Engaged in praying for the world
I love these words from a hymn in the Christian Science Hymnal:
Earth has no sorrow but Love can remove.
. . . . . . .
Earth has no sorrow that Love cannot cure.
(T. Moore and T. Hastings, No. 40, adapt. © CSBD)
The hymn offers great comfort, light, and healing promise to those who are faced with the challenges that are reported in daily news headlines. I’ve realized that we are all capable of praying for the world. And I’ve learned that praying for the world starts with addressing my own thoughts.
Like a key in the ignition starts a car, I start my day engaging with God, knowing that I’m His child, and waking to affirm that I have a day of good and activities guided by Spirit waiting before me. I pray to realize that it is not like yesterday, but it is fresh and new. Starting my day in this way, communing with God, ensures that I am alert and awake to my true relationship to Him and all of His spiritual creation. Occupying my thought in daily prayer enables me to affirm my true substance as God’s child and to let go of what the material senses want to claim. There are a few aspects of prayer that I’d like to share that have been helpful as I work to address issues that I see in the headlines.
Daily prayer—staying spiritually fit
Daily prayer is a practice by which I strive to keep myself spiritually fit. It sets my day on sure footing, opens my thought to good, and strengthens each and every activity and interaction. I saw this more fully one day while I was on a treadmill at my local gym. I felt as if I was on the road to nowhere. There were multiple televisions on, displaying many channels right in front of me. I visually went down the row of each set, and the screens seemed to be asking the question: Which story of malcontent do you want to buy into, feel anxious about? And advertisements filled the gaps, attempting to tell me what health looked like and insisting it was matter-based, and had nothing to do with Spirit, God. I felt bombarded by the images and noise.
How ironic that I was in a gym, a place that many people associate with health, and yet there were a number of unhealthy concepts parading right before me. Wow! The reports marching in front of me were indicating that there was no God or that there wasn’t just one Mind; that we’re not spiritual, but material; and that we live in a fragmented world. I knew that the opposite of all those suggestions was true. So I had some work to do—prayerful corrective work—for myself and the world.
I prayed to know that what I was seeing was not the norm or the true status quo. In other words, the norm is that God, the Father-Mother of the universe, has never lost control of His creation, which is spiritual, and that God’s goodness is expressed in joy, peace, harmony, and love. I also specifically prayed to know that God is Mind and is All-in-all, and that these mortal “pictures” couldn’t actually be true either for me or others. Mary Baker Eddy states in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “In Science, all being is eternal, spiritual, perfect, harmonious in every action” (p. 407). I knew that understanding the truth of this statement could neutralize and correct erroneous thinking. I am so grateful for Christian Science—that it points out that God-inspired thinking can be at hand at all times.
Don’t be overwhelmed
As I continue to pray for the world, I’ve become aware of resistance that tries to get in the way. Sometimes it appears there is so much to pray about in our fast-paced world that I don’t know where to start. It can seem overwhelming, not wanting to abandon anyone or any cause in need. I’m still learning that when I feel like that, that is the time to stop and know that Mind, omnipotent God, is the source of all right thinking and action, and is caring for His creation.
Infinite Mind, God, is all-knowing, all-seeing, all-acting, and all-wise (see Science and Health, p. 587). Understanding this spiritual truth allows me to move beyond a preoccupation with the material picture and feel assured that God, Principle, “was there first,” forever governing. I pray to see that, in reality, good is all that is going on, and that Mind’s presence and power are operating in human thought to reveal right solutions now, and that I also have the expectancy of more good to come. Mary Baker Eddy states in Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, “No evidence before the material senses can close my eyes to the scientific proof that God, good, is supreme” (p. 277).
Ignorance is not bliss
Something else I’ve found that is important to be alert to is the temptation to tune out. So many times, when mortal mind says there is no God, or that God includes or allows both good and evil, being uninterested in challenges the world is facing feels like the most viable option. But I’ve found that an “ignorance is bliss” mentality is not helpful or healing. It leads to cluelessness, unawareness, apathy. And that is exactly what animal magnetism, explained in Science and Health as “the specific term for error, or mortal mind” (p. 103), tempts us to buy into, instead of handling disturbing news with love and the recognition of truth and harmony. It is our divine right, and our privilege, to steer away from this mental roadblock and to pray with spiritual authority that God is actually the only power and presence.
The Christian Science Monitor and its role
One resource that helps me pray for the world is The Christian Science Monitor, including the Monitor’s Daily News Briefing, which arrives in my email each morning. Not only am I informed of national and global issues, but then I take it up a notch to address each need spiritually. By doing this, my hope is that I am contributing with specific prayer to more evidence appearing of what God, divine Mind, Love, sees in its purely good creation. This prayer brings calm and harmony to my thought regarding the news issues.
The Monitor’s approach helps me as I pray to see the divine reality regarding an issue, the love and the good that are going on continuously and constantly in God’s kingdom, and how that can be perceived spiritually in any given situation. I’ve also been able to share information from the Monitor with a study group I’m involved in, which often talks about news issues. This has frequently brought light and changes in thought about a topic.
Replacing despair with hope
Late last year, participants in the study group had brought up selections in the Bible and how they related to the news events of that week. None of the topics was good news, and much discussion revolved around refugees, a recent mass shooting, the Syrian conflict, and local drug problems. The participants in the group felt that the roots of disturbing issues in the news were powerlessness, fear, anger, brokenness. Though people admitted that God is a God of love, the headlines were grabbing for attention, and there was a sense of hopelessness, despair, and doom. All of us wanted a much deeper approach, and we wanted to find ways to contribute to healing, and to feel peace and calm. I then realized that because these issues were disturbing in thought, they were being brought to the surface to be corrected so that thought could be shifted toward the understanding of God’s good reality.
Instead of jumping into a pool of despair and ranting about the human probabilities of all the “what if’s,” when it came my turn to speak, I replied, “Pray.” The discussion paused. It was as if a light had gone on in the consciousness of everyone present.
Within this group, at times I have turned to our common denominator, the Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus gave. After all, this is the “prayer which covers all human needs” (Science and Health, p. 16).
More than once, I have shared parts of the spiritual interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer, given by Mary Baker Eddy, because it sheds light on the spiritual truth of being, what God’s universe really is like, and what the source of true power is. And, more than once, this way of thinking, shared with the others, has prompted hope, faith, and harmony. In this small capacity, I think a drop of water or truth has been shared, and it ripples out into the thoughts of others. Every prayer is important, as is every prayer-based comment.
Only one story … one true story
Through these two experiences, at the gym and with the study group, I realized that I must pray with these spiritualizing, corrective thoughts at all times. I have found that when I’m watching or listening to the news, the best way to correct error with truth is to immediately separate the mortal claims from the true spiritual facts. In truth, Spirit, God, is all that is reliable and real. All true thought is imparted to man from Mind, God. There is no other reality; there is no other story.
There is only one story, and it is of peace and harmony, not of limiting or dimming thought. Holding to this reality lifts up seeds of truth in thought. As Christian Science declares, “Spirit imparts the understanding which uplifts consciousness and leads into all truth” (Science and Health, p. 505). The Love that impels our prayers has a healing effect. Mrs. Eddy says so clearly, “Love for mankind is the elevator of the human race; it demonstrates Truth and reflects divine Love” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 288).
Once again, Hymn 40 offers words of comfort and healing.
Come, ye disconsolate, where’er ye languish,
Here health and peace are found, Life, Truth,and Love;
Here bring your wounded hearts, here tell your anguish;
Earth has no sorrow but Love can remove.
What a healing promise this is for today’s headlines.