Last week a friend from Southern California called and told me she was evacuated from her home because her town was directly in the path of a fire. She asked me to join her in prayer. I of course agreed to pray with her, for the safety of her home and for the whole of her community.
My friend and I texted over the days she wasn’t allowed to return to her home. We shared spiritual insights we were gaining from prayer. My prayers were focused on attaining a deeper sense of the divine calm mentioned by the Psalmist: “Be still, and know that I am God” (Psalms 46:10). This stillness allows us to hear God’s assurances of the presence of divine power, which begin to replace fear with trust in that power. I felt God’s love embracing all, including my friend.
One night my friend texted that her town was threatened by flames, fanned by winds that were predicted to reach gusts of 80 miles per hour. I prayed diligently for the pervasive sense of fear to lift, knowing from many experiences of healing that when we turn our thought to God, with an expectant heart, asking for help, our merciful God is always there to comfort and guide us, and to reassure us of the divine omnipresence of omnipotence. I love considering this idea of the ever-presence of God’s all-power in prayer, because it deepens my sense of what God is and is doing for His creation. As I prayed it gradually became clear to me that because, in reality, God’s goodness indeed was everywhere, there was nothing to fear.
I stuck with this spiritual fact until the understanding of it had removed every vestige of fear, and I felt a sweet, quiet sense of peace. This calm was not something I had mustered up, but it was clear to me it came from God. It was a stillness so deep and encompassing that it left no room for fear in its presence. I was in awe and profoundly grateful.
Early the next morning, my friend reported that her home was safe and the whole community had been spared. In fact an article in the Los Angeles Times, naming her town, read, “It was truly a miracle that the predicted fierce winds failed to materialize…. Thank God” (Dec. 7, 2017). The sweet sense of stillness and trust in God that leaves no room for fear remains with me as I continue to pray – especially for those who have experienced loss in these fires, and for those still under threat of loss.
Undoubtedly many have been praying about the fires. And as we continue to pray we can have the confidence that prayer is a power. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, says of prayer: “In divine Science, where prayers are mental, all may avail themselves of God as ‘a very present help in trouble’ ” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 12). As we discern and embrace the truth of God’s ever-presence and all-power in profound stillness, we can expect to actually bear witness to the presence of God’s loving, protecting government, which in turn has a palpable effect in our lives.
Every evidence of God’s power, however small, fills us with hope that the world can become freer of the fears that beset it. Finding the stillness where God’s power is felt opens the way for us to discover that our prayers can exert an influence for good.