My prayers after nightmares
It was the night after school let out for the summer. I was so excited for a fun and busy time! My heart soared at the thoughts of an adventure trip I would be taking with my NLC (National Leadership Council) DiscoveryBound class and then going to a summer camp for Christian Scientists. I fell asleep on the couch.
A few hours later I woke up, heart pounding. I had just experienced terrible nightmares. I glanced at the shadows in our house and out the windows, imagining kidnappers and other frightening characters. Fear crept into my mind and seemed to take hold; it wasn’t going away. Telling myself that God was protecting me over and over again, I worked up the courage to get off the couch. I ran into my room and slid under the covers. I was unsure of how to pray about my situation.
I hadn’t had nightmares for a long time, and kept on thinking: “You’re being ridiculous, Mesa. No bad people are in the house. The dog would notice if someone was in here.” That was getting me nowhere. I opened my thought to God and received the angel message that I needed to change my approach.
I can combat worry or nervousness when I open my thought to God.
The right approach was to think spiritually and reject ungodlike thoughts. Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “Any contradictory fusion of Truth with error, in both theory and practice, prevents one from healing scientifically …” (No and Yes, p. 5). To me, this meant that it would be tough to have a complete healing when I was leaning on this train of thought: “Oh, you’re just imagining things. And the dog would keep you safe anyway.” I grabbed my iPod and listened to hymns from the Christian Science Hymnal. I listened to Mary Baker Eddy’s poem, set to music, called “Mother’s Evening Prayer,” or what many people call “O gentle presence,” and it helped me to clear my thought. I reminded myself that “Life divine ... owns each waiting hour” (No. 207). I needed to reject error, or the false thought that there could be a power besides God. I also thought about the message in Hymn No. 412. It starts,
O dreamer, leave thy dreams for joyful waking,
O captive, rise and sing, for thou art free;
The Christ is here, all dreams of error breaking,
Unloosing bonds of all captivity.
(Rosa M. Turner)
It helped me see that leaving the “dream” of fear is as simple as praying to God, because He is always listening to our sincere prayers.
My stomach was upset and I was sweaty from the nightmares. Then, I realized that there is a connection between a physical condition and thought. I realized that my atonement (my at-one-ment) with God was and always will be intact and nothing could change that. God is everywhere and the suggestion of fear could not harm me.
Praying in this way helped me, but I still couldn’t fall asleep. Confusion tried to overwhelm me. How could I be affected by such irrational fears—fears about things that weren’t even real? Then it dawned on me: all fear is irrational. There is no such thing as a rational fear in God’s kingdom, since the idea that I could be separated from God is ridiculous. Fear is F.E.A.R.: false evidence appearing real. I could banish the fear because it was a mental suggestion and had no foundation. This idea eased the physical discomfort that I was having, and I felt better.
Finally, I opened up the Bible. I turned to Psalms, which always inspires me in some way. Psalm 23, verse 4, was perfect. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” God is our protector. If we can walk through “the valley of the shadow of death” and have no fear, then we can feel safe anywhere. These thoughts helped me to fall asleep comfortably.
I am grateful for this healing. God helped me see that there is nothing to fear. I use this spiritual approach in my daily life when facing challenges. I can combat worry or nervousness when I open my thought to God. I am now a stronger healer when fear tries to approach me!