As we were waving goodbye to our kids at the bus stop one morning, my neighbor turned to me and said, “You always seem so calm and peaceful. Would you mind telling me what you are taking for that?”
I realized that she wanted to know which antidepressant I was taking to help me keep calm at that chaotic stage of life. It was a reasonable question; taking care of our mental well-being is important. A 2020 National Center for Health Statistics study showed that during the decade between 2009-10 and 2017-18, antidepressant use increased among women.
But as I explained to my friend, I wasn’t taking any medication. Instead, I’ve found daily prayer to be a tremendous help in maintaining mental poise and joy. For me, this prayer isn’t passive, but an intentional act of turning my thought toward God, and then listening to inspiration from this divine source of overflowing love, comfort, wisdom, and joy.
The Bible has much to say about turning our cares over to God, such as: “The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:5, 6, English Standard Version). The nature of prayer in Christian Science isn’t just hoping for the best. It’s about listening for God’s wise and tender messages, which lift our thought away from the difficulties of our day and help us realize more tangibly the enduring peace that God establishes and maintains for all of us, His children.
When explaining to his students how to pray, Jesus told them to first “go into your room [and] close the door” (Matthew 6:6, New International Version). Or in other words, to quiet your thought and prepare yourself to listen, away from distractions. Then he says that when we pray this way, “your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”
This “reward” is thoughts that originate from God, the all-knowing source of wisdom, that open our eyes to spiritual reality. In this mental closet of prayer, we begin to realize that joy, harmony, and stability are our birthright and can never truly be lost, even briefly. In turn, this inspires solutions that meet our needs in just the right way.
Such prayer is something we can turn to as a daily practice to get our day off on the right foot and bring a fuller calm and joy to our day. The goal of such prayer is unique: to increase our awareness of the goodness, joy, and harmony that are already ours, established for us by God.
As a working mom with three small children, I found that my mornings always started better when I woke up before everyone else (sometimes that was really early!) and took time to prepare my thought for the day. I would turn to God and acknowledge that this all-loving source of wisdom and goodness was right with me throughout the day and watching over each of us. My mornings also included reading the weekly Bible Lesson from the Christian Science Quarterly, which was established by Mary Baker Eddy, who also brought us The Christian Science Monitor. The ideas in those lessons really fed my thought with a more spiritual view of the day and of the tasks before me.
On the days when I took the time to do this, I could feel the difference. Rather than the day starting like a fire drill, I felt settled and steady, prepared to meet whatever the day had in store, and I just felt a peace pervading the household.
As I briefly touched on some of this with my friend, she was intrigued by this noninvasive and uplifting approach to mental health care and wanted to learn more about it. I was happy to share.
Through prayer, we learn to trust God as divine Life, Truth, and Love, a very palpable and reliable help. Even if the troubles we’re facing seem insurmountable, this is exactly where God comes in, because to God, who is infinite Mind, nothing is impossible (see Luke 1:37). When we turn expectantly, gratefully, to God, our thoughts and lives better reflect the divine peace that God has blessed us with. Anyone can benefit from daily, deliberate prayer to God, who is always there for us and never fails to help.
Some more great ideas! To read or share an article for teenagers on making progress in the midst of difficulties titled “What can I do when everything's falling apart?” please click through to the TeenConnect section of www.JSH-Online.com. There is no paywall for this content.