A CLOSE friend made a serious promise to me. Then he broke it. As he was telling me, I realized this would have major consequences: ruined plans, financial loss, not to mention disappointment that he couldn't be faithful to his promise. It was a blow to me. But I could see that he was suffering as well -- struggling to convey his thoughts, feeling guilt, trying to fight back tears and not succeeding. He also needed comfort. I reached out in prayer to God. My prayer was simple; I asked for grace.
Grace has many meanings, but essentially grace is a divine influence felt and experienced in a way that blesses us. God, divine Love, is the source of grace in our lives. My prayer for grace was a prayer to be loving to my friend, not to be angry or hurt, but through divine help to be compassionate, loving, as Christlike as possible.
As I prayed, I reached over and lightly touched my friend for a moment. That was all I did, but it was enough. I had received enough grace to feel and show forgiveness and love, and that brought us both the peace that we needed right then.
The promise had been broken; that hadn't been changed. But with a conscious sense of God's love and presence, we worked things out so that our friendship could survive. And it has. This experience showed me the power of divine grace, and I still pray regularly for grace -- on some days frequently!
The Bible includes many references to grace. One of these shows beautifully the purpose and power of grace. Paul writes in a letter to the Christian disciples at Corinth: ``God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.''1 The grace of God, the godliness given to man, who is in truth God's spiritual likeness, supplies man with all he needs to be and do good. And we can ask for -- and receive -- the grace we need each day.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, recognized the vital role of grace for mankind. She states near the beginning of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds.''2 We need grace most of all because, as Paul said, ``By grace ye are saved.''3
We all, whether we consider ourselves religious or not, want to be saved from evil and unhappiness and failure. So we need grace. But the beautiful thing about grace is that it is always available to us. God is always supplying His children -- all of us -- with all the good we need. God provides us with all the spiritual qualities, including grace, that we need to be healthy, happy, productive individuals.
The sentence from Science and Health referred to previously shows us how we can experience this saving grace -- by expressing patience, meekness, love, and goodness. We can do this. And that means that the help we need to be free of conflict and confusion is at hand -- through the grace of God!
1II Corinthians 9:8. 2Science and Health, p. 4. 3Ephesians 2:5. Healing through prayer is explored in more detail in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel.