Spiritual listening or information processing?

Most of us would probably say that we wish we had more opportunity for quiet thought. Perhaps we feel we need to listen more diligently for God's guidance as the Bible says Samuel did in the face of crucial decisions. When Samuel was choosing the next king of Israel from among Jesse's sons, God spoke to him and led him to make a choice he might have ignored if he had relied only on his own human perceptions. God said, "The Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart." I Sam. 16:7.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ Jesus said: "When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly." Matt. 6:6. Writing of Jesus' command, Mrs. Eddy says: "The closet typifies the sanctuary of Spirit, the door of which shuts out sinful sense but lets in Truth, Life, and Love. Closed to error, it is open to Truth, and vice versa." Science and Health, p. 15.

We do need to withdraw from the conflicting views and arguments that human thought presents, and we need to seek the clear, pure inspiration found in the omnipotence of God and the absolute perfection of His creation. This withdrawal, this effort to understand more of God—of Truth, Life, and Love—is not a matter of running from a difficulty or ignoring it. In the quiet of spiritual listening, we are opening thought to the divine intelligence, to Mind, the creator of all that is. What we learn in these moments of prayer is practical and of immediate help in our daily affairs. Prayer helps keep our thought free from fear, hate, and mortal trivialities that would fill our thinking. We are impelled to act more effectively, to think more incisively, and to love in such a way as to heal.

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March 24, 1986

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