Preparing With Prayer

IT seems that so much of our life depends on how prepared we are for the tasks or situations that face us. It's probably safe to say that preparation is really practice in disguise. The more we prepare for things, the more we are practicing--that is, putting into use--what we're learning.

Many times we feel unprepared for what's ahead. But there's a kind of preparation that can help us get ready more effectively-- whether it's an examination, a game, a recital, or life that we face! All of our preparation, or practice, can be more fruitful if we begin with prayer. Gaining a clearer understanding of God, good, naturally prepares us to combat inharmony. In prayer we can learn how to base our understanding on Spirit, God, rather than on matter. This makes our efforts more effective because our thoughts are moving in the right direction.

Preparation begins with prayer, and goes forward when we act in accord with our prayer. Christ Jesus often went to the mountains to pray--to refresh himself spiritually. He was always ready to meet whatever challenges confronted him. His time in the mountains was spent in communing with God, confirming his relationship with Him. This spiritual understanding enabled Jesus to heal the blind, deaf, lame, and others who came to him. He showed us in concrete terms the power behind the Psalmist's words ``God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble'' (Psalms 46:1).

We, too, can commune with God and put into practice what we learn. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, urges in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ``We must `pray without ceasing.' Such prayer is answered, in so far as we put our desires into practice. The Master's injunction is, that we pray in secret and let our lives attest our sincerity'' (p. 15). We don't necessarily have to go off alone to a mountain-top to commune with God, although our prayer could indeed take place there. But wherever we are we can humbly and quietly turn to God for the spiritual guidance that prepares us to bring healing whenever and wherever it is needed.

I found out how to do this prayerful preparing better during college. As a music student, I had to perform in front of my professors in order for them to grade my progress. These ``juries'' were crucial because how well you did had such an impact on your grade. I had gone already through a couple of semesters of juries, and had barely passed. Now I was facing another jury that would be a pivotal point of my college experience.

One of my professors was also a Christian Scientist. I talked to her about my concerns, and she urged me to take prayer as seriously as I did my piano practice. I could look at it like another assignment: I could pray before playing even one note, and I could let God guide my piano practicing also. I prepared all semester for the upcoming jury in this way. Daily I learned more of God and of man's relationship to Him. I began to see man as God's child-- neither judged nor judging, but expressing his creator in every activity. By the end of the semester I had made genuine progress-- as was noted by my professors and my grades. But what the grades didn't show was that I had grown closer to God. I had learned that prayer spiritually prepared me for a clearer understanding of God's guidance and this resulted in my being and doing better--in my expressing God more abundantly.

Whatever tasks or situations we face--whether expected or unexpected--prayer prepares us for them!

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