Our prayers for the economy
Through the years I have not hesitated to pray regularly about my own finances—whether to remove a sense of lack, to gain a better understanding of the reliability of God’s supply, or to entrust judicious charitable giving to the wisdom of God. But it never occurred to me to pray more selflessly about the national or world economy, leaving it instead to the movement of market forces and the policies of governments.
However, when the government of my country, Nigeria, recently announced that the economy had slid into a recession, I felt it was a call for me not only to pray about my own finances specifically, but also about the economy in general.
As a student of Christian Science, I base my way of thinking and living on the teachings and example of Christ Jesus. So, it was natural for me to turn to the Bible. My study revealed that Jesus refers to the economy several times in his preaching, pointing out that God’s economy, rather than a human economy, governs and sustains individuals and nations. And he indicates that the basis of this divine economy is the truth that God, or Spirit—not matter—is the source of supply.
God’s supply of right ideas is abundant, unlimited, and continuous—always sufficient to meet the needs of His children.
Constantly, Jesus turns the thought of his disciples, and others, away from matter to Spirit—from trusting in material riches to relying solely on spiritual riches to satisfy the human need. Through parables and preaching, Jesus teaches that these spiritual treasures, which God bestows, are more valuable than material treasures, are reliable, continuous, and abundant, and to be desired above all else. For instance, in reply to a young man who asked what good thing he should do to have eternal life, Jesus said, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” (Matthew 19:21, English Standard Version). He urged his followers to seek God’s kingdom, the substance of Spirit, as the top priority. I found this instruction helpful when praying about the economy.
Also helpful was this statement in the Christian Science textbook: “If you wish to know the spiritual fact, you can discover it by reversing the material fable, be the fable pro or con,—be it in accord with your preconceptions or utterly contrary to them” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 129).
I reasoned that the fable that needed reversing in thought was that our country was subject to human economics and therefore in a recession—subject to a material law of supply and demand under which the supply is frequently insufficient to meet the demand. While human economics insist that resources can be scarce and limited, the economics of Spirit reveal that God’s supply of right ideas is abundant, unlimited, and continuous—always sufficient to meet the needs of His children.
Christ Jesus proved the immediacy and practicality of appealing to the unlimited resources of God’s economy. In one instance, he was able to pay both his and Peter’s tribute or tax, with money from the mouth of a fish. On another occasion, he fed five thousand people with only five loaves and two fishes—proving that infinite Spirit, not matter, is indeed our source of supply.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, explains: “God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies. Never ask for to-morrow: it is enough that divine Love is an ever-present help; and if you wait, never doubting, you will have all you need every moment” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 307).
Thus, we learn from the example of Jesus, elucidated in the teaching of Christian Science, that prayer is not about asking God for some material convenience, but acknowledging that divine Love (a scriptural name for God) is already supplying the practical, spiritual ideas we need each moment. They represent the true riches that guarantee our happiness and success.
Prayer is acknowledging that divine Love is already supplying the practical, spiritual ideas we need each moment.
Whenever the picture of lack presents itself, the spiritual fact is that our supply of good is already in place, before there is a human demand for it. In Isaiah, we find God saying, reassuringly, that before we call, He will answer; and while we are still speaking, He will hear (see Isaiah 65:24).
As I prayed about the economy of my country, I realized that it was important not only to accept God’s supply as infinite and continuous, but also to identify what the demands of the divine economy are. I saw that one of the demands is to recognize that Life is God, Spirit, and that Spirit is All and created all that is real and substantial. This totally eroded the substantiality of materiality in my thought, either as a source of wealth or as wealth itself.
It became clear to me that in order to prove the practicality of God’s law of supply and demand, I must work honestly and earnestly with the skills and talents God gave me. Mrs. Eddy writes: “Goodness and philanthropy begin with work and never stop working. All that is worth reckoning is what we do, and the best of everything is not too good, but is economy and riches” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 203).
Willingness to serve others selflessly, coupled with grateful giving of what I have, brought blessings. And they have proved to me what the Apostle Paul said to the elders of the church at Miletus—that Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
The expectation that I would see evidence of God’s “heavenly treasures,” in a way that was tangible as well as meaningful to me, was one of the first results of my prayers. Apart from being expectant of good and less anxious about the recession, I became aware of a more hopeful tone in the media reports about the economy. I also was pleased to see that the finances of the branch Church of Christ, Scientist, to which I belong began to improve steadily. And in my own experience, new and rewarding job opportunities opened up for me and my family, even through the period of recession, as I thought less about the ups and downs of the human economy and trusted more in the one, divine economy.
As I’ve come to realize how important the economy is to the stability of the world, it makes sense to pray about the economy, whether in a time of recession or in a time of plenty. Regardless of the human economic picture, like the Psalmist, we can confidently start from this glorious fact: “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof” (Psalms 24:1). All of God’s children are subject solely to the divine law governing the world economy, articulated in this sweet promise: “My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19).