My favorite 'go to' app

It seems as if there's no end to the variety of ways mobile applications help us organize details, minimize busy work, find information, and connect with others throughout our very full days. I've really grown to appreciate such little helpers as GPS maps, shared grocery lists, reminders, to-do organizers, even those times I've needed a calculator or a compass, then realized "there's an app for that" right in my pocket.

But the most "applicable" app I've found is absolutely free, and doesn't need an Internet connection, or even an electronic device. It's always available, and will never get lost. It's called prayer.

We can access prayer at any time for any need by quietly listening to God – our innate sense of a divine intelligence, goodness, rightness, and direction. The ability to pray effectively is something we all have, but many don't realize it or utilize it. As the book of Joshua in the Bible assures us, "The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go" (Joshua 1:9, New International Version). By appealing directly to God, as divine Mind or infinite intelligence, we tap into a rich variety of solutions. And the answers may be wonderfully creative and inventive, or purely simple and inspiring – such as the idea of freeing a truck stuck under a low bridge by deflating the tires.

But effective prayer isn't asking God for a particular outcome, or even to verify our opinion of how we'd like the problem to be solved. It's an open-minded, humble, flexible, quiet listening to God for what is most right and best in any given situation. It's quieting fear, or human impulse, and letting God do the talking.

Learning to listen for God's direction in daily decisions – to "pray as we go" – I've found can meet needs I didn't even know I had, and often in very unexpected ways.

For instance, one nice summer evening, while driving back from a vacation in Maine, I decided to pray by specifically identifying the beautiful God-like qualities that surrounded me: a magnificent sunset, lush tree-blanketed mountains, even the harmony and order of the traffic on the roads. Then, out of the blue, the thought came that I should back off a bit from the car in front of me. As soon as I had moved back a few car lengths, the metal boat attached to that car broke loose and landed right where my car had been just seconds earlier. It bounced in front of me and rolled off the other side of the highway. No one was hurt. I truly felt the praying I had been doing opened my thought to hear God's clear protecting direction.

The application of prayer throughout the day can not only help us avoid problems, but it tends to guide all our thoughts, actions, and decisions to bring the best possible results.

As Mary Baker Eddy once wrote to some of her students: "You will reap the sure reward of right thinking and acting, of watching and praying, and you will find the ever-present God an ever-present help" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 254).

So download your prayer app today. The more you use it, the better it gets!

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.