The speed of prayer

A Christian Science perspective.

Karl was on third base. Emerson was the catcher. I was pitching. The batter hit the ball “inside,” which sent it down toward third base, but well into foul territory. One of our college colleagues was sitting on the grass off the third-base area and got smacked on the side of her head with the batted ball. Instantly, she collapsed.

Karl, Emerson, and I immediately rushed over to help her, and to voice spiritual truths about God and man since we were students of Christian Science, and so was the young woman. Some members of the other team also started shouting things, in fun, that it was “all the pitcher’s fault. A bad inside pitch ...” Ignoring their shouts, I quickly began declaring to myself, and to her, even though she was unconscious, that she was God’s perfect child, safe and secure in God’s omnipotent care. And that nothing could harm or injure her. The three of us knelt beside her for a few minutes, and then she suddenly sat up as if nothing had happened. She smiled, and recognized each one of us. She stayed there on the sidelines for the rest of the game.

That week, or the next, she gave a lovely testimony at our Christian Science College Organization meeting.

Even though that brief experience happened years ago, it still sits on the sidelines of my thought because of its wonderful example regarding the speed of prayer. We all knew how fast the batted ball was traveling, but we also knew, to some degree, the speed and vitality of sincere and loving prayer. We knew, to some degree, that God’s love and goodness were always present, and that she was never separated from that love and goodness for a moment. Our immediate prayers simply acknowledged her inseparable relationship to God and helped us know that she was never in danger but always in God’s safe and loving care.

My baseball friends and I did not have to wait for someone to come to the rescue or for her body to collect itself into a so-called recovery mode. Or for the ticking clock to bring her back to consciousness. We prayed instantly, immediately, and expectantly. And she was healed.

The Bible urges us to be “instant,” to pray with quick response and immediacy whether it seems urgent or not. It says, “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season” (II Timothy 4:2). Whether the problem facing us is acute or chronic, we can still pray immediately. We can turn to God and know the truth of our God-given perfection right when the suggestion of pain, suffering, discord, or inharmony presents itself, even if the difficulty seems to have been around for a long time. We can be “instant” in prayer that acknowledges God’s ever-present power and goodness. We don’t have to wait another moment to address the problem as a lie about our true identity and realize God’s immediate presence. We are whole and intact, because we are God’s son or daughter.

Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, writes: “Jesus never asked if disease were acute or chronic, and he never recommended attention to laws of health, never gave drugs, never prayed to know if God were willing that a man should live. He understood man, whose Life is God, to be immortal, and knew that man has not two lives, one to be destroyed and the other to be made indestructible” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 369).

Instead of waiting for occasions in which to turn to God in prayer, there is no reason we cannot be praying to keep thought alive with spiritual truths of God and man’s real being as God’s idea – be conscious of His ever-presence and experience divine goodness.

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