How can we pray about humanity’s future?
Clearly, there’s no room for complacency about the unique convergence of profound challenges facing humanity today. But we have previously faced fearsome global threats and survived. The dread of unmanageable overpopulation and nuclear annihilation I grew up with in the 60s and 70s hasn’t come true. Factors expected to deteriorate—such as access to food, levels of violence, and so on—have in fact greatly improved overall.
Mentioning this slice of history recently to a younger colleague had a big impact on her. Since then, she tells me, “I haven’t felt as swept up in the helplessness and paralysis that previously came up for me every time I read about something like climate change, because the spell, so to speak, has been broken.”
Breaking the “spell” my colleague points to goes beyond gaining freedom from emotions of helplessness and mental paralysis. The fact that the forebodings of a previous era of “novel” problems with “no solutions” failed to come to pass awoke her to a deeper mental malaise underlying these feelings—a fear that problems could be unsolvable. As a Christian Scientist, used to leaning on the divine Mind, God, for healing fears in her own life, she recognized this suggestion of unsolvability as an argument of the opposite, material mentality—the carnal or mortal mind, which the Bible says is “enmity against God” (Romans 8:7 ).
In reality, because God is divine Mind and this Mind is infinite, All, there is no opposing element within this infinite, good intelligence. Mortal mind is not an actual intelligence, but a lie that there’s a presence or power opposite to God. On this basis, we can see the carnal mind’s claims as baseless. While the problems that mortal mind’s arguments are associated with today may be novel, we can pray to see that the arguments themselves are far from new. And more significantly, that they are far from true. Like my colleague, we can feel empowered to identify and defy them as not representing our true thinking, which is derived from that infinite Mind. In doing so, we grow increasingly confident that we can identify and overcome as baseless all arguments inimical to God, good.
This kind of shift in thought is not simply trading a disconcerted nature for a calmer consciousness. It’s a spiritual awakening to God as the one Mind, which shines a light on everyone’s true, spiritual qualities, such as hope, joy, persistence, and wisdom. Nurturing these qualities protects us from buying into the carnal mind’s specious arguments of the need to despair. It also frees our hearts and minds to perceive and implement the inspired ideas that are needed to steer humanity toward a better future.
But there’s even more to Mind than being a source of better motives and deeds, as needful as these are. The thoughts emanating from Mind are manifested in us as Christliness, the spirituality most clearly seen in the goodness of Jesus. Yielding in some degree to this Christliness through moments of inspiration or periods of persistence leads to spiritual breakthroughs that turn around the evil in our lives—as they did not only in Jesus’ healings but in all the transformative experiences recorded throughout the Bible. While many may view these as fables or accounts of “miracles,” they are in fact proofs of something very real and very consistent. They evidence a Science of being, a higher understanding and proof of what we truly are. We actually coexist with God in divinity’s spiritual universe, which is entirely good.
In prayer we can yield to the true, spiritual perception of ourselves and others and refute materialistic thinking that suggests the absence of Mind’s sweet control.
Knowing this is practical. Mary Baker Eddy’s primary text on this Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, sums up the relationship of this ideal reality to human experience. Using the term man in its generic meaning, it says, “Mind’s control over the universe, including man, is no longer an open question, but is demonstrable Science” (p. 171 ).
A demonstrable Science is one that can be evidenced. And while we might not be able to prove Mind’s universal control all at once, we can each start proving it in our own lives, as a moving account in this issue of the Sentinel illustrates. It relates how finding Christian Science brought a young Chinese woman freedom from long-standing fears of sickness and death. She writes, “I thought we human beings were 100 percent material, which meant we needed to take good care of the physical body by regularly doing something physically or medically to maintain our well-being. . . . Now I know that we don’t need to be the slave of sickness; we have the divine right to say no to sickness and sin!” (Spring Sun, “I have found God’s abundant love”).
Like this individual, we can all learn of our true identity as God’s spiritual offspring, demonstrably under God’s control. In persistent, silent prayer we can reach for and yield to this true, spiritual perception of ourselves and others. We can note and refute any materialistic thinking within us that suggests the absence of Mind’s infinitely sweet control. We can “resist the temptation to believe in matter as intelligent, as having sensation or power” (Science and Health, p. 218 ).
The healing impact of such spiritual resistance to a material worldview is the fading out of the fears such a viewpoint includes. As we benefit from this in our own lives, it’s only natural to broaden the scope of our prayers to embrace all humanity and address our collective fears for the future. Fear’s grip on collective human consciousness is lessened when any one of us truly gains the conviction that God’s boundlessly benign and all-authoritative control truly isn’t an open question but a practical, provable, spiritual Science. And think of the impact if we all consistently do that proving! We will bring in a future in which the divine Science of being—the harmony, unity, abundance, and purity that constitute our divine reality—are increasingly demonstrated.