Preventive Prayer

NOT long ago, I bought a roll-top desk. Delighted with my purchase, I arranged the drawers and cubbyholes to my liking and then sat down to read the daily paper. But my delight was short-lived. There on the front page, graphically described in headlines and pictures, was the report of a fire that had demolished a row of apartments in my city. Even as my heart filled with compassion for the tenants who had lost everything, I was tormented by a sudden fear that the same thing might happen to me.

As a Bible student I knew that the Master, Christ Jesus, had quieted others' fear as a prelude to healing. And I remembered that Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, states in her Message to The Mother Church for 1901, ``A man's fear, unconquered, conquers him, in whatever direction.''

It became clear that I needed to conquer the fear immediately, as a preventive measure. I turned wholeheartedly to God, as the study of Christian Science had taught me to do.

I did not petition God to save my new desk or plead with Him to protect my apartment. Instead, I asked the Father to help me understand more fully that fear, no matter how real or powerful or legitimate it may seem, is an aggressive mental argument without foundation or existence in the allness of infinite Love. This conviction is supported by a much-loved Bible verse from II Timothy: ``God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.''

Acknowledging that God is Spirit, as well as the only genuine cause and creator, I realized that His creation is, in truth, spiritual and harmonious, despite appearances to the contrary. It followed, then, that He did not create fear or anything to be afraid of! I knew that our heavenly Parent is Love and that He cares tenderly for each of His children. These spiritual facts of God's great goodness brought peace to my troubled thought. The fear disappeared, and I went about my daily work, no longer afraid.

A night or two later, a fire broke out in an electrical wall socket in our apartment. Although we put it out quickly, we suspected there was faulty wiring and telephoned a building inspector in the morning. The inspector took one look at the wiring, turned around in astonishment, and said that in his professional experience he had not seen a more potentially flammable situation. He added that it was a mystery to him why our apartment complex had not gone up in flames during the night.

His comment reminded me of the fear I had entertained earlier. What was the connection between the prayer that destroyed fear, and the protection we received?

Of several important points, one of the most significant was that I had begun to pray immediately. I did not allow the fear to delay my prayer until later. I prayed as soon as the fear insinuated its way into my thought. In the words of the Psalmist, ``I sought the Lord, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.''

Heartfelt prayer conquers fear with the power of Love, God. Prayer begets good thoughts, and good thoughts are powerful.

Mrs. Eddy writes in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, ``Good thoughts are an impervious armor; clad therewith you are completely shielded from the attacks of error of every sort. And not only yourselves are safe, but all whom your thoughts rest upon are thereby benefited.''

Turning to God for help results in wisdom and right action. In this instance, it protected my family and apartment as well as my neighbors. Only the power of God can truly conquer fear and bring peace and right direction into our experience.

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