PRAYING to God brings us closer to Him. When we need guidance, peace of mind, or healing, we often think of asking God for help. But for many of us the tendency is to pray only when we're already in trouble. Sometimes it may seem difficult to set aside the time, or praying may not occur to us until we're facing serious difficulties. I used to be like that. Although I had been taught to pray daily, my prayers were more habitual than deeply thoughtful. As I gained a better understanding of God, however, and began to see how effective prayer could be in my everyday life, I realized that I didn't have to wait until things got bad to pray. And now I find myself praying daily even if I don't have an immediate need.
Daily prayer can be inspiring, protective, uplifting, healing. And, while praying in this way doesn't necessarily eliminate all of our problems, it does give us a head start on overcoming the difficulties we do face. Often when we've prayed diligently beforehand, we look at a problem as an opportunity to prove or demonstrate the spiritual facts we've already come to understand. To put it another way, we learn to trust our prayers. Eventually we find that our trust in God has been so well established that we turn to Him naturally -- and immediately -- even during trying times. When this happens the greatest joy isn't always the healing that comes from turning to God, but the fact that we were once again able to trust our prayers to God.
Trusting our prayers to God means gaining enough spiritual understanding of Him that fear, worry, concern, and doubt are dissolved. It means that we know prayer is effective, know that our prayers are effective for us and our loved ones.
Prayer restores the peace, trust, and joy that are natural to man, God's offspring. Concern can be replaced with the spiritual understanding that all of God's ideas are in the right place. Self-condemnation can disappear when we realize that our prayers are effective and all we need to do is listen for God to reveal to us what to do and then act in obedience to Him.
Recently I had an experience that required me to trust my own prayers. I had been praying, but hadn't seen any change in the situation. Then, like a message, came the thought, ``Trust your prayer to God.'' My toddler was watching every move I made. After the matter had been resolved, she asked me what had happened. In words as simple as I could find I told her and explained how I had prayed. I told her how God was right there helping me all the time, because He's always good. She's learning about God in the Christian Science Sunday School, and I could see that she understood, in her own way, what had happened, because she replied in her trusting, sweet voice, ``That's nice!''
A Bible verse from Matthew helps us to realize the need to put God first and trust Him: ``Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.'' This is what Christ Jesus did, and we can do it today with the same trust he expressed.
We can learn to seek God, divine Mind, first, to feel His guidance, His love, His peace. We can be calm in the spiritual understanding that God is taking care of His children; we need only to appeal to Him, listen for His voice, and follow His leading. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it.'' As we learn more of this Science of being, and as we demonstrate the good our prayers express, we can confidently trust our prayers.