As much of the world turns to prayer for the more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls taken captive by the extremist group Boko Haram, we find a biblical basis for expecting the girls’ safe return. Isaiah 43:6 reads, “I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.”
As the global community deeply, sincerely, actively continues to pray for the captive girls, that prayer must have its effect. Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science and of the Sentinel, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “The ‘still, small voice’ of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe’s remotest bound. The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, ‘as when a lion roareth.’ It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear. It arouses the ‘seven thunders’ of evil, and stirs their latent forces to utter the full diapason of secret tones. Then is the power of Truth demonstrated,—made manifest in the destruction of error” (p. 559).
Christ Jesus, the master Christian, told his followers: “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32). No choice there—we are all made free as the children of God, and not only can we express that freedom for ourselves; we can demand to see it proven worldwide. “Knowing the truth” means consciously, consistently, and continually claiming all mankind’s inseparability from God; it means being open to divine Love’s presence and power revealing the safety and the human adjustment that is needed.
We can pray to understand that the innocence and purity expressed by the girls are actually qualities of God, and, far from being a source of weakness and vulnerability, these qualities actually provide protection and provision. “Bring my sons from far” can challenge the notion that there could be an evil person or persons, an evil man or men, dominating or intimidating others. Ignorance, fear, and superstition can have no outlet, no venue, no voice through which to operate when we see God, divine Mind, governing.
The innocence and purity expressed by the girls are actually qualities of God.
Throughout the Bible we find many instances of people being freed from enslavement of all kinds: the freeing of the Israelites from the Egyptians, Daniel from the lions’ den, and Paul and Silas from prison. These stories illustrate the very law of God: that man (meaning all men and women) was made free, and can experience this freedom individually and collectively.
News reports suggest that Boko Haram’s actions have their roots in misconceptions of religion, education, and gender. I have loved praying with a verse from Galatians: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus” (3:28). God never condones violent actions, and mistaken views of His will are corrected with the understanding—so beautifully exemplified by Christ Jesus—that God and man, His reflection, are inseparable.
As we pray earnestly to see the Nigerian girls freed, we can know that our prayers also touch other captives whom we may never have heard about. Whatever needs to be known to accomplish a peaceful solution will be revealed: “For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known” (Luke 12:2).
In praying for those precious girls and their families, we can rest assured that the powerful assurance given by Mrs. Eddy applies to them: “Know thyself, and God will supply the wisdom and the occasion for a victory over evil. Clad in the panoply of Love, human hatred cannot reach you” (Science and Health, p. 571).
Patricia Gantt Reiman is a Christian Science practitioner in Colorado Springs, Colorado.