Prayer can resolve economic hardship
Just when it seemed that nothing was going to save us from bankruptcy, we began to feel the effects of prayer.
My husband’s business had been struggling for a while and was now in serious financial trouble. Debt was piling up. We sold a piece of land to pay the outstanding tax bill, avoiding immediate closure, but it was not enough to keep us afloat. We still owed a lot of other taxes and could not secure a tax clearance certificate, which we needed in order to purchase a new delivery vehicle. The vehicle we had was old and broke down regularly, resulting in delays in delivering our product and loss of income.
Our competition was taking advantage of this, undercutting our prices and taking our customers. There were some unpleasant conversations, and vicious accusations were leveled against us. Furthermore, our suppliers were raising their prices, and we fell behind in our payments, causing them to close our accounts.
Divine Love gives to everyone equally and directly, not giving good to one and withholding it from another.
We were spiraling downward. It seemed that nothing was going to save us from bankruptcy. Then our business faced three months of total inactivity when the Covid-19 pandemic struck, and we were in danger of losing our home.
When things began looking desperate, we asked a Christian Science practitioner to pray for us, and we began to feel the effects of his prayers. There were many revelatory moments, and it eventually dawned on my husband and me that we needed to stop all worry and merely human efforts to bring events under control—which had done little to resolve matters—and to pray instead. Every day we affirmed God’s allness and endeavored to see that divine Principle, not human will, was governing every aspect of our business. With humility, we listened—really listened—for God’s “still small voice” (I Kings 19:12).
At the time, I was the First Reader of our branch Church of Christ, Scientist. During the service one Sunday, the words “Thy will be done” (Matthew 6:10) kept coming to me. This is from the Lord’s Prayer that Christ Jesus taught his disciples, which is a part of Sunday and Wednesday services in every Christian Science church.
It was only after the service that I had a chance to think more deeply about what it actually means to let God’s will be done. The human mind always suggests that we need to “do something”—take some action—in order to disentangle ourselves from a problem. But this action, when based on human reasoning or willfulness, can be misguided. Human will often forces outcomes and sometimes even has us resist to the hilt what we may not want to do but which might actually be the right course.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, writes, “Will-power is but a product of belief, and this belief commits depredations on harmony” (p. 490). Depredation is defined as an act of robbing or plundering, and it occurred to me that my husband and I were actually robbing ourselves of harmony by insisting that the day-to-day affairs of our business be conducted our way. It took humility to stop the human striving, all the pushing and demanding, and let God’s will be done, trusting that our business would unfold according to the divine Mind.
As I prayed, I saw that the business was actually an idea of God and was under God’s—Mind’s—harmonious control; it reflected the uninterrupted activity and completeness of divine Life, the honesty of Truth, the integrity of Principle, the cooperation of Love (Life, Truth, Principle, and Love are synonyms for God used in Christian Science). There are no vacuums in God’s kingdom, and no holes to fill, since divine Love fills all space. And there can be no competition or jostling for position, since each of us is God’s eternally cared-for child; we all have what we need and move at God’s direction.
Every one of God’s ideas is complete and never has to borrow light from another in order to shine. God is the source of everyone’s good, being the one, abundant supplier. All of our customers were benefiting from the consistency of this divine source, which was providing and maintaining an infinite and uninterrupted chain of supply. The Bible says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). What this tells us is that divine Love gives to everyone equally and directly, not giving good to one and withholding it from another. I also knew that every one of our suppliers was governed by this divine law and could see evidence of the continuity of good.
I realized that our economic stability depended not on human circumstances but on these spiritual facts. Would-be stumbling blocks—seemingly ingrained thoughts that would suggest to me that our business was not good enough, that the country’s economy was going downhill, and so on—were overcome through daily prayer. I discovered that the word ingrain is related to a word meaning to permanently dye a fabric—to use a dye that could never be removed. I refused to let fear and doubt be ingrained in my thought. I remembered the Apostle Peter, who walked out of prison in spite of having been heavily chained between two guards (see Acts 12:5–11). Peter did not know how God was going to save him, but “prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him,” and that faithful prayer led to his freedom.
Nothing could be added to or taken away from the continuous flow of good.
Eventually, prayer inspired us to take specific steps to register as an essential service, so we could operate during lockdown, and things began to change. One by one, our customers started to trade with us again. We were able to pay off our taxes and, with the ensuing tax certificate, purchase a new vehicle—all during the lockdown. Our competition reached out to us for assistance, and the aggression we had felt from that sector dissipated completely, leaving a harmonious working relationship that continues today. We were also able to secure a second vehicle, doubling our delivery capability, and to take on another staff member to handle the sudden influx of new customers.
Then, last year our province of Kwazulu Natal experienced severe weather and flooding, and our supply depot was destroyed. It seemed no supplies would be coming down to the coastal area where we were, and the suppliers had no idea when or even if they would ever begin to trade again.
Surprisingly, we received a call from the last source I would have expected—our competition. They said we could buy the products we needed from them, since their supplier had not been affected. How blessed we felt! The Apostle Paul encouraged this spirit of unselfishness and generosity when he wrote to the church at Corinth, “I mean not that other men be eased, and ye burdened: but by an equality, that now at this time your abundance may be a supply for their want, that their abundance also may be a supply for your want: that there may be equality” (II Corinthians 8:13, 14).
I continued to pray to know that nothing could be added to or taken away from the continuous flow of good, and soon our suppliers were back in operation, to the amazement of all.
I share this experience in the hope that it will encourage those who are struggling in these challenging economic times, as it illustrates God’s care for all of His children. We have only to put human will aside and trust that God’s will for us is good—and then let it be done.