What are your favorite causes?
One of my friends, who lives in Florida, is part of her high school’s ocean conservation club. Another, who lives in Massachusetts, is part of a social justice club that fights for equal rights for every student in her school. They’ve both told me that belonging to these clubs helps them feel like they’re not just standing by while pollution, inequality, and other bad things happen. But they’ve also both admitted that they’re not able to make as much of a difference as they want to.
I’m kind of amazed by the way the Bible Lesson helps me pray about the things I care about.
Like my friends, I want to do everything I can to help the causes I care about. And while this can mean getting involved in volunteer activities, I’ve discovered that there’s actually something I can do every day that makes a positive impact on the world. I’m talking about reading and praying with the Christian Science Bible Lesson.
Now I know gushing about the Bible Lesson might sound like something I’m supposed to do. But actually, I’m writing from my own experience of loving the Lesson and being kind of amazed by the way it helps me pray about the things I care about day after day, week after week.
Let’s talk about how it does that.
Sometimes it’s the overall message of the Lesson that seems relevant to the things I’m thinking about that week—in my own life and in the world. You can find that message in the Golden Text, or as a theme (main idea) that emerges as you see how all the ideas from the different sections of the Lesson go together.
Sometimes a passage from the Bible or Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy will jump out at me as something I need to think about. And as I do, I find my prayers about whatever issues are on my mind starting to soar.
Other times, it’s something like a particular Bible story that hits me in a completely new way. Even stories I’ve read dozens and dozens of times continue to surprise me, because as I pray about the fresh, spiritual meaning of each story, it can become illuminated in a new way that brings healing.
One thing that happens every day, though, is that I find the Lesson the most relevant, and I get the most out of it, when I go into it with my thoughts totally open to God. That openness is like a prayer that asks God to help me see whatever idea or verse I need to see that day in order to pray most effectively.
This openness can also lead to something else that’s really cool: An issue or cause I hadn’t really been thinking about will come to mind as I’m reading a particular story or passage. Then I’m newly inspired to pray about that issue—and the perfect ideas are right there to help jump-start my prayers.
That’s what happened this week when I read the story of Noah, the ark, and the way Noah saved two of every kind of animal from the raging floodwaters (see Genesis, chaps. 6—8). Noah’s story isn’t one that’s ever been my favorite. But this week, as I read it, I felt a sort of nudge from God to pray with it, think about it more deeply, and consider why it might be relevant. As I did, I realized that looking at the story in a spiritual light could help me pray about the threat of extinction for various species of plants and animals, which is something I’ve been feeling really worried about.
I prayerfully considered the idea that every single plant and animal is actually one of God’s spiritual ideas, held forever in the ark—which Mary Baker Eddy defines in Science and Health as “safety,” and goes on to explain it as “Science showing that the spiritual realities of all things are created by Him and exist forever” (p. 581).
The ideas in the Lesson actually change our whole way of thinking.
Each day this week I’ve tried to go deeper in my prayers with this idea, so it isn’t just something comforting to consider; it’s so that I really understand the spiritual law behind it. For example, I’ve thought about how since God is Spirit, His creation must be only spiritual. So in fact every idea must always be spiritual, must always be in that “ark,” must always be in God’s care—protected as an essential, indestructible creation of God. And I’ve worked to see that the so-called destructive powers that would seem so threatening have nothing of divine Love in them, so they must be powerless, since Love is all-powerful.
How do I know these prayers are “doing something”? Well, I’ve seen in my own life that allowing the ideas from the Lesson to uplift my thoughts to a more spiritual perspective has a healing effect. So it makes sense to me that whether the issue is personal or global, every time we allow a better understanding of God to transform us, things change for the better.
These changes may be incremental, just like a club at school may rely on baby steps to get things done. But what I love about praying with the Lesson each day is that it does more than help the causes we care about. The ideas in the Lesson actually change our whole way of thinking, so that we begin to start our reasoning and our prayers with Spirit, with spiritual perfection, and with the harmony God is constantly maintaining. From this vantage point, instead of feeling overwhelmed by the problems, we feel empowered to heal. I can’t think of a better way to help the planet.