Guidance When You Need It

I HAD worked long hours to finish the lengthy report. It was at the point now where I could present it to my management at a meeting the next day. Exhausted, I was ready to go home. Then I got a call with new information. It looked as if I might have to rework everything, a task that could take days!

Probably everyone has faced situations that call for inspired solutions. Sometimes it's tempting to succumb to frustration, uncertainty, or anger. We may believe there is no way to escape the vagaries of human existence. At times like these, I am especially thankful for a solution that has always helped me: prayer.

The Bible provides extensive guidance on how prayer helps us find our way out of difficulties. The highest example we have is from our Way-shower, Christ Jesus. He showed us the inadequacy of mortal selfhood and taught us to turn humbly and constantly to our heavenly Father to receive the direction we need. Jesus said, John's Gospel records, ''I can of mine own self do nothing: as I hear, I judge: and my judgment is just; because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father which hath sent me'' (5:30).

Over the years, I've turned to seek God's will in numerous cases and always found the guidance I've needed. Although each situation is different, my prayers for guidance have all required me to silence the mortal senses' arguments of discord or lack of clear direction and instead to use my God-given spiritual sense to discern what God is telling me. Inherent in every person, spiritual sense furnishes an understanding of God's will, which provides only good. It is the inner perception we all have, permitting us to see past material circumstances and understand better the underlying clarity and order of God's purely spiritual creation.

At times, it may seem difficult to perceive God's will, despite our best listening efforts. Mortality may argue very persuasively not only for discord but for the suggestion that turning to spiritual sense is useless. But this argument is always false. In her ''Dedicatory Sermon'' in Pulpit and Press, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, helps us to see what is true. She tells us: ''Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly, and that nothing can dispossess you of this heritage and trespass on Love'' (p. 3).

The more we depend on spiritual sense in our daily life, the better we become aware of God's guidance. Sometimes divine inspiration comes as a clear direction within thought. Other times there is a gentle understanding that dawns in consciousness, enlightening us on how to proceed. These messages often come very simply and quietly, but they are unmistakable.

In the case of my report, once prayer had enabled me to calm my thinking, I evaluated my motives for accomplishing the work. My goal was to help my employer improve operations. God assigns no penalty of fatigue for doing honest work, and fruitless toil is no part of His will for man.

This evaluation lifted me above the self-pitying view that I was a tired, overworked mortal, who probably wasn't getting paid enough to work so hard! I felt inspired to start revising the report right there. And I found a way to do the revision that reused much of the work I'd already completed. It took a lot less time to do than I had thought. I was able to finish my work that day and still get a good night's sleep. The next day the report was well received.

This may seem like a small case of divine inspiration, but it was particularly meaningful for me because I was able to rise above the negative traits of resentment, criticism, and frustration that would have slowed me down. I felt as if I had taken a significant step forward in my spiritual growth and had become a better person because of it. All this happened because I had been willing to turn to God for direction.

Inspired prayer aligns us with God's will and makes us better Christians. It provides effective guidance that is always available.

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