How I’m praying about the Israel-Hamas war
We asked for submissions related to the Israel-Hamas war and received an outpouring. Thank you to all who contributed! Below are a few submissions that represent the generous and sincere prayer going on among those who study and appreciate the teachings of Christian Science. We plan to feature more in the coming weeks.
I needed to prepare readings from the Bible and from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy for a testimony meeting at my local Church of Christ, Scientist. In my role as First Reader, I knew I had to find a way to help our congregation’s prayers about the situation in the Middle East. As I was praying, I was inspired to insist that divine Love is present in both Israel and Gaza. I spent time knowing that individuals could feel the presence of Love, God, and that everyone naturally reflects Love. No power could blind them to their individual commitment to Love. I prayed to see evidence, no matter how small, that compassion existed, was active, and could not be destroyed.
The next day I heard an interview of a woman and two children who were kidnapped by Hamas. She said she prayed to know that some woman would have compassion on her family, the way any mother would. She said her captors, for some unknown reason, let her go and told her to walk back to Israel. I understand that in the face of such devastation, this may seem very small. But for me it was evidence that God, divine Love, is speaking and that man can and will respond.
Corvallis, Oregon, US
God puts the effectual and humble prayer in our hearts that reaches into the chaos that mankind seems to have created, and brings the eternal healing Christ to bear. It’s the same Christ, God’s eternal Truth, that is with us all today that was seen so clearly in all that Jesus did. Healing the desperate is what the Christ does. Where two or three are gathered in Christ’s name, there is Christ in the midst of them (see Matthew 18:20). Let the two we gather in our thought in Christ’s name be Israel and Palestine.
San Francisco, California, US
I’ve been focusing my prayers for the Middle East on the spiritual integrity and beauty of its people, which, despite millennia of conflict and violence, shines through all disturbance and empowers them (and people everywhere) to rise above emotion and fear; to love and respect their neighbor, even in the face of strife and mistrust; to bridge long-standing differences in culture and religion; and to engender peaceful and productive cohabitation. I’ve seen how this can happen in tough situations during my time as a volunteer chaplain in prisons in California.
This has also helped me see that my responsibility as a global citizen and a child of God is to recognize the erroneous behavior of radicalized factions as mental irregularities, human mistakes that Truth inherently, tenderly, and definitively chastens and corrects. “The way to extract error from mortal mind is to pour in truth through flood-tides of Love” (Science and Health, p. 201).
Santa Barbara, California, US
As I have been thinking and praying about this heartbreaking situation, my thought has gone to the story of Abram and Lot and how they were able to settle the land dispute that erupted between their herdsmen.
It says this in Genesis: “And the land was not able to bear them, that they might dwell together: for their substance was great, so that they could not dwell together. And there was a strife between the herdmen of Abram’s cattle and the herdmen of Lot’s cattle: . . . And Abram said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdmen and thy herdmen; for we be brethren” (Genesis 13:6–8).
Abram knew they were family, united eternally in God. Because of this, he went on to say, essentially, “If you go right, I will go left,” and so on. There is room for all, and no one is left out. God showed him this. Because of this truth and the fact that harmony is the law of God, they were able to part amicably.
Jesus said that to love God wholeheartedly and to love our neighbor as ourselves were the two greatest commandments. He said, “On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets” (Matthew 22:40). These commandments are written in our hearts and minds, and nothing can alter or remove what God has done. God has given all of us the heart and ability to know Him, to do good, and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Hatred, fear, and cruelty are foreign to our divine nature.
All of God’s children, no matter who they are or where they live, are capable of knowing and demonstrating these two great commandments. I am praying to understand this better and to know that divine Love is the only answer and will provide the ways and means to end this conflict, just like with Abram, Lot and their herdsmen.
Bellport, New York, US
I was gathering citations on an unrelated topic when I came across this from Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science: “For many years I have prayed daily that there be no more war, no more barbarous slaughtering of our fellow-beings; prayed that all the peoples on earth and the islands of the sea have one God, one Mind; love God supremely, and love their neighbor as themselves” (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 286). What struck me was, of course, the relevance to the current world situation, but even more, the fact that Mrs. Eddy prayed daily for many years about this vital need. If she did it, then I can, I must, do it as well.
Santa Fe, New Mexico, US
I was talking to a Christian Science practitioner following Hamas’ surprise attack on Israeli citizens. The practitioner shared a very key point with me: The prayer needed was for the Christ presence to be felt. It is known that Christ is not widely accepted in the religions prevalent in the region. Does this mean the Christ is so obscured that people can’t feel it and the unquenchable love it brings to human hearts? No. We know that the Christ is universally accessible. Our prayers can include the revelation Mrs. Eddy has shared in her Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896 that “. . . Christ, the spiritual idea of God, will be revealed” (p. 2)—be revealed to the people at this time and come into their hearts.
The full quote reads, “The time approaches when divine Life, Truth, and Love will be found alone the remedy for sin, sickness, and death; when God, man’s saving Principle, and Christ, the spiritual idea of God, will be revealed.” And Jesus said “If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23). Our prayers can affirm that, despite a history of war, through Christly authority, peace is truly possible.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
This verse from Isaiah has meant a lot to me: “I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16).
To me it is applicable in a few ways. Those who are kept in the darkness of physical captivity can find a way out, and those who are held in a state of hatred and wrong intentions can straighten out their thinking and, by the God who is the Father of all, find their way out of mental darkness into the light of Truth. The more I pray with that verse, the more my thought opens to God’s love and His power!
Port Orange, Florida, US
To find more articles to support a continuing cycle of shoulder-to-shoulder prayer and shared inspiration during the Israel-Hamas war, please explore a collection called Prayers for peace amid conflict.