A prayer lesson from knitting

A Christian Science perspective: God doesn’t require mastery but humility and a willingness to lean on Him.

I started knitting as a way to do something relaxing. But in those early days it was far from a peaceful hobby. I worried about dropping stitches and getting the yarn in knots. My stitches were tight, leaving barely enough room for the other needle to enter the loops. Total focus was required.

Though I’ve loosened up and found a more fluid pace to my knitting, I often chuckle about my nascent determination toward this craft and find it instructive regarding how to be more fluid in other areas of life, such as prayer. I’m learning that in a sense prayer is like knitting; if tightly wound around a personal agenda or wrapped by fear, it leaves little room for the Divine. God is the impetus for prayer. God is what our prayers are turning us to. God is the cause of all being – central to the fabric of life.

Here are a few prayers that help me loosen up and rely on God:

  • “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalms 51:10).
  • “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law” (Psalms 119:18).
  • “[W]hat doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8).
  • “[L]et the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me” (Mary Baker Eddy, “Church Manual,” p. 41).

These prayers give shape to our desire to be spiritual – to cleanse, be open, ask God for direction, and let God work in us. Self-reliance is futile when we understand that God already governs and controls every aspect of the universe with tenderness and love. Prayer brings peace and clarity and allows us to go forward in life.

A friend told me about a time in his life when he was tightly wound by despair and alcoholism. He used to pray before bed, “God, take my life!” By this he meant that he wanted God to end his life. One day, God did take his life, but not in the way he expected. My friend turned from being driven by an addiction and by self-will. Instead, he let God infuse his every thought and his whole being. Through prayer he started to find ways to help other people and think beyond himself. He’s now happily employed, married, and free from addiction.

These words from a loved hymn by Frances Havergal capture what it means to let in the light of God and recalibrate one’s life direction:

Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
(“Christian Science Hymnal,” No. 324 © CSBD)

The bottom line is that we can’t do it alone. Being tight with our prayers and lives means that we think we’re in control. As it’s hard to knit with rigid stitches, it’s hard to know God if we rely only on ourselves. Be assured, God doesn’t require mastery but humility and a willingness to lean on Him.

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