A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to rely on prayer to avoid going into debt when I returned to graduate school in a distant city. I left a comfortable job and lifestyle with the assurance that I would receive a scholarship to cover the majority of my anticipated expenses. But after enrolling at the university and beginning my studies, I was notified that this scholarship would not be available. And several days later, having exhausted my savings, I was broke.
I began to pray about the situation, studying two examples of needs being met in the Bible: Elijah being sustained by a widow during a time of famine (see I Kings 17) and Jesus feeding the multitude with five loaves and two fish (see Matthew 14). Contemplating these stories, I knew that these accounts of supply meeting demand were not isolated miracles from biblical times, but were grounded in divine Principle, or law, ever present and ever operative, although I couldn’t foresee what would transpire in my own case.
The following Sunday, I attended a service at a local church. With $4 in my checking account that morning, I placed a check for $2 in the collection, feeling confident that something would be revealed to me and affirming that God, divine Love, would meet my legitimate need (see Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, page 494).
Monday morning I was offered a part-time job at the university press and began work the next day. I also was asked to do some substitute teaching and had enough food and gas to last me until I received a paycheck. About two months later, I was offered a regular half-time position with flexible hours that allowed me to work around my class schedule. Three years later, I completed my doctorate having no debt to repay.
The beloved disciple, John, tells us that “God is Spirit …” (4:24). God, being Spirit itself, is wholly spiritual, immortal and incorporeal. Instead of giving man material things or repairing material conditions, He gives us abundantly of His ideas, and those ideas lead to practical solutions, as was the case in my experience. Trusting divine Love as the willing source of all you need, and listening humbly for God’s direction is a powerful form of prayer that can open up unexpected solutions to financial or any other problems you face.
Today in the United States student debt totals $1.3 trillion. This debt affects 43 million borrowers with more than 7 million borrowers in default. The average outstanding student loan balance is $30,000. While there is some comfort in the fact that thousands of students have gratefully financed their education through loans and repaid them in full while pursuing new careers, carrying a large debt can be extremely stressful for a young student or recent graduate. So this problem deserves close attention and a deeply thoughtful search for solutions.
It has been my experience that solutions often come to us from outside the limitations of the apparent material circumstances. Many persons of all religious traditions believe that prayer is a great aid in gaining clarity to solve problems of every kind, including overcoming college debt. Prayer helps one focus on what’s really important; it assures one that he or she is not facing the world alone; and it defuses worry.
In the preface to the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus tells us “… your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:8).
In all his marvelous works, Jesus humbly recognized that his ability to heal any difficulty came wholly from God. Such humility helps one to be open to and aware of God’s thoughts or ideas that are continually coming to consciousness to meet our present needs.
Instead of telling God what one wants, needs or wants Him to fix, it is often better to be quiet and listen receptively to these ever-flowing thoughts or angel messages from God. Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, quoting the psalmist, tells us “… all may avail themselves of God as ‘a very present help in trouble.’ Love (God) is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals. It is the open fount which cries, ‘Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters’” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pages 12-13).
Originally published in The Clarion-Ledger, @clarionledger