Empowered to help
Q: How can I pray in a situation where someone hasn’t specifically asked for prayer?
A: Prayer is about seeing correctly, seeing spiritually. We do this as we keep our thoughts close to God and allow this God-based, Love-based perspective to uplift our view of any situation we find ourselves in. When we’re truly conscious of God’s presence and power, that’s all we can experience—and this blesses and touches anyone we encounter. In other words, we don’t have to wait for others to ask us to pray for them in order to be helpful. Nor do we need to pray for them specifically in order to see healing. Simply bringing our own spiritualized thought to a situation is a way of praying—and it does heal.
Bringing our own spiritualized thought to a situation is a way of praying.
Being so “in tune” with God and the reality of His spiritual, wholly-good creation is what made healing come so naturally for Christ Jesus and for Mary Baker Eddy. Never departing from Jesus’ words and works, Mrs. Eddy once wrote, “True prayer […] is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection” (No and Yes, p. 39 ). She lived that prayer daily.
One day, taking a break from work, she went for a walk in the park where there was a man, terribly deformed, sitting on the sidewalk. She whispered in his ear, “God loves you.” He was healed (see Yvonne Caché von Fettweis and Robert Warneck, Mary Baker Eddy: Christian Healer, Amplified Edition, p. 89). Her consciousness was so God-filled that she, like Jesus, couldn’t see anything but Love’s creation—spiritual, perfect. And she proved that “the spiritual power of a scientific, right thought, without a direct effort, an audible or even a mental argument, has oftentimes healed inveterate diseases” (Mary Baker Eddy, Rudimental Divine Science, p. 9 ).
This little poem scribbled on a piece of paper tucked into my Bible helps me hug mankind daily in my prayer:
Today, dear God,
Help me to see
My fellow man
As made by Thee,
The true reflection
Of eternal Mind.
(Elizabeth Sembler, “Today,” Sentinel, March 24, 1951)
One day, I’d begun my day with that prayer and had been striving all day to do exactly that with every thought. I acknowledged God’s presence and power with every need that came to my attention—the AIDS epidemic in Africa, and starving children; a measles outbreak at our kids’ elementary school; a school bus accident; and so on. On the way home from work, while I was making a rush trip to the mall, a man walking toward me suddenly collapsed and fell to the floor. Leaning over, putting my purse under his head, and loosening his tie, I assured him, “You’re fine. Your God is your Life,” and meant it. It wasn’t so much the words that I spoke, but the mental posture I brought to the situation that was key. Here, right in front of me, was another opportunity to see “my fellow man” as made by God. In that moment, that was truly what I saw.
In a couple of minutes he came to, blinked, and sat up, just as two EMTs appeared with a stretcher. (A person across the mall had seen the man collapse and brought them.) But the man was fine, got up, and thanked me.
Right in front of me was an opportunity to see “my fellow man” as made by God.
Later that evening, I thought more on that brief, holy encounter. I hadn’t doubted for a nanosecond that God was that man’s Life. And I’d genuinely felt Love in control of all God’s children. That conviction was prayer. And I thanked God.
Going about our days with thoughts that are tucked in close with God, conscious of His love for all His children, is a way of praying that allows us to be prepared and useful—whether someone specifically asks us to pray for them, or whether we find ourselves in a situation that needs our clarity of thought. Striving to see as God sees is prayer and has all the “oomph” of His omnipotence behind it.