A young boy was watching television with his parents last week. He could tell that something terrible was going on. After a while, he quietly left the room and came back and gave everyone a teddy bear. He could feel the need for comfort and safety, and he shared what symbolized that to him.
The following Sunday, three grade-school-aged girls were struggling to find a deeper source of comfort. They had a friend whose Mom, who had worked at the World Trade Center, was missing. One of the girls had talked with this friend and didn't know how to answer all her questions. She'd told the girl that she wanted to ask her Sunday School class for help.
As the class talked on Sunday, they agreed that it was important to see that God was both Father and Mother to all His creation. Because God is our Mother, we cannot lose the care and comfort and goodness that we need in our lives. One of the girls in the class mentioned that her own mother had died a year ago. She said that holding to these thoughts is very hard, but it is important.
When you know that God is your Mother, then you know that nothing can take the love out of your life. It is always there. She said that it's hard to keep this in your thinking, but it is the only thing that really helps.
Another girl mentioned that when she prayed, the idea came to her that God is the foundation of our life, and this foundation can never collapse. God always holds us up.
Discussions like this are taking place all over the world. Children and adults are looking for comfort. They are seeking guidance, and trying to find out how to go forward. And they are finding answers. How can we find these kinds of ideas for ourselves? These girls naturally turned to God and prayed for help, and we can follow their example.
When Jesus was asked how to pray, he instructed his followers to go into the closet and shut the door (see Matt. 6:6). This "closet" was actually the innermost room - the most protected, quiet, uninterrupted spot in the house. Jesus was very clear. We are not praying so that other people can see us praying and think we are holy people. We are praying so we can be conscious of the ideas - and strength and support - that come to us from God.
This closet is a quiet, sheltered mental place that we can find in our own consciousness. We can be on the subway, in a busy office, in the middle of a cornfield, in a supermarket, or in school. And at that very moment, we can enter into our mental closet and pray. We can shut out all that is around us and turn in prayer to God.
In a chapter called "Prayer" in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, provides these insights on Jesus' instructions about prayer: "The closet typifies the sanctuary of Spirit, the door of which shuts out sinful sense but lets in Truth, Life, and Love. Closed to error, it is open to Truth, and vice versa." Then she adds: "To enter into the heart of prayer, the door of the erring senses must be closed. Lips must be mute and materialism silent, that man may have audience with Spirit, the divine Principle, Love, which destroys all error" (pg. 15).
When we go into our private place and remind ourselves that God is with us, we are ready to discover that the full force and activity of divine Love is present as a power in our lives now. When we are quiet enough to remember this, we begin to hear and feel more of this Love.
This divine force changes our thinking and our lives, and we, too, discover, as my young friend has been discovering, that nothing can take the love out of our lives. Love and goodness are like the phoenix, rising out of the ashes with new life and force, with new evidence of God's goodness and care.
I the Lord thy God will hold
thy right hand, saying unto thee,
Fear not; I will help thee.