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Safe from the storm

From the November 13, 2017 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

Originally appeared online in the teen series: Q&A - September 19, 2017

TeenConnect: Q&A

Q: Can we really stop bad weather with prayer?

A: Here’s my story. I was helping on my uncle’s ranch one summer. As with all ranches and farms, weather played a big role in both day-to-day operations as well as in the farm’s success. So there was always an awareness of the weather. One afternoon, I was working with some animals, and my grandpa pulled up in his truck to let me know that there was a huge storm approaching. From the looks of it, the storm included hail and a high probability of major crop destruction.

My grandpa was a Christian Scientist, as am I, and he asked me to pray for the ranch. I was tempted to feel in over my head. What was I against a massive storm? But I had recently taken a 12-day course on spiritual healing called Christian Science Primary class instruction, and I remembered that I’d learned the importance of starting and staying with God in my prayers, instead of trying to balance fear with trust in God. I didn’t know how to “turn off” the fear I was feeling, though. So I just turned my thoughts to gratitude for the ranch, for the country, for my family, and for the rightness of diversity in God’s creation, which naturally includes a variety of only useful and harmless conditions governing all things. 

This gratitude led me to prayer—to trust more clearly in the safety of our farm and the entire region. And not just safety from a storm, but safety from the viciousness or randomness of bad weather, of being victimized by anything. This safety is an aspect of God’s government over His creation, and He is the only power, the only government. I loved having this opportunity to pray, and I soon became aware of a gentle breeze. I looked up, and the dark clouds had almost completely dissipated. My grandpa came back a little later and let me know that all was well for our farm and all surrounding farms. The storm never materialized.

I was tempted to feel in over my head. What was I against a massive storm?

I don’t share this story because I think I stopped the storm. I share it because the experience of having my thought transformed entirely—from fear and a belief in the victimizing power of randomness, to gratitude and an increased awareness of God’s protecting, loving power—is a clear example of the importance of starting in the right place when we pray. Rather than starting from the standpoint that the universe we live in is subject to randomness, terror, and catastrophe, what about if the premise of our prayers is that God governs, that Spirit is real and All? Well, then we are open to the immensity of God’s love for us, and this love removes fear, inspires and strengthens our prayers, and brings a conviction of safety.

What about when a storm has already hit? Even then, we can base our prayers on a correct premise. The opinions of the world do seem to allow for terrible experiences. But when we courageously and humbly turn to God, we realize that He can and does inform us of His presence, His love, as the only real power. And a greater awareness of that perfect love allows us to see how we can keep moving forward. How we can be helpful both practically and prayerfully, and how we can usher in a greater awareness of God’s protecting presence for everyone.

Praying to “stop bad weather” sounds like a huge task when we think of it in those terms, perhaps because prayer seems small or insignificant in the face of a raging storm. But since prayer is an acknowledgment of God’s law in operation, the more we acknowledge God’s law, are obedient to that law (keeping our thought true to it), the more we feel and experience the beneficial, protecting effects of that law. We actually experience that law of God in operation in our lives and feel more deeply all the effects of God’s government, including safety, restoration, and peace. 

Your prayers about evil or troubling events of any kind do make a difference. Because every shining light of trust in God lessens the darkness and follows Mary Baker Eddy’s call to Christian Scientists to “lessen evil, disease, and death” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 450)—and this includes neutralizing the effects of bad weather, and even stopping predicted storms from materializing. 

Originally appeared online in the teen series: Q&A - September 19, 2017

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