When I was a child, there was a prayer my mother would recite to me when I was going to bed each night. It served as a way to feel close to God and to know that my Father-Mother God was with me, an ever-present source of life and love. It gave me a comforting sense of peace, protection, and care.
The prayer was a verse by Mary Baker Eddy titled “Mother’s New Year Gift to the Little Children.” It reads:
Guard me when I sleep;
Guide my little feet
Up to Thee.
(Poems, p. 69)
I continued to recite this prayer to myself as a young adult and with my campers when I was a counselor at a Christian Science summer camp. It seemed only natural, then, to share this prayer with my own children when they were growing up. And when visiting our daughter one evening, I was pleased when I heard her recite this prayer to her daughter as she was putting her to bed. Both our granddaughters love to say this prayer before they go to sleep.
This simple prayer has also served me as a healing treatment. For instance, the reference to “Father-Mother God” is so comforting when there is any kind of anxious thought or fear about some change or circumstance we may be facing.
At one point, my wife and I decided to move from our residence of 11 years to a home closer to our adult children. We began all the preparations for the move, including putting the house on the market. During this period, I became frustrated and unhappy. The whole process was tiring and inconvenient. And on two occasions buyers changed their minds, causing our house to fall out of escrow.
I tried to pray about the situation, but on top of the discouragement and irritation, I began experiencing congestion and other physical discomfort. As I went to bed one evening and continued to pray, my thought naturally turned to that loved prayer.
I affirmed that I was still God’s child, cared for and loved, and that the ever-presence of my Father-Mother God, as divine Principle, was a law of health and harmony for my family and me. God’s love is all that is needed for happiness and satisfaction. My joy was not dependent upon selling a house or moving to some new location; as God’s cared-for child, I was already and always blessed and satisfied. I also affirmed that God, divine Mind, was guarding and guiding my thoughts and keeping me alert to the fact that everything was under God’s control.
Mrs. Eddy writes, “Be firm in your understanding that the divine Mind governs, and that in Science man reflects God’s government” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 393). I knew that the Christ, the divine Truth Jesus taught and proved, would always be with me and “guard me.” I knew, too, that divine Love was guiding my “little feet”—my course of action—and providing an understanding of Love’s ever-active state of harmony and peace. Being led “up to” God in prayer, I could turn to the Bible. I thought of this reassuring verse in Psalms: “It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect” (18:32).
I felt the same childlike comfort for my wife and me that I’d felt when praying this prayer as a child—the comfort of knowing that God was caring for us. My condition quickly began to improve, and healing followed. I got a good night’s sleep, and the worries were lifted; I knew that nothing could in any way sidetrack, delay, or suspend the right activity of becoming established in our right place. Also, I knew that this home that had blessed us would now bless others. And very soon after this, a third buyer bought our house after one visit.
I am very grateful for the power and inspiration that can come from this thoughtful, simple prayer that was Mrs. Eddy’s loving gift to children. It has continued to bring the gift of healing and comforting peace to me and to my family.
Upland, California, US
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