The recent Monitor editorial “Why prayer appeals to Americans” (CSMonitor.com) reminded me of how prayer has been an integral part of my life since I was a child. Not a day passes that I do not pray to God – acknowledging His presence, seeking His guidance, and thanking Him for His love and care. No matter where I am, I know that I can turn to God for the inspiration and understanding needed to feel His presence and accomplish whatever rightly has to be done.
I have found that my prayers have been most effective when they stem from a humble desire to understand more of the spiritual fact of God’s goodness and of our relationship to Him. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: “Are we benefited by praying? Yes, the desire which goes forth hungering after righteousness is blessed of our Father, and it does not return unto us void” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 2).
The Bible teaches that we are all children of God. It says in Malachi: “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” (2:10). And the first chapter of Genesis reveals that God created each one of us in His own image (see verses 26, 27). Since God is Spirit, we all are actually spiritual, naturally expressing divine good. We can never for a moment be separated from our heavenly Father, who loves and cares for His creation at all times.
Because this is our true identity, each of us has an innate ability to know God. When we yearn to understand and cherish our true, unchanging relationship to Him, we are naturally receptive to His healing messages, which bring inspiration and guidance.
During my senior year of college, I began applying for graduate school. It was a busy time academically, and I was feeling a great deal of stress. I remember thinking: “Father, I need Your help. I don’t know where to go, or which program to apply for.” I decided to pray about the situation and began by praying the Lord’s Prayer, which Christ Jesus gave to us (see Matthew 6:9-13). This prayer brings out God’s ability to care for us, including giving us “daily bread,” ideas that sustain and guide us.
As I sat at my desk, quietly praying, I felt a sense of peace and calm. The intense pressure I had been feeling just melted away. Unexpectedly, the idea came: “Why not go overseas for graduate school?”
I had never before considered doing this. As I continued to pray, it became clear what steps I should take and where I should go. Everything fell into place beautifully, and my time abroad was fruitful in many significant and unexpected ways. I’ve experienced the blessings of prayer, including physical healing, many other times throughout my life.
It is heartening to know that individuals throughout the United States – as well as, certainly, the world – are turning to God in prayer for comfort, guidance, and healing. God’s plan for all His children is good, and His wisdom and love are truly all-encompassing. Prayer opens our thought to seeing and proving the presence of God and His goodness. This can bring untold blessings to individuals, and have a broader effect as well, helping to support and bring healing to our communities.