I was standing in the grocery store one day feeling pushed by the clock. And grumpy. And the person in front of me was being rude to the checkout clerk. The clerk was trying to keep his cool, but was starting to lose it, too. My thought? "Well I would pray about this, but I don't really have time. I will do it later when I get home."
The thing was, I had been saying that all day. Not only had I neglected praying for myself for lack of time, but I was pushing off all kinds of things. "I would do this, or I should do that, but I don't have time. I will get to it later." And the time kept passing, and the pressure kept building, and my mood - along with the attitude of all those around me - was deteriorating.
As things continued heating up in front of me, I starting looking around the store for an escape route to a shorter, less volatile line. A sign over head caught my eye: Self Checkout. Without budging an inch, I chuckled, thinking, "That is probably what is needed more than anything else - a moment of self-examination!"
Then came a truly unexpected thought. "Michelle, would you leave the house and come to the store without getting dressed and brushing your teeth?" I got a bit uncomfortable and didn't answer. "Why would you even think of going to the grocery store without covering yourself and freshening up by praying for yourself? Is that being kind to the people around you?"
In a letter to the church at Philippi, Paul encouraged the Philippians to pray regularly. He explained that prayer enables us to get everything done with joy and inspired energy. He also commended the Philippians for sharing "an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God." (See Philippians, Chapter 4)
Standing in the grocery line I thought about the smell I was giving off - of irritation, criticism, pressure and impatience. I smelled like a woman who hadn't changed into clean clothes or brushed her teeth before going to the store. I couldn't blame the people around me for picking up on my smelly thoughts.
_I no longer had time NOT to pray. It didn't really take time. It took awareness. Praying in line for just a few seconds, I became aware of the sweet thoughts of God, the Christ message of my goodness as God's child or spiritual reflection. Then I heard the person in front of me say, "Oh my, you are right. I am so sorry! Thank you very much."
Dispute over. All was calm as she rolled her cart away. And the checkout clerk greeted me with a friendly, "Good morning. How are you?"
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures explains, "Mind, God, sends forth the aroma of Spirit, the atmosphere of intelligence." Through prayer for ourselves we reflect that sweet-smelling savour of God's love and goodness, and everyone around us picks up the scent. (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 191)
I don't leave the house anymore without putting on the perfume of prayer. I wouldn't do that to the people standing near me.
All it takes is a post-it note on the bathroom mirror - PRAY NOW. If you have time to brush your teeth, you have time to pray for yourself. We owe it to those around us to give off our best smell - the sweet-smelling savour of an awareness God's goodness inside and out.
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