasn't based on a fear of punishment, but rather on love of God. I simply loved God, good, so much that I wanted to serve Him and couldn't allow anything unlike Him in my life.
A month or so after I had received the latest traffic citation, I moved to a city that had excellent public transportation, so I had less need to drive. A few months later my driving record was reviewed and my probation was extended another year. That year passed without incident. When I did drive, as a result of my prayers I found it natural to obey the traffic laws and drive safely.
If we are willing to respond when divine Truth calls on us to change, to progress we can rest assured that our sincere striving will be rewarded with success. No matter what the problem, we can overcome it through prayer, through striving to see ourselves in His image and likeness, wholly spiritual.
The world's materiality and limitation would overwhelm us with the enormity of a problem, leaving us nearly immobilized at times, feeling unable to meet problems effectively through prayer. But we don't have to live with this fear. Christ Jesus assured us, ``Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.''3
As we follow Jesus' example and focus on serving God, He crowns our own efforts to ``overcome the world'' with victory.
1Science and Health, p. 1. 2John 1:3. 3John 16:33.