Making New Year’s resolutions was an important way for me to monitor my progress in early adulthood. Many of my resolutions reflected a deep desire to achieve specific career goals, so I’d identify exactly what I wanted to achieve within a given time frame and then work diligently toward the desired outcome. This approach worked well for me, and it helped me stay focused and organized.
After I became a student of Christian Science, my concept of how to monitor progress shifted. My life became less about working within a tight yearly time frame to achieve specific goals, and more about actively thinking of God as infinitely good, as the divine Principle that is always present to govern and direct the details of my life.
With this spiritual perspective, my prayers for progress now began with a deep trust that our Father-Mother God’s promise of good for all His, Her, children would naturally be manifested in my life. And I didn’t necessarily have to know exactly how this would come about. One of my favorite Bible verses from Matthew undergirded this new perspective: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (5:6).
A related promise that I dearly love is this one from Mary Baker Eddy’s Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds” (p. 1). I’ve memorized this statement and enjoy pondering it whenever I am seeking God’s loving guidance and direction. A page later in this same chapter, we read: “Are we benefited by praying? Yes, the desire which goes forth hungering after righteousness is blessed of our Father, and it does not return unto us void.”
I began my prayers by thinking about my motive.
So, when our desire to improve our lives, and the lives of others, springs from the Christianly scientific understanding of God as the inexhaustible source of good, and of man as God’s image and likeness, then we can be assured that divine goodness will become apparent in our lives in timely ways. As we listen to Love’s leadings and are willing and eager to follow obediently, good unfolds in ways we could not possibly have outlined.
As my practice of Christian Science matured over the years, I joyfully relied on God to meet my needs. At one point, I was living on a small island in the Caribbean, where I worked as a teacher. My children were away at university, and so I was free to embark on a new adventure.
I was cherishing the idea of going to graduate school to further my education. There weren’t any resources to pay for graduate school, so I began my prayers by thinking about my motive for wanting to make this change. I knew from experience that if my motives were upright, then I could trust divine Love to show me what steps to take; so I made a list of spiritual qualities that I loved to express in my work and another list of qualities associated with being in graduate school. I then acknowledged that these qualities already existed in God, infinite Mind, and therefore I already included them as the reflection of perfect Mind.
Praying persistently with this idea from Science and Health really helped: “Working and praying with true motives, your Father will open the way” (p. 326). And this passage from Exodus, something God communicated to Moses, also inspired me: “I will make all my goodness pass before thee” (33:19).
My conviction of God’s government of my life deepened.
Each night, I set aside time to prayerfully affirm that in the universe of Mind there was a right place for me to be educated and that it was divine Spirit that would guide me. I prayed this way for many months, and as I did, my conviction of God’s government of my life deepened.
During this time a church member gave me a brochure of a summer program for adults on a college campus in the United States. I applied to attend, and when I was there, I met some of the professors in the education department. Our collegial conversations blossomed into friendships, and through my connections with these friends I learned about opportunities to work in the institution’s kindergarten through grade 12 program. I applied and was successful. One of the benefits of working there was that the school contributed generously to the cost of my graduate education, and, in return, I joyfully contributed to its educational program.
One valuable lesson that I learned from this experience is that we don’t need to humanly outline specific dates, times, or places where we want to see progress in our lives—whereas, prior to this experience I had thought prayer meant telling God what I wanted to do and when I wanted to do it. Instead, we can trust this wonderful promise from Mrs. Eddy’s The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, that “we live in an age of Love’s divine adventure to be All-in-all” (p. 158).
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