A mom recently called me to share an idea that had brought her a fresh perspective. Each day she'd been praying for the safety of her son and husband, as well as for her own. But that particular day it had come to her that beyond just keeping our bodies safe from harm, our real need in prayer is to accept that because we are created spiritually, we're already safe from harm.
"What we call safety," my friend said, "is a fact of God's unchanging love." I agreed. Her prayer was addressing something even greater than the latest threatening condition or worrisome statistic. It was lifting her thought to a more spiritualized viewpoint and changing her sense of safety from an iffy proposition to an assurance that the divine laws of good are supreme.
God is Love, the actual cause of our individual existence. Safety is, therefore, a central fact of our life, even in a world that so often seems defined by dangers of all kinds.
I've prayed with the 23rd Psalm as it is explained in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures." There, Mary Baker Eddy brought the psalm alive by substituting throughout the word "Love" in place of "the Lord."
I think of this psalm as God's job description: shepherding, guiding, providing, and safeguarding us. One line says how God restores and maintains our intuition, alertness, wisdom, and resourcefulness: "[Love] restoreth my soul [spiritual sense]" (p. 578).
Christian Science illuminates the constancy of divine care. It teaches how and why we can live in the security of God's jurisdiction. Mrs. Eddy discovered it to be the foundation of Jesus' healing works as described in the Gospels. She proved that we don't need to wait for these protecting and saving laws to take effect; they are here and now. We need only open our eyes to understand them and experience life under their jurisdiction, through enlightened prayer.
"Prayer cannot change the Science of being," she observed, "but it tends to bring us into harmony with it" (Science and Health, p. 2). Far from an act of desperation, this prayer is the practice of lifting thought and heart to discern the divine presence. It involves the kind of inspiration that prompted the psalmist to declare, "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law" (119:18). You might call prayer a "practiced lifting of thought" that reveals useful mental resources such as wisdom, courage, good judgment, clarity, and intuition.
Sometimes we may wonder how exactly to "open" our eyes to see and experience God's protection. Yet we don't have to do it on our own. Science and Health explains His presence in our lives as "a divine influence ever present in human consciousness ..." (p. xi). This Christ, Truth, is what Jesus fully embodied, and it reveals our health and safety as inseparable from God. This innate spiritual sense enables each individual to become consciously aware that good is present and powerful in our lives, and to halt fears.
I asked some friends to describe times when they'd felt particularly safe. One referred to a solo wilderness hike when each day "was an all-day discussion with God." Another had felt God's presence when avoiding a driving accident in which it had seemed impossible that no one would be hurt. And I remembered a minister friend who'd turned to God's love during a mugging – she'd found herself voicing the fact of God's love for her assailant, which totally disarmed the situation. "The mugging," she said, "turned into a hugging."
These people were able to see past fear and feel security. Their prayers had lifted thought and heart to discern God's presence, to respond to it, and to express Him through practical action.
Right where you are now, you can feel a divine law of peace and protection operating as a blessing to you and others. Not one of us has ever ventured, can ever venture, beyond His love. And we never will.
Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.