IN my work as a carpenter, I really loved the ``hard goods'' of construction. Nails, timbers, tools -- they were all so definite and concrete. By my using these things, one large framed deck could be turned into walls and rooms in a day. It was useful, worthy work -- you had something tangible at the end. I like to think of prayer, too, as work using the tangibles of divine Spirit. The results of prayer are also seen and felt, and it is unquestionably worthy work.
At first the tangibles of prayer might not seem that definite or concrete. These prayer tangibles aren't physical objects, of course, but they do have substance and they are real. Because they aren't material things we know them as ideas. And since they are ideas from God, Spirit, they are spiritual ideas. As the Bible says, ``Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.''1
``Fine,'' someone says, ``but the realities in my life right now are a dwindling savings account, problems at work with my boss, a backache that won't go away! Can prayer really help with these problems?''
Yes, it can. But this healing prayer requires deep, wholehearted inquiry into the nature of God as Spirit and how He creates man and the universe. Such inquiry leads us to the spiritual ideas that we need in order to improve any situation we face -- financial, personal, physical. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains, ``These ideas are perfectly real and tangible to spiritual consciousness, and they have this advantage over the objects and thoughts of material sense, -- they are good and eternal.''2
These spiritual ideas form the basis from which a new view of man as spiritual unfolds. This spiritual man -- our own individual identity -- has bona fide tangibility and substantiality. We can see the results of understanding the idea that spiritual substance is the lasting reality of man little by little in our own lives.
I had a healing of severe pain in my back that may help illustrate this. The pain came suddenly while I was having difficulty in a new job. I felt burdened and pressured at work, and it didn't take me long to see that both my work and the back problem needed the full measure of prayerful attention that I'm accustomed to bringing to bear on problems in my life.
I knew that the truths of a perfect God and His perfect child -- my true spiritual identity -- had substance and meaning. I also saw clearly that no burden -- mental or physical -- could hurt me. ``Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee''3 is the healing counsel of the Psalmist. And that is exactly what I did. I allowed the anxiety and pressure at work to melt before God's love for me. The pain in my back quickly grew less and disappeared entirely within a few days.
Experience has taught me that a focused, deep probing into understanding more of God's allness and His unfailing love for man is always the right step. It does often demand great effort to stay with this task. Yet, since God is the All-in-all of existence, His love and truth support our prayer and bring healing.
When I approach a problem knowing this, I know I have a strong foundation for solving the difficulty. My ``hard goods'' for discovering the lasting, prayerful solution are at hand.
1Hebrews 11:3. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 269. 3Psalms 55:22.