ALTHOUGH this is the time of year when many students are facing end-of-term examinations, all of us face tests of one kind or another. These may be qualifying tests for advancement at work, learning how to use new equipment or software, or perhaps just studying something we are interested in.
There are many study strategies, of course. But the one I found helpful while I was earning my doctorate--and in my work since then--was prayer. I was just learning about Christian Science and its teaching that God is divine Mind, the source of all intelligence. This means that as His spiritual sons and daughters, we each have full access to intuition, foresight, wisdom, and all the other ways that intelligence is manifested.
To the degree that we understand this, we can overcome limitations. Because each of us relates directly to God, Mind, we can never be cut off from divine intelligence. Christ Jesus made this point very clearly when he said, ``I and my Father are one'' (John 10:30). The book of Philippians brings out the fact that this statement didn't apply only to Jesus. There the Apostle Paul declares, ``I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me'' (4:13).
This is a promise all of us can take to our hearts, because the fact is that we are really God's spiritual ideas, already expressing intelligence. That doesn't mean we can skip studying. But it does mean that we can have the insight, foresight, and wisdom to know how to approach our work.
For example, people sometimes fear that they will forget crucial information when they sit for an examination. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, has much useful guidance on this subject in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. In one place she writes, ``Do not suppose that any mental concept is gone because you do not think of it. The true concept is never lost'' (p. 87).
If the facts you learned seem to have disappeared, take a moment to pray. Know that there is only one Mind and that this Mind is the source of all intelligence, including yours. Since this Mind is ever-present, there is nothing to be afraid of; nothing can keep you from expressing the Mind which is your creator.
We each have an indestructible relationship to Mind as Mind's idea, so there isn't any competition with others. Everyone's expression of intelligence is individual, but all of us have the God-given right to the full proof of Mind's ever-presence wherever we are, no matter what we happen to be doing. I learned this when I was defending my doctoral dissertation. One of the professors was especially aggressive and asked particularly tricky questions. And I hardly had time to respond before he had more queries. Throughout the examination, I kept praying, knowing that God is the only Mind and turning to God for direction. And even during his intense questioning, I was able to feel an inner peace, knowing that God was governing me.
After the questioning, when the professors went to another room to make their decision, I continued to pray. The chairman of my doctoral committee later told me that this man argued with the others about whether I should be allowed to pass. But in the end, they all agreed that I had successfully defended my work. The man who had been so aggressive said, ``Well, anyone can tell she has a first-class mind.''
The minute I heard this, I thought, ``Yes, I do rely on a first-class Mind--named God!'' By thinking this, I wasn't saying that I am God, but rather that as the reflection, or idea, of God, I fully express His nature. Each of us does this; we all have access to the one and only ``first-class'' Mind, God. And we have a divinely bestowed right to express His intelligence without any limit.