“Start where you are . . .

. . . Use what you have. Do what you can.” Many people have found this statement, attributed to American tennis legend Arthur Ashe, inspiring, and perhaps it has influenced how some of us approach our various personal and professional endeavors. But do we do this when we pray?

For praying people, there’s a natural impulse to pray about the things we see in our lives that need adjusting or healing. There’s a yearning to feel the presence of God, whom the Bible calls Love, comforting, uplifting, guiding, and restoring. But do we see that prayer as spilling out beyond the borders of our personal concerns? To “do what you can” is to embrace our neighborhoods, communities, and the world in our prayers—to realize that we can make a difference.

Jesus’ ministry modeled such an expansive practice. Had his mission been for him alone, he wouldn’t have taken on disciples—but he did. And if his mission had been only for that select group, he wouldn’t have sent those disciples into the world. Those who came after Jesus, such as the Apostle Paul, taught that a key aspect of Christianity was the power of individual prayer to affect the collective—even the world. “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump,” Paul wrote in his Epistle to the Galatians (5:9). The nature of a spiritual idea or insight based on the understanding of God as All changes and elevates the mental landscape. This is the activity of the Christ, the “divine influence ever present in human consciousness” (Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. xi). 

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We don’t own good
April 22, 2024

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