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Humble prayers for peace

From the October 8, 2012 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel

The world has seen many moves from dictatorship toward democracy in recent decades. Think, for example, of Corazon Aquino’s 1986 “People Power Revolution” in the Philippines, which toppled the country’s dictatorship. Or the collapse of the Iron Curtain just five years later. It’s not hard to imagine that the ongoing prayers for peace that millions of people have offered have had something to do with this shift to freer, more open societies. The Mother Church has been at the forefront of these prayers, with broadcasts, articles, and lectures on how the world can find peace.

The ferment, of course, is still bubbling in many places—the complicated post-“Arab Spring” climate in much of the Middle East comes to mind—and millions of people are still under unjust rule, but the world’s prayers are having their effect. And here is where Christian Science can be most helpful, for it shows us how to pray by tapping in to the laws of God, the laws by which Jesus did his marvelous works and by which we can get consistent results.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Tyranny, intolerance, and bloodshed, wherever found, arise from the belief that the infinite is formed after the pattern of mortal personality, passion, and impulse” (p. 94). In other words, political or social oppression arises from a misconception about what God is and what His creation includes. Since this misconception is the culprit, we can begin our prayers by clarifying our idea of God’s nature.

It’s important to recognize that power belongs to God only. The Bible tells us, “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God” (Psalms 62:11). His dominion over His creation is benevolent: there is no dictatorial arrogance, no lust for power, no selfish hatred or cruelty. His children express His goodness in gentle compassion, understanding kindness, unselfish consideration, and forgiveness.

May we all feel the compassion that prompts the heart to go out to suffering multitudes! No past influence of evil, such as an oppressive government or pall of fear, can have sway over humanity. There is only the “now” of God’s gentle, all-powerful control. Therefore no child of God can be bereft of his or her ability to think independently, and there is no area where God’s truth can be crowded out by willfulness or despotism.

This kind of prayer melts corruption or evil intentions within governments, too. There can be no stubborn resistance to Truth, no resistance to religious freedom or to healing, for there is in reality no mortal mind (a supposed counterfeit of God, the divine Mind). Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health: “God’s thoughts are perfect and eternal, are substance and Life. Material and temporal thoughts are human, involving error, and since God, Spirit, is the only cause, they lack a divine cause. … They are but counterfeits of the spiritual and eternal” (p. 286). Each expression of God, including each of us, loves what is good and cherishes qualities such as honesty, humility, and kindness.

There is no area where God’s truth can be crowded out by willfulness or despotism.

There’s no divine mandate for one so-called mortal to exercise power over other mortals. That would suggest a separate kingdom, operating on its own, holding its own unique god as a ruler outside of God’s creation. Instead, we live only under the laws of God—laws of harmony, love, and freedom, which are benign and can only bless. And in our prayers for peace, we can reaffirm that each person is a reflection of that one Mind, and can only reflect the power to do good. Each one is the very embodiment of humility, open-mindedness, justice, forgiveness, and love.

As we affirm those healing truths, we will see more of the positive signs of world progress: more walls coming down, more democracy being established, more tolerance and understanding among men and women. God’s love is a powerful wave of grace that melts away shadows of ignorance, fear, and materialism. And as the Bible promises, “The earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).

Ralph W. Emerson is a Christian Science practitioner.

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