You may have heard the story about a famous British actor who was at a social gathering where the guests were invited to recite something. When his turn came, he began, "The Lord is my shepherd ...." After he spoke the last words of this well-known psalm, there was a thunderous burst of applause.
When it came her turn, a modest woman declined to speak, saying the only thing she knew by heart was the 23rd Psalm, which the actor already had recited so eloquently. But the actor prevailed upon her to go ahead. When she finished, there was total silence. Everyone was so moved.
The silence was finally broken when someone remarked he hadn't thought it possible for anyone to say the psalm better than the actor had. The actor's response? "That isn't difficult to explain," he said. "You see, I know the psalm, but she knows the Shepherd."
That's why everyone was inspired. It's natural to want to feel close to God. And when we come into contact with someone who is close to God, we, too, feel moved by His loving presence.
It's one thing to know about God. It's quite another to know God. Many people, even those who know a great deal about God's goodness and power, still yearn to really know Him. They want Him to be a felt, living presence in their lives. They want to know God firsthand. And they can. Each one of us can.
If we want to get acquainted with people, it's a good idea to spend some time with them. At times, though, we might hesitate even to approach them. And when it comes to approaching God, people often feel hesitant, not knowing exactly where to begin.
Yet God, unchanging divine Love, is our true Father-Mother. And He/She cares deeply for us, even when we feel (for whatever reason) unworthy of God's love. It isn't difficult to approach such a loving, divine Parent. Actually, God is always present. Right where we are at this moment, God is here, with us. So, we can start by acknowledging the divine presence and Love and spend time with God in prayer, listening for pure, healing thoughts.
You'll notice in the Bible that Christ Jesus often started his own prayers by saying "Father." And the Lord's Prayer, which he gave to show us how to pray, starts right out with "Our Father." One time, during the opening of one of Mary Baker Eddy's classes of instruction in Christian Science, when all were saying the Lord's Prayer together, one of the students heard her say "Our dear Father" ("We Knew Mary Baker Eddy," pg. 55).
The Apostle Paul assures us that it is because we "really are" God's sons [and daughters] "that God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts to cry 'Father, dear Father' " (Gal. 4:6, "The New Testament in Modern English," by J. B. Phillips).
Feeling we're at one with God as our Father-Mother enables us to know Him better, and to understand Him and follow His loving guidance. As the book of Job in the Bible tells us, "Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace" (22:21).
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall
not be in want. He makes me lie
down in green pastures, he leads
me beside quiet waters, he
restores my soul. He guides me in
paths of righteousness for his
name's sake. Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of
death, I will fear no evil, for you
are with me; your rod and your
staff, they comfort me. You prepare
a table before me in the presence
of my enemies. You anoint my
head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will
follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house
of the Lord forever.
(New International Version)