A number of years ago a friend and I often spent our lunchtime in a small room in the building where we worked – a room that had a television and VCR – watching old movies. We’d see a third or half of a comedy or suspense film, whatever time would allow, while eating our sandwiches. We’d finish the movie in the next day or two. These were good times, and for a while they gave us a helpful break from the demands of the workday.
A diversion like that can sometimes bring welcome refreshment. But as many people have found, there’s a deeper, more meaningful kind of refreshment that comes through the mental stillness found in prayer. A verse in the Bible’s book of Psalms says, in part, “Be still, and know that I am God” (46:10). Those words suggest that it’s important to spend time cultivating a receptivity to what’s coming to thought from our divine source, from the one God who is entirely good and whose guidance and inspiration provide the answers we need.
It can be challenging sometimes to break away from the demands of everyday living, or from the lure of computers or mobile devices, to simply be still and listen mentally for God’s healing, uplifting, purifying thoughts. Yet each of us truly needs more than a steady intake of information about the material world – as engrossing as it may sometimes be – or the constant chatter of human opinions. Thought needs to be touched by the divine; it needs to discern something of the spiritual and perfect, created by God. That has the effect of enriching everyday experience. The book of Psalms also says, “I will hear what God the Lord will speak: for he will speak peace unto his people, and to his saints” (85:8).
The Bible indicates that Christ Jesus made prayer a priority and saw it as a necessity. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, “Jesus prayed; he withdrew from the material senses to refresh his heart with brighter, with spiritual views” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 32). Jesus’ unparalleled understanding of life as the wholly spiritual, perfect outcome of the one perfect God, Spirit, underlay his ability to bring healing to human experience. He saw beyond the limited, material, flesh-based sense of life, which is labeled “reality,” to the actual, divine reality of existence fashioned by God.
Each of us can gain, at least to some degree, a perception of the spiritual truth of existence, and experience the benefits of that higher view. Listening to the divine Mind, God, in the quiet of prayer is at the heart of this work.
For example, one day several years ago I began to suffer from aggressive symptoms of a cold or flu. As the day went on and evening came along, the situation hadn’t changed at all, despite my prayers. So at bedtime, I decided to sit up for a while and simply listen for God’s thoughts, to sense His loving presence. I felt this would help put an end to the trouble. I sat there for an hour or so, striving to keep out thoughts of suffering and to let in the light of divine Truth and Love. As a result, the mental turmoil – and physical discomfort – had quieted sufficiently so that I could get some sleep. When I woke up with some lingering symptoms a couple hours later, I went back to that listening mode of prayer and was able to get to sleep again.
In the morning I felt much better with only a hint of the symptoms remaining. At each step in this experience there was a greater feeling of divine Love’s presence and the harmony it brings, and a diminishing of the sickness. I drifted off to sleep for about 15 more minutes and woke up completely healed. It wasn’t just that the symptoms had disappeared, but I had a feeling of total peace. I saw vividly that the mortal sense of selfhood, with its suffering, had no connection with who I really was as God’s child. To me, this was a direct result of that quiet listening to what God is saying – to the peace and harmony He is always imparting to, and expressing in, His offspring.
No one should miss out on the healing, spiritual refreshment that communion with our creator can bring.