ONE hot summer day the family was taking a short trip that had gotten too long. The children had turned the back seat into a very rowdy and unhappy playground, and Dad, who was driving, was being unintentionally kicked in the back. Mom could see that Dad's patience--with the children and with the traffic--was being tested.
She felt inexperienced at praying, but it seemed a good idea to make an attempt to pray, as this situation could easily ruin the day. The only thing she could remember about prayer had to do with quiet, and in that car there wasn't anything that could pass for quiet or calm. Then an idea came: the children had been attending the Christian Science Sunday School; what had they learned there?
She remembered, from the first chapter of Genesis in the Bible, how God had made man perfect and good. One statement she recalled as she prayed says: ``And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good."
When the rowdy activity got suddenly even more aggressive, Mom spoke--quietly. She asked the children: ``What did you learn in Sunday School about God making you perfect and good?" Silence. Then a little giggle echoed around the car. Well Mom was not going to sit there and have a good concept giggled at, so she turned on her official you'd-better-listen voice and explained what was now obvious to her: ``God made you good, and there is no power other than God. But even if you don't think you can be the go od child God made--ACT LIKE IT ANYHOW!"
Then everybody, including Dad, really laughed.
The peace that descended was immediate. I thought about how it must have been when Christ Jesus stilled the storm by commanding ``Peace, be still." Mark's Gospel in the Bible records, ``There was a great calm." In the car, all the fussing simply ended, and a special atmosphere of Love prevailed. Giggles continued to escape from time to time, the traffic cleared, the kicking stopped, the bickering ended, and the family got an unexpected ride on a ferry boat, ice cream, and hot dogs before that day was all
over. Everybody really had a great time.
More important, Mom learned a little more about prayer and how it is right now the solution to any problem. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, writes: ``The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God,--a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love. Regardless of what another may say or think on this subject, I speak from experience. Prayer, watching, and working, combi ned with self-immolation, are God's gracious means for accomplishing whatever has been successfully done for the Christianization and health of mankind." A little further on she continues: ``Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds."
The experience in the car has had an ongoing effect. Mom was immensely impressed with an idea that could ``peacify" a back seat. And this family has learned over the years that prayer can meet every need. These children are now grown and have children of their own, but that incident and mother's words still bring a smile and gently let erring ones know that they are expected to straighten up--and that they have the dominion to do that, because God is the only power.