I recently read an account of a Confederate soldier who had stealthily encountered a Union soldier at a temporary fortification during the US Civil War. He poised his rifle to take aim, when he heard the Union soldier singing a hymn. With that, the Confederate soldier retreated (Stephen Gottschalk, "Rolling away the stone: Mary Baker Eddy's Challenge to Materialism," p. 311).
Fast forward to quite a few years later, when the former Confederate soldier heard a familiar voice while on a ship during an ocean crossing. While he couldn't place how he knew the man, both the voice and the face were familiar.
He asked the former Union soldier if they had met. After some discussion, the former Confederate soldier realized that this was the man he'd almost shot and killed. The Union soldier ex-plained that he had sung the hymn "because I was conscious of danger which I could not see or hear." After singing the hymn, he had no longer felt the danger.
This anecdote illustrates the simplicity with which we all can turn to God for help and expect to receive it. Our prayers don't need to be complicated. They don't have to be prescribed words said in a particular order or from a particular posture.
In the case of the soldier, a simple yearning to feel God's presence when he was faced with a fearful situation was blessed. What's more, acknowledging God's presence and abiding love for His own idea harmonizes our experience today. The real deliverance from any fearful situation is a deep-seated feeling of God's "everlasting arms of Love" – a feeling that breeds confidence even when we face potentially difficult circumstances. And since our God, who is Life, Truth, and Love, is all-powerful, our acknowledgment of His presence brings everyone and every circumstance under Life's charitable government.
The Principle and rule behind this fact is stated in Mary Baker Eddy's "Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," where she wrote: "Man's real life or existence is in harmony with Life and its glorious phenomena. It upholds being, and destroys the too common sense of its opposites – death, disease, and sin" (p. 105).
I take this to mean that there is no circumstance we can find ourselves in that can't be harmonized through acknowledging the power and presence of God – from a child's feeling homesick while away at camp for the first time to a pilot's flying an airplane through a storm to a soldier's experience on the front lines.
This fact is verified through the accounts in the Bible and through the experiences of countless individuals who have turned to Him ever since.
I've often turned to God in prayer for deliverance from a multitude of obstacles, including various forms of fear, difficult relationship problems, financial woes, and physical ailments.
One way to realize the promise of deliverance is to sing about God's presence until we feel that presence. Then we'll know that we, too, have an arm to lean upon because we're held in the "everlasting arms of Love," as this hymn states:
Everlasting arms of Love
Are beneath, around, above;
God it is who bears us on,
His the arm we lean upon.
He our ever-present guide
Faithful is, whate'er betide;
Gladly then we journey on,
With His arm to lean upon.
From earth's fears and vain alarms
Safe in His encircling arms,
He will keep us all the way,
God, our refuge, strength and stay.
(John R. MacDuff, "Christian Science Hymnal," No. 53)