Finding solutions through prayer

A Christian Science perspective: On turning to God for inspiration that brings solutions for our everyday needs.

Having just started a new job in a big city, I needed a place to live, but I didn’t have a lot of time to look for something. I decided to earnestly pray about it, as I have often found this to be effective, even in challenging situations.

I felt comforted by this statement Christ Jesus used to preface the Lord’s Prayer: “Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:8). God, who is divine Love, is the source and supply of all good for His children – all of us, made in His spiritual image (see Genesis 1:26, 27). Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes: “God is not influenced by man. The ‘divine ear’ is not an auditory nerve. It is the all-hearing and all-knowing Mind, to whom each need of man is always known and by whom it will be supplied” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 7). Praying to better understand that in spiritual reality God could never leave us wanting makes us more receptive to the ideas and inspiration that bring solutions. Indeed, as I prayed with these truths, not only did they comfort me, but I felt very confident that things would work out if I humbly listened for God’s direction.

Within hours of praying in this way, a friend who knew I was looking for a place to live called to tell me about small apartments available in a rooming house where a former neighbor of mine, a delightful lady, was living. But I knew most of the residents of this house were retirees, and since I was a young professional at the time, I didn’t think I belonged there. I told my friend I wasn’t interested, though I wrote down the phone number anyway.

That evening I began to think of what had happened. I’d had a need. I’d prayed sincerely about it. I’d felt confident that God would meet my need. The phone had rung with a possible solution. And without even taking the time to think or pray about it, I’d said, “No.”

As I thought about it prayerfully, I wondered about my reasoning. Did it really matter if I was living with people my own age? I felt led to call the owners of the rooming house after all, and scheduled a visit.

As soon as I walked in the front door, I knew it was the right place for me. It was a lovely home very close to my new workplace, and though it was an older building, the owner and his wife kept it in perfect condition. The rent was reasonable and included free parking, which was hard to come by. And I wasn’t required to put down any rent up front, which was very helpful to me since I was just starting a new job.

I felt as though I was joining a family. It was a perfect place for me to live those next few years. In addition to renewing a friendship with my former neighbor, I also made many new friends among the residents.

It may seem obvious, but the lesson I learned from that experience years ago taught me not to outline or resist the good God has for us when we ask Him for help. It’s good to be open-minded, even willing to be surprised at how our individual needs are specifically met. An essential part of our prayer in turning to God for an answer is to let go of how we think things “should” work out, and to trust the spiritual conviction, wisdom, and peace we naturally gain through heartfelt prayer. In this way, we become more receptive to the inspiration that reveals to us God’s unchanging, ample provision for His children, and brings evidence of that truth in practical solutions.

Each man, woman, and child can turn to God with a sincere and trusting heart and gain the conviction and understanding that as His spiritual ideas, we are already safe, secure, and lovingly cared for. This is not blind faith, but an understanding of the spiritual reality Christ Jesus demonstrated. Awakening in some degree to the fact that God is all good and is our caring Father-Mother, we find increased freedom from fear and limitation, and we experience more of divine Love’s impeccable provision for each of us.

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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.”

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