Several years ago, I ran my first 5k Turkey Trot with a large group of family and friends. “You got this,” they assured me as we gathered at the starting line. I appreciated the encouragement I encountered along the course, especially near the end when I was tired and running uphill: “Keep it up. Finish strong!” I pressed on to the top, and with the end in sight I renewed my resolve and crossed the finish line.
I thought about this event a few months ago when I woke up with a severe ache in my side. At first I thought I had slept in a weird position and a little stretching would work out the kinks. But when I couldn’t lift my leg or bend over to put on my shoes, I feared it could be something more serious. I needed healing.
As a spiritual thinker and a student of Christian Science, it was normal for me to pray to God for help. So I stopped what I was doing and started to pray with one of the first ideas I had made my own during Christian Science Primary class instruction. It’s from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy and reads, “The starting-point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all, and that there is no other might nor Mind,—that God is Love, and therefore He is divine Principle” (p. 275).
I think of these lines as a prayer. Some may consider them more of a statement than a prayer, but I’ve learned that anything that grounds my thinking on God and helps me feel closer to Him is a good prayer. I thought back to running the 5k and realized that prayer, like a run, provides a clear starting point (God) and a clear path (spiritual reasoning).
However, I promptly got distracted by other activities. At the time, my daughter was visiting me with her three young children, and I needed to be at the top of my game.
I didn’t sleep very well that night and struggled out of bed early the next morning with the pain even worse. I was starting to feel immobile, and it was scary. I wondered how long it was going to last. Uh-oh! The question raised a red flag. Was I asking God, Spirit, to fix a material body? A Bible verse from the book of James came to mind: “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss” (4:3). I knew I needed to ask for a clearer understanding of my part in Spirit’s complete and loved creation. I needed to continue the prayer I started the day before and, as in the 5k, take it to the finish line.
Since my small house was beginning to bustle with the day’s activities, I decided to go out for my morning run and get some alone time with my heavenly Father to continue my prayer. I took it slow, and as I moved along I reasoned that since God is the only cause and creator, He is my only true source, my originator. And since God is Spirit, I must be spiritual. In reality, matter has no basis of existence because it has no creator. This is explained in Science and Health like this: “Because matter has no consciousness or Ego, it cannot act; its conditions are illusions, and these false conditions are the source of all seeming sickness” (p. 368). I certainly didn’t have to be afraid of an illusion.
I thought about another one of my favorite prayers, which is actually Eddy’s answer to a question posed in the same book: “What is the scientific statement of being?” The passage begins, “There is no life, truth, intelligence, nor substance in matter” (p. 468). And then it hit me: Matter has no mind or power to record time or condition. Matter can’t remember! It has no intelligence to create or cause an experience for a spiritual idea of God’s creating—me! There was no reason for, or record of, pain.
Whoa! This revelation stopped me in my tracks. I was wowed by the implications of this simple spiritual fact. My thought completely changed from fear to freedom. I stood there basking in that light for a moment and then finished my run.
The pain disappeared sometime after that, although I can’t say exactly when because the real healing happened with the realization that God is all and matter is nothing. I spent the rest of the week with complete mobility in all activities with my guests.
The pain has not returned since, and now when I’m tempted to be distracted from prayer, I remember that taking the time to prayerfully address and heal a problem right when it arises is sure to bring freedom. Paul the Apostle put it this way: “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). It’s always the right time to take our prayer to the finish line.
Cresco, Iowa, US
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