Several years ago, I ran my first 5K Turkey Trot with a large group of family and friends. “You got this,” they assured me as we gathered at the starting line. I appreciated the encouragement I encountered along the course, especially near the end when I was tired and running uphill: “Keep it up. Finish strong!” I pressed on to the top, and with the end in sight I renewed my resolve and crossed the finish line.
I thought about this event a few months ago when I woke up with a severe ache in my side. At first I thought I had slept in a weird position and a little stretching would work out the kinks. But when I couldn’t lift my leg or bend over to put on my shoes, I feared it could be something more serious. I needed healing.
As a spiritual thinker and a student of Christian Science, it was normal for me to pray to God for help. So I stopped what I was doing and started to pray with an idea from “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, that grounds my thinking in God and helps me feel closer to Him. It reads, “The starting-point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind, – that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle” (p. 275).
I thought back to running the 5K and realized that this kind of prayer, like a run, provides a clear starting point (God) and a clear path (spiritual reasoning). In this case, the passage pointed me to the idea that God is the only true power and creator.
However, I promptly got distracted from my prayers by other activities. At the time, my daughter was visiting me with her three young children, and I needed to be at the top of my game.
I didn’t sleep very well that night and struggled out of bed early the next morning with the pain even worse. I was starting to feel immobile, and it was scary. I wondered how long it was going to last.
This got me thinking about what I was really praying for. A Bible verse from the book of James came to mind: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss” (4:3). Thinking about God as Spirit and as All, I realized that this infinite Spirit couldn’t know or create matter. So what I actually needed to ask for was not for God, Spirit, to fix a material body, but for me to have a clearer understanding of my part in God’s complete and loved spiritual creation. I needed to continue the prayer I had started the day before and, as in the 5K, take it to the finish line.
Since my small house was beginning to bustle with the day’s activities, I decided to go out for my morning run and get some alone time with my heavenly Father to continue my prayer. I took it slow, and as I moved along I reasoned that since God is the only real creator, He is my only true source, my originator. And since God is Spirit, I must be spiritual.
I thought about another one of my favorite prayers, which is actually Mrs. Eddy’s answer to this question posed in Science and Health: “What is the scientific statement of being?” The passage begins, “There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter” (p. 468). As I considered this radical statement that true substance isn’t material, another thought hit me: Matter has no ability to impact God’s spiritual creation – including me, and everyone!
Whoa! This revelation stopped me in my tracks. I was wowed by the implications of this simple spiritual fact, which through prayer we can discern with our inherent spiritual sense – even when the scene around us indicates otherwise. The impact was powerful. My thought completely shifted from fear to freedom. I stood there basking in that light for a moment and then finished my run.
I spent the rest of the week with complete mobility in all activities with my guests. The pain has not returned since.
The Bible’s book of Hebrews says: “Let us lay aside every weight ... and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (12:1). It’s always the right time to take our prayer to the finish line.
Adapted from a testimony published in the Christian Science Sentinel, Feb. 12, 2018.