Prayers for Loved Ones, Wherever They Are

MY son, a college freshman, was learning to fly airplanes as part of his course of study. And he was spending a great deal of time riding his new motorcycle from the campus to the airport, around the college town, and on weekend excursions. It was an invigorating time for him, a clear realization of his own prayers and plans. Thousands of miles away, I found myself conjuring up all sorts of fearful scenes about his safety.

Although this may have seemed like a typical parental response, I knew it was an entirely inappropriate and nonproductive state of mind for a mother who truly wants to support what is in her child's best interest. I felt a special urgency-both for his sake and mine-to eliminate these fears through prayer; to spiritualize my concept of his activities, to release him to the sufficient care of his heavenly Father-Mother God. I had learned from experience that consecrated prayer would enable me to express my natural, God-given confidence in God's tender care for all of His children. Over and over again I had experienced the results of prayer, in the big and little events of daily life-finding satisfying relationships, job changes, relocations, physical healings for myself and my children, protection. Our loving Father does care for His children. He is providing guidance for us every day. Understanding that we are His spiritual offspring, living in His spiritual universe, we are all safe in His care. We just have to be obedient to the divine guidance that is already there for us and our loved ones wherever they (and we) are.

But where and how was I to start the task of replacing a flood of fearful human thoughts with spiritually based trust in God? Over the years I have found it often helps to spiritualize my thinking about a specific subject by studying the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science. I started by looking up Bible verses that referred to flight and wings, and these led also to many passages about angels.

Psalm 91 was especially helpful in assuring me of God's care. It pointed out: ''He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust'' and assured me ''For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways'' (91:4, 11). Another psalm also comforted me: ''Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? . . . If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me'' (139:7, 9, 10). Science and Health always sheds new light on the Bible for me, so I was happy to turn once again to what it has to say about angels: ''God's thoughts passing to man; spiritual intuitions, pure and perfect; the inspiration of goodness, purity, and immortality, counteracting all evil, sensuality, and mortality'' (p. 581).

Then I thought about Christ Jesus telling his followers, ''Be not afraid'' as he walked over the sea to them. I reasoned that the divine Love that enabled Jesus to reach out his hand to save Peter, who found himself afraid and sinking in the turbulent sea, remains available to all of God's children wherever they are today. Reaching out for help to a higher power as Peter did when he cried out, ''Lord, save me'' (Matthew 14:27, 30) does bring the support that meets the need.

I went to bed after my study that night feeling comforted. Waking before dawn the next morning, I felt assured that the power that has ruled the universe throughout eternity was also keeping my son on course and safe. The telephone call from our son that evening was an especially exuberant one. He had been given the unexpected opportunity to take his first solo flight-a special milestone in any pilot's career-that day. He was in complete control of the aircraft, and loved every minute of it. He was on his way!

Each day when we think about our loved ones near and far, we can thank our Father-Mother, God, that where they are is in His tender and sufficient care.

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