There we were in the dark. My baby daughter was crying and I gently picked her up out of her crib and quietly sang a hymn. She immediately calmed down and got quiet. Next thing I knew, she was humming with me. She was only a little over a year old but she almost seemed to know this particular tune by heart. It brought tears of joy to my eyes.
The hymn I sang is a poem titled “Mother’s Evening Prayer” by Mary Baker Eddy. The first stanza always gives me a wonderful sense of calm and safety, and I think it’s what my daughter picked up on — that healing touch that this poem is all about.
This, to me, is what happened for my daughter — she heard and felt that sense of God’s gentle presence. I truly think she felt, and was conscious of, God’s presence. This good power of God helped her and it’s why she quieted down fast and fell asleep quickly and peacefully.
O gentle presence, peace and joy and power;
O Life divine, that owns each waiting hour,
Thou Love that guards the nestling’s faltering flight!
Keep Thou my child on upward wing tonight.
—Mary Baker Eddy, Poems, p.4
The thing I love about this poem is that when Mrs Eddy refers to “gentle presence” she’s talking about God’s loving and gentle presence in our lives.This presence is something always with us, guiding us, and speaking directly to us.
Here’s a powerful fact: God’s love and power is ever with each one of us and we can trust this as an unchanging fact. Another wonderful idea: childlike receptivity to knowing God’s presence, like my daughter’s, isn’t a mere personal ability of hers or other little children. This receptive nature is part of each of us — we’re all receptive to good because we’re all children of God, who is the source of all good itself. The fact that we are God’s children makes us able to hear and know the voice of God..
But how do you hear God, good? We each need to cultivate our listening skills — something anyone can do! You’ve probably done this in other ways perhaps listening to music for something special in between the notes or beats. Or when you paused to hear your friend say something to you from an adjacent room. Similarly, we can cultivate our spiritual listening skills for ideas and thoughts that are gentle, peaceful, encouraging, and good. Christian Science shows us how.
Ideas that come from God are always watermarked with His divine signature — love, peace, and goodness! God’s thoughts never lead toward anything that’s bad, strange, weird, or gross. It’s one simple way to know when God speaks, while also teaching us what thoughts we can dismiss with our God-given dominion.
So try it today! Be willing to listen for good: God’s goodness. You’ll hear, discern, the way His voice comes to you — and you too will feel the reassuring peace, joy, and power of His gentle presence.
And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left.
—Isaiah 30:21 (KJV)