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Sports–playing & praying

From the March 5, 2012 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel


Nathan
Courtesy photo

Something that I really love about Christian Science is its practicality and its healing power that brings results. Playing sports is one activity in my life where I can really demonstrate this. Sports is an area for spiritual growth, a place where we recognize our real spiritual sense and are led to “divine heights.”

During my high-school soccer season this fall, I was able to pray in many different situations and see results. For example, during tryouts I focused on keeping my thought uplifted and centered on God. I reminded myself that I was playing to “express, not impress.” By focusing on expressing God and all of His qualities that were mine as His reflection—and not worrying about impressing the coaches who were watching me—I played much better.

Another issue that sometimes came up during the season was conflict within my team. We lost our first game of the season, and during this loss and in the practices after there was a lot of arguing and fighting among teammates. Everyone was pointing fingers and looking for someone to blame. To counter this mind-set, I prayed with the idea that it is perfectly natural for there to be harmony, and that discord is not a quality of God and His likeness, man. This statement from Science and Health helped me: “It is our ignorance of God, the divine Principle, which produces apparent discord, and the right understanding of Him restores harmony” (p. 390). I continued to keep an uplifted thought, and to be the best teammate that I could be. Eventually, I noticed a more harmonious and focused mind-set for the whole team. Soon the fighting stopped, and we started playing well together again.

I also had a wonderful healing of an injury during the season. I began having pain in one of my knees, and it was limiting my ability to be the best that I could be. It hurt especially when I ran, and I wasn’t able to move as quickly and freely as I normally do. This injury nagged me for several weeks, although it wasn’t enough to prevent me from playing and practicing.

I had to realize that it is God who is providing all my strength and ability to play the game I love.

Whenever I’ve faced a situation like this in the past, I’ve always turned to prayer for healing through Christian Science. I knew my knee could be healed, that I could play free of pain or limitation, and that I couldn’t suddenly stop having fun. I asked my Sunday School teacher, who is also a Christian Science practitioner, for prayerful support. He shared a passage with me from Isaiah: “Strengthen ye the weak hands, and confirm the feeble knees” (35:3). This really struck me as a direct application of a truth from the Bible to my own experience. I took it as a promise that God would help me. 

My Sunday School teacher also shared a quote from Science and Health: “Mind’s infinite ideas run and disport themselves. In humility they climb the heights of holiness” (p. 514). The word disport in this sentence means to play or move without restraint. This statement really showed to me that since I was an expression of God, one of Mind’s infinite ideas, I could be free from the suggestion that I was material or limited in some way. I am God’s infinite reflection, and an erroneous picture of my being—such as the suggestion that I’m made up of parts that can be injured—can do nothing to hinder me.

I also loved the part in the quote about humility. I saw how humility is being open to what divine Mind knows, as opposed to what the material senses are telling me. I had to take this mind-set, and realize that it is God who is providing all my strength and ability to play the game I love—not me using human willpower to fight through the injury. I could be “on my knees” in prayer, striving to be humble. Humility and meekness are essential qualities to an athlete’s full expression of God.

Realigning my thought, and bringing humility into it, really helped. The pain lessened as I prayed for the next few days, and soon it disappeared completely. Later that same day, I was playing in a tightly contested game, and the score was tied with about 30 seconds left. I was playing striker, and I was able to score a goal using a burst of speed and finesse to give our team the win. During this moment, as well as throughout the whole game, I was completely free from any pain or limitation of movement. And the healing has been permanent. I am extremely grateful for this healing, as it is proof to me of the absolute power of the Christ. 

As an athlete, I love being able to turn to Christian Science for healing and support.


Nathan Bermel is a sophomore and plays on his high school's soccer, basketball, and lacrosse teams.

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