MOM and Dad had given me my own car. It wasn't new; it had been my grandmother's. Dad had it painted and fixed up for me. I loved it. But there were rules. I couldn't go on certain roads because my parents thought they were dangerous. One of these roads was a shortcut to my house. There were a couple of dangerous intersections, but there wasn't usually a lot of traffic.
Although I wasn't supposed to drive that way when I was alone, one day I had a particularly hard day at school. By the end of the day I had a headache, and all I wanted to do was get home fast. I decided to disobey my parent's wishes. It was raining, and the road was slick. I had driven about a quarter of the way along the road when a car suddenly pulled out at one of the intersections. The driver didn't stop at the sign. I slammed on my brakes. The car spun. I ended up in the passenger's seat with the car stopped in someone's driveway. No one was hurt, but I was scared and the car was dented. I'll admit that I was sorry I was on the road mostly because now my parents would find out I'd driven where I wasn't supposed to.
Usually when I was in danger or frightened or didn't know what to do, I'd pray for myself. But this time I wasn't quite sure where to start. I was dizzy and my head still hurt. Besides that, I knew that I had been disobedient. Would God still help me? I had learned in the Christian Science Sunday School that God never leaves us, but it certainly felt as if He wasn't around. Because I was familiar with the Bible I knew the story of the Hebrew people, led by Moses. During their long journey from Egypt to the Promised Land, they experienced famine, but God was there, providing manna for them to eat each morning. I knew that He was there for me, too. By turning to God and yielding to His power I could recognize God's presence.
Once at home, I prayed more deeply--not just to stay out of trouble with my parents, but for forgiveness. Deep within my heart I wanted to do what was right. I wanted to feel close to God. In reality, we can't ever leave His presence. I could see that God is always right here with us, and this comforted me.
After my parents came home and found out what had happened, they prayed with me. I could feel their love. They didn't condemn me or yell. I felt forgiven. Soon the dizziness and headache were gone. I was completely healed. But more than just the physical discomfort was healed. My prayers led me closer to God, and as a result I obeyed my parent's wishes and didn't go on that road again.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Founder of the Christian Science Church, asks in her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, ``Are material means the only refuge from fatal chances? Is there no divine permission to conquer discord of every kind with harmony, with Truth and Love?'' (p. 394). There is divine permission to conquer all that is unlike God, to overcome our own faults--to learn to do and be better. Feeling God's presence helps us spiritually understand that His mansion, man's home, is big enough for everyone--no matter what a person is facing. Christ Jesus taught, ``In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you'' (John 14:2).
Our prayers can take different forms. They may be simple at first. We may not know exactly how to begin. But we can always commune with God, good, and find Him here with us. Yielding to God's presence and power in prayer shows us the reality of His love. Then our experience changes for the better because our thought changes for the better.