THE traditional Sunday or evening at home with the family isn't as much a fact among working people as it used to be. Who can tell the difference between workdays and rest days, working hours and off hours, when so much of society is up and running twenty-four hours a day?
A time to pursue interests, a time to be with family or friends, and especially an opportunity to think or pray quietly, are important. For people whose days are full, these free periods don't necessarily come at regular, planned intervals. But if you ask people who take opportunities to pray during a busy schedule, they are likely to say that they have found that prayer renews their joy and trust in God's government of their lives--and enables them to turn back to their other tasks refreshed. By giving prayer priority in our day, we can start to feel refreshed and regenerated even when our day is filled with unrelenting demands.
As anyone who has spent time idling can tell you, doing nothing isn't necessarily restoring. Inactivity that doesn't do much to change how we feel about our work isn't as resting as one would think. Putting the vigor and zest of life back into our days is more a mental than a physical process. Getting to know God as infinite Mind, our creator, can help us meet obligations without feeling frazzled and overtaxed. We find we can accomplish more--and still have opportunities for relaxation and being with fam ily--when we reserve time each day for quiet communion with God.
God is ever-active good. Prayer helps us get beyond thinking of God in human terms--as a creator who is even busier than we are! It puts to rest the picture of God as a superhuman and deepens our understanding of Him as omniactive Life that expresses itself in the spiritual endurance, freshness, intelligence, and love of its creation. Prayer leads us to recognize our spiritual identity as God's child, the image of this ever-present Life.
It is evident from Christ Jesus' career that what he knew of his spiritual identity as the Son of God carried him through his days with grace. He said, we read in John's Gospel, "The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
To follow Jesus' example we need a fuller appreciation of man's spiritual identity as the likeness of immortal, ever-active Mind. The wisdom and energies of God, of divine Mind, are ours to rely on because man's true purpose is to express the qualities of the great I am. If we are working the way Mind works--if we are striving to serve God--then such a God-directed motive lessens the burden of a big workload or a long day.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has helpful words for people who feel at the end of their capabilities. She writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: "When we reach our limits of mental endurance, we conclude that intellectual labor has been carried sufficiently far; but when we realize that immortal Mind is ever active, and that spiritual energies can neither wear out nor can so-called material law trespass upon God-given powers and resources, we are able
to rest in Truth, refreshed by the assurances of immortality, opposed to mortality.
Making sure we put prayer in our schedule will bring breakthroughs in how we feel about our full days or evenings. Prayer helps us to be less concerned about how much we are doing and more aware that we live and work in response to God's allness and omnipotence. The era we live in may be accelerated, but productive activity can be a servant rather than a master as prayer takes a lead in our life.