The following article was originally published by The Christian Science Monitor at csmonitor.com:
Yield signs on the road require drivers to slow down and look both ways. Sometimes, the traffic is clear and you can get moving right away. Other times, you have to be very patient and wait until the way opens up.
This simple traffic lesson can be a metaphor for prayer. I’ve found that when challenges arise, turning to God for answers often requires patient listening for and yielding to the ideas that come from divine inspiration. Sometimes it’s tempting to hit the gas and move full speed ahead with a personal agenda, but the yield sign is a reminder to be patient and pause instead.
I’ve learned that this process of yielding is about cultivating a willingness to listen to God, and then to allow the peace and love of God to fill our hearts and mind. Then, feeling God’s closeness and care, we can let the intelligence of divine Mind guide us. This scriptural benediction sums up this kind of prayer: “And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ”(II Thessalonians 3:5). The passage reminds me that we all have an inherent love for God, for what is good and right, and we can let that direct our every move. And it is the Christ, the healing presence of God’s goodness, that inspires tender, loving care for our neighbor; that blesses our way, even when there seems to be conflict brewing.
I recently experienced the power of prayerful yielding in a modest but meaningful way when I found myself caught in the middle of conflicting opinions about an important decision that needed to be taken by a group of people who would be meeting for the first time. While en route to meet the others involved, I received an agitated message from one of the parties that seemed to come out of the blue. I began to doubt whether our meeting could be amicable, and I, too, began to feel agitated.
Wanting to feel at peace before responding, I went to God in prayer. One of my favorite passages in the Bible provides wise counsel: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:5, 6, New King James Version).
I actively affirmed that nothing could interrupt God’s harmony, which includes a joy that embraces all. As I prayed, my thoughts turned to what would help this individual feel most loved and understood in this situation. Rather than feeling resentful or self-righteous, I prayed to feel something of the same love that God, our divine Parent, has for all of us.
An answer soon came that prompted me to offer a solution that was in my new acquaintance’s favor before we’d even met to discuss the issue. The situation turned around completely. What looked like a sacrifice on my part ended up bringing a sweet atmosphere of mutual affection that I would never have traded. I felt a deep sense of the healing Christ as the first seeds of friendship were planted that weekend.
Though only a few were involved in this particular situation, it has inspired my prayers for harmony in my broader community and the world. How grateful I am that, as Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy puts it, “When we wait patiently on God and seek Truth righteously, He directs our path” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 254).