When words come alive
Words are a big part of all aspects of our lives, and prayer is no exception. But communication with God goes beyond words and is felt through inspired and uplifted thinking – which brings about healing.
Seven thousand words per day. That’s about how many words, research shows, the average adult speaks each day. How many words does a person think? That varies from person to person, but probably a good number more than 7,000.
When I was in college, my primary field of study included analysis of the ways words can prompt people to make changes in themselves and their behaviors. As I progressed along in my major, it was so interesting to experiment on myself, employing words to change my perspective and outlook for the better.
Words served as valuable tools. But I found that words alone can’t develop character any more than a box of tools alone can build a house, or than repeating the word “relax” over and over can bring true calm. The spirit behind the words was crucial in bringing about inspiration and uplifted feelings and actions.
I’ve found that prayer in Christian Science takes this to the next level. It’s not at all about wordsmithing or mere positive thinking. Prayer that opens our eyes to the power of God, good, transforms thought and brings healing. Fear is replaced by feelings of comfort and confidence.
I experienced this not long ago when my thumb was inadvertently injured. The nail turned color, the thumb hurt quite a bit, and it looked as though my hand was going to be out of commission for a while.
I turned to God in prayer, starting with an acknowledgment of God’s love and presence. Then, I got quiet and just listened with expectation.
God’s answer to my prayer surprised me. It had to do not just with God’s presence, but with God’s omnipresence. What God, whom the Bible defines as Spirit and Love, was making clear to me as I listened in prayer was that, as God’s wholly spiritual creation, I express His all-present nature.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, writes: “Spirit and its formations are the only realities of being” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 264). A physical body isn’t the form that divine Spirit has given us. Spirit’s creation is without boundaries of physicality and is as spiritual and free as God is. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” said Christ Jesus (John 3:6).
From the perspective of our limitless spirituality as God’s children, this made perfect sense. “Now comes the important step,” I said to myself. I needed to get beyond the words of my answered prayer and feel their message deeply.
It was hard because of the pain. But that night, as I was overflowing with such appreciation for God’s help, I started connecting deeply with the simple fact that God’s omnipresence is expressed in God’s creation. Just as palpably as I know my name, I gave my consent to knowing myself as I really am as Spirit’s unlimited idea.
“Do Spirit’s ideas have material forms that can be hit and injured?” I asked myself. Of course not. There is no matter in infinite Spirit. Then, thought by thought, I embraced and loved what this spiritual reality was prompting me to feel – joy and comfort and peace. The pain dissipated for good and, within 48 hours, my thumb was completely free and able, with the nail continuing its normal growth.
In everyday life, we certainly are going to continue to use lots of words. The words of prayer, whether we say them ourselves, read them, or listen to God for them in our thought, get the ball rolling. Then more is needed. The Contemporary English Version of the Bible says, “The Spirit prays for us in ways that cannot be put into words” (Romans 8:26). Prayer that cures and transforms brings inspired words alive in how we truly feel and think.
Contemporary English Version, copyright © 1991, 1992, 1995 by American Bible Society. Used by permission.
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