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A gentle prayer that heals fear

From the March 20, 2017 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

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I once learned a wonderful spiritual lesson about healing fear. It happened when I was engaged in a favorite pastime: traveling on a water-powered funicular railway between two towns that are separated by a 500-foot cliff.

This funicular railway consists of two counterbalanced carriages on parallel sets of rails, and one carriage is pulled up and the other is lowered by cables. When each carriage is docked at its respective town with full water tanks, then the carriages are “balanced” because they weigh the same. The driver of the carriage at the bottom of the cliff discharges the water from his tank so that the carriage at the top of the cliff becomes heavier. The top carriage then rolls slowly down the rails, pulling the bottom carriage up at the same time. The positions of the carriages are then reversed for the next trip. 

One day when my family and I arrived to board the carriage at the top of the steep cliff, there was already a long line of people, and I became aware of feelings of apprehension and anxiety among the group. 

I began to pray, and I thought of a favorite Bible passage that had comforted me in times past: “For I am persuaded, that neither … height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38, 39).

I knew that this articulated a law of God that was applicable to everyone. This law assured me that nothing could separate us from the love of God, and I knew and mentally affirmed that fear could not interfere with the joy of the day.

I quietly prayed to know that ignorance and fear were not included in God’s plan for His children.

Soon a carriage rose up the cliff and would soon take us down. As we settled in our seats, a young woman sat with her eyes closed and her hands clenched. Seated next to her, a mother tried to comfort her young daughter, who looked frightened.  

I quietly prayed to know that ignorance and fear were not included in God’s plan for His children. Then I felt impelled to speak to the young daughter. I said, “This train is driven by water. If you listen, you can hear the water being pumped into the tank underneath us.” She immediately began listening as did everyone nearby. When our carriage started to gently move down the cliff, I told the little girl to watch for the twin carriage coming up.  

When the twin carriage passed us, there was general acclaim from the entire group, including the girl, who was now shouting joyfully. Something wonderful happened: The passengers all seemed to have lost their fear because there was much chatter and appreciation of the unfolding scene. Some even stood (it was safe to do this) to get a better view of the sea and of the town below. When we gently glided into the station, a happy group of passengers disembarked, ready to enjoy the seaside town.

As I thought of this experience, I realized that much more than just the law of gravity was at work. God’s law of Love was in action to cast out fear and to demonstrate happiness and ever-present goodness for all. 

We are told in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “Casting out evil and fear enables truth to outweigh error” (p. 392). God’s law of healing, operating in my thought, had a transformative effect on the mental atmosphere that day. Fears were cast out of thought, and joy and spiritual peace were felt by all.

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