That is what a friend asked me when I was feeling completely overwhelmed in my work. I was just starting out as a Christian Science practitioner and every call for help felt like a heavyweight responsibility. (Practitioners are dedicated to helping others through prayer. It involves a 24/7 commitment to be ready and available to pray.) On the day I called my friend, I had received two early morning requests for prayer within minutes of each other and I freaked out. I hadn't really gotten down to praying for the first one before the second call came in. I have to admit that when the friend asked me, "Michelle, are you taking good care of yourself?" I wanted to clock her with the phone. Who was she kidding? Take care of myself? I had people to pray for, beds to make, clothes to wash, and I hadn't even had time to brush my teeth!
Grumbling, I went into the bathroom to try to pull myself together. As I looked at my desperate face in the mirror I thought, "Take care of myself... take care of myself... I have so much to do. How do I take care of myself?" In a flash, a thought came - "You can take better care of yourself if you are 'instant in season and out of season' (II Timothy 4:2) and if you 'pray without ceasing'! (I Thessalonians 5:17)"
I suddenly realized why I had felt so stressed. When I received the first call, I looked at the problem as a terrible condition that my personal prayer was going to handle. I took it on as a responsibility, a weight and a reality. Not feeling yet up to the job, I dragged that "terrible reality" down the hall to make the bed, figuring I would pray about it in a bit when my chores were done and I could better concentrate. Then the second call came and I had two "miserable realities" to contend with through prayer.
No wonder I felt sunk.
So I thought about that message to be instant and to pray without ceasing. I realized that to be instant "in season" is to be ready to witness to spiritual reality when the going is smooth and easy. To be instant "out of season" is to be ready to witness to spiritual reality when the going is tough. But the job never changes. To pray without ceasing is to commit to be a perpetual witness to spiritual reality. Spiritual witnessing through prayer is the quickest, easiest and least burdensome activity in the world, when we remember that prayer doesn't change the reality or facts in a case. It opens us to the spiritual facts and lets us know immediately why and how it is that all is well. Prayer can be a first, immediate and effective responder to a call for help when we take good care of ourselves by turning straight to God, divine Love, and by taking on a divine perspective that heals.
The next morning I received ten calls in a row. I couldn't have imagined that the day before. I might not have survived that the day before! But now I was ready. I was instant.
And my teeth did get brushed and the beds did get made.
Whatever our job, whatever the demands, we can each take good care of ourselves allowing God to carry each instant of the day.
Here is a great prayer to start the day off being instant:
Take my life, and let it be
Consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days,
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move
At the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be
Swift and beautiful for Thee.
Take my voice, and let me sing
Always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be
Filled with messages from Thee.
Take my every thought, to use In the way that Thou shalt choose.
Take my love; O Lord, I pour At Thy feet its treasure store.
I am Thine, and I will be Ever, only, all for Thee. (Christian Science Hymnal, 324, Frances Havergal)
Also, this poem has been a gift and a great help in my work. It serves to remind me of who is in charge and how to stay instant and burden-free: "After the call" by Lois Rae Carlson, CSB.
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I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no