What if you received an invitation from a friend to go on a cruise at sea, but heard that a storm was brewing? You might be afraid, maybe wonder if you should go. Now consider the same invitation, only this time you are assured that there are no storms. Would you feel any uneasiness? Probably not.
Perhaps you feel there is a storm brewing in your life. Maybe you are sick or in debt. Maybe your company is downsizing and your job is at risk, or perhaps there is conflict with a neighbor or family member. What can you do when storms like these threaten to disrupt your life? What will quiet the fear?
You can pray. Christian Science has taught me how to pray and has shown me that we don't need to fear the storms of life. Prayer stills them. The prayer that does this is based on an understanding of God. It affirms that God is ever present, that He is Love, that He is good. Instead of pleading with God to do something, effective prayer acknowledges that God is forever loving each of us, His daughters and sons. This prayer is expectant of good and of peace right in the middle of a storm.
Clearly, Christ Jesus understood the power of prayer. You might say that Jesus' life was prayer, lived and practiced every day. The Bible shows that Jesus trusted in God's omnipotence, protection, and guidance, and that he taught his followers how they, too, could do so. You and I can follow him.
The book of Mark tells that Jesus was once in a boat with his disciples when a violent storm arose (see chap. 4, verses 35-41). Fearing for their lives, the disciples woke Jesus, who was actually sleeping! We read, "And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm." Jesus showed the disciples they were not alone-that God is ever present and that seeing this quiets fear. He even asked, "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?"
This knowledge of God's allness quiets storms of every kind. When my husband's company was going through downsizing and reorganization, we were uncertain about our security. We began to pray together, expecting just the right inspired thoughts from God. Our prayers didn't concern just our own well-being but included everyone. We knew that God created His sons and daughters to reflect Him. We knew that because each of us reflects such qualities of God as intelligence and usefulness-qualities that are always good because He is good-we would always be blessed and have the opportunity to bless others, wherever we were. This was true of my husband as well as his co-workers.
Our fears lifted as we realized that God has only good in store for each of His children, and that each must see and feel this good. There was no longer any concern about whether my husband would be working for that company or seeking employment elsewhere. We simply came to trust that we would be where we could best serve God. We truly understood that real employment is in serving Him, and that one who desires to do God's will can never be unemployed. My husband's job was not cut; he actually received a promotion. I feel, however, that our answer to prayer was the willingness we gained to let go of fear and seek to be where God directed.
Before she founded the Christian Science Church, Mary Baker Eddy grew to understand how important prayer is; she wrote a book called Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which explains how we can trust God as Jesus did. There is an entire chapter on what prayer is and how to pray, which shows that God's nature is only loving. It says this: "In divine Science, where prayers are mental, all may avail themselves of God as 'a very present help in trouble' " (pp. 12-13). Think about that little word all. It says we each can trust in God's love for us. We can have faith that God answers prayer in any time of trouble.
The storms of life seem to say that we can be separated from God, insecure. This is impossible! Even in the middle of those storms, we'll find as we pray that God is ever present and that we can trust to see our prayer answered.