A Christian Science perspective: On finding a moment to pray for peace and harmony.

During the summer, where I live, many people take advantage of the warm weather and head for the nearest body of water to spend time with family and friends. But amid all the summer activity, vacations, and visiting with loved ones, it may be hard to find a quiet moment to think or pray.

Prayer is usually an essential part of every day for me. It doesn’t really matter what challenges or joys my day holds – prayer tends to keep my thought clear, inspired, and steady. So when I was having trouble finding the time or place to pray with a house filled with guests one holiday weekend, I woke up early one morning to pray.

Some people like to pray by just getting quiet and listening for inspiration from God; others turn to the Lord’s Prayer, given to us by Christ Jesus in the Bible (see Matthew 6:9-13). In giving his disciples this prayer for all time and all people, he also told them how to pray. He instructed them to go into their “closet,” to shut the door on any distractions or disruptions (Matthew 6:6). His healing works showed that prayer could take place anywhere, as we mentally shut the door on distractions.

In search of my own mental “closet,” I took my paddle board and headed out to the lake. It was quiet on the water and drawing long strokes with the paddle, I felt a vast sense of infinity. The lake stretched way beyond where the eye could see, reminding me in a way of God’s allness. As I prayed, I soon reached a peaceful altitude of thought, where prayer came easily.

The prayer that came to my thought that morning was the “Daily Prayer,” written by Christian Science Discoverer Mary Baker Eddy. It can be found in her “Manual of The Mother Church” on page 41: “ ‘Thy kingdom come;’ let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!”

It is a prayer that for me is so clear and practical that it has become a “go-to” prayer anytime I need to bring harmony to a situation. I find that turning to this prayer, as well as the Lord’s Prayer, helps me move my thought away from worldly concerns or worries to the inspiration and revelations that God is constantly bringing to each of us. Without fail, these prayers turn my thought Godward, and new and inspiring ideas fuel my own prayers. I soon find the answers I am looking for, including healing.

As I paddled farther out, the words of the “Daily Prayer” sank in and began to lift and enlighten my thought. As I prayed deeply about each line, I was able to get a clear sense that God’s tender presence – the realm of absolute harmony – is right here, right now. I felt the inspiration of this prayer begin to cast out of my thinking any fear, anxiety, worry, anger, or ill will that was lingering there and might threaten to overturn my day. I felt myself yield to the presence, power, and government of God, whom the Bible describes as divine Life, Truth, and Love. That government is already established in His spiritual creation, including you and me and all of us.

I could see how God’s mighty power and divinity were not only embracing me in this moment, but all of humanity. Understanding that we all come from God gave me a calm confidence that God does indeed govern and care for everyone, wherever we are, no matter our circumstance. Prayer shows us that we can always discover our God-given harmony and feel the certainty that the goodness of God is governing here and now. This brings peace and harmony to our lives.

On that day, I stayed with the “Daily Prayer” and its holy message and let it wash over me. Feeling that clear sense of harmony and peace guiding me again, I turned my paddle board around and headed back.

As I approached my family and guests, I felt bathed in joy, and a sweet and sure sense of God’s presence and harmonious control stayed with me throughout the day.

It isn’t just in church that we can pray and find peace. I’ve found that God is everywhere and that we can find His harmony in the quiet closet of prayer wherever we may be.

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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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