I don’t know exactly how to pray for each and every situation, but I do know that prayer has a meaningful and beneficial impact on my life. Whenever I am unsure about how to proceed with prayer, even when I know that is the right step to be taking, I simply think, “It matters how I think right now.” This thought always humbles my thinking and allows me to be receptive to God.
During a recent road biking excursion I made a swift and unexpected dismount onto the pavement at the start of a climb. As I was lying in the road trying to piece together what had just happened I looked over at my arm and noticed a bone in my arm looking alarmingly out of place. Instead of praying immediately, I let the physical situation take hold of my thought—I was experiencing really forceful resistance to prayer which was completely contrary to my usual response of, “It matters how I think right now.” In a few minutes I was helped off the road and able to lie on the pavement in the sun. My fellow riders included three family members who also actively practice Christian Science, and for them I couldn’t be more grateful. As I struggled with resistance, these three people purposefully and vocally reminded me that I was in fact perfectly whole and able to claim dominion over the physical situation. Their conviction to see me as spiritually pure melted my resistance in a matter of moments.
The second I began to identify more with a spiritually whole vision of myself, rather than a fallen, injured physical person, the transformation from bone out of place and a great amount of physical pain to feeling perfectly normal was very quick. My brother, who was sitting with me and praying as I lay on the side of the road was himself impressed with the way improved thought and a willingness to simply be present with God directly corresponded to a restoration of my arm. The healing was in fact so swift, that I had a hard time trusting the results at first. In response to this tentative thinking, my brother and I worked with this idea from Mary Baker Eddy, “Whosoever understands the power of Spirit, has no doubt of God’s power, —even the might of Truth, —to heal, through divine Science, beyond all human means and methods” Miscellaneous Writings 52:7.
Half an hour later I was playing with my two-year-old niece whom I instinctively reached out to and picked up in my arms when she called my name and ran to me. I experienced no pain from this simple act of love. A week later I participated in a 100K bike race on the exact same road where the bike accident had happened a week before. I was able ride free of pain or apprehension both physically and mentally.
I pursue a lot of outdoor sports, from cycling and distance running to rock climbing and river running. Without a doubt, these experiences have been the most significant for me as a student of Christian Science. It’s in those moments of physical duress that I have come to know and understand my spiritual identity as the more accurate and complete description of me. I am so grateful for the insight that prayer gives us into life, making each opportunity to pray not just physically but mentally and spiritually transformative.