Prayer during a biathlon

A few friends and I took part in a biathlon ski competition. During each lap of a biathlon ski race, you have to shoot five targets with a rifle. Each time you miss a target, you have to do a penalty lap of one hundred fifty meters. The course was a total of five kilometers.

I’m a Christian Scientist, and Christian Science has always played a big part in everything I do. I’ve learned that I can always rely on God’s guidance and that I can hear His voice by getting still in my thoughts and listening for inspiration. This has helped me in school and in sports, so I found myself doing the same thing during the biathlon.

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When I lay down on the snow to shoot, I listened for inspiration from God to know how to aim. However, I was getting frustrated: This was my first time, so my aim wasn’t great, and I missed most of the targets. 

I asked myself, “What is my purpose at this race? And how am I expressing God?”

So I decided to take a different approach. I asked myself, “What is my purpose at this race? And how am I expressing God?” I reasoned that I came to the race so that I could try something new that would really challenge me. I was also there to have fun and express joy, which I know is a quality of God. Then I realized that because I’m God’s complete expression, I naturally express all of God’s qualities, and that all these qualities are good. This helped me understand that I didn’t have to feel discouraged, because discouragement doesn’t come from God, so it isn’t part of me as God’s expression.

With this idea in mind, I was able to continue with the race, feeling more joyful. But in the middle of the last lap, as I was going up a large hill, I suddenly felt like I couldn’t breathe. At the top, I was too far away from any officials or spectators for them to notice that anything was wrong, and other racers were quickly passing me by. I was scared because even small breaths felt next to impossible. I pulled to the side of the course so I could reach out to God in prayer. Thinking again about myself as God’s expression, I realized that irregular breathing couldn’t have dominion over me because, as the Bible says, God gave us dominion (see Genesis 1:26). So I couldn’t ever be without it. Gradually, I was able to breathe more normally, until soon I was breathing just fine again.

I was so grateful I had been able to complete the race.

As I slowly skied back into the loop, I prayed with the definition of God in the Glossary of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy: “The great I am; the all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, all-wise, all-loving, and eternal; Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love; all substance; intelligence” (p. 587). I began to pick up the pace as I continued the race. I passed the five people who had passed me while I was having trouble at the top of the hill. I kept my thoughts focused on the idea of God being all-knowing and all-acting. That means God is the one true Mind, the only source of action. I wasn’t doing any of this on my own.

Then I saw the finish line and skied as hard as I could. When I finished, I was so grateful I had been able to complete the race. I was also grateful to know I could lean on God during a difficult moment.

When we got our race results back, I learned I’d achieved the 7th-highest place for women. I was so happy that I was able to have a healing during my race as well as accomplish something in a sport I hadn’t tried before. 

This experience taught me that no matter what we’re faced with, when we rely on God and know we express God, good, the problem disappears.

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