Can our prayer reduce racial tension?

First appeared as a Web Original on March 9, 2020

Here in South Africa, as in much of the world, people are still experiencing the hatred and divisiveness arising from the ugly specter of racism and racial tension. Daily I pray for healing. Yet I’ve sometimes wondered, “How can prayer—my prayers—contribute to healing this seemingly intractable ill that continues to plague society?"

As I’ve pondered this, it has occurred to me that starting with ourselves and healing our own misconceptions, prejudices, and fears can have a healing effect on the atmosphere of thought in the world as it uplifts our own thought. I’ve found from my study of Christian Science that this means asking myself if I am truly willing to love my neighbor as God does. In other words, am I willing to give up any limited personal sense of my neighbors and see them as God’s sinless, lovable children. This spiritual view of us all as God’s offspring is rooted in the first account of creation in the Bible: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Yes, we are made in God’s likeness, which is spiritual—a likeness incapable of being sick or sinful or of having any identity unlike God, good. Christ Jesus’ consciousness of this spiritual individuality lifted from others the labels and limitations of the physical senses and restored health and peace. 

When I see conflicts flare during people’s day-to-day interactions, as I do on occasion, I endeavor in my prayers to stick more resolutely to the truth of our spiritual being. I acknowledge that there is one God, who is Mind—the one and only real Mind of us all—and that we reflect this Mind. This is the Mind that Christ Jesus expressed, in which there can be no prejudice, hatred, ignorance, disunity, or fear—only love. While human circumstances may paint a different picture, I’ve found that when I persistently love and uphold in consciousness what is spiritually true, harmonizing adjustments often occur in the human situation.

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