Volunteering in this election—to pray
Have you ever had a job where you work 16-hour days, seven days a week, for months on end, racing toward a looming deadline? It’s stressful, to say the least, but can also be very rewarding if you’re dedicating yourself to a cause that you believe is helping make the world a better place.
That appeal is part of what drew me to political campaign work some years ago, serving as a volunteer as well as a staffer on United States presidential and midterm election campaigns. Now, here we are in another election, where both sides are suggesting that the stakes couldn’t be higher, and I find myself wanting to roll up my sleeves and jump back into the scramble so that I can feel that I’m doing everything in my power to help.
Prayer in Christian Science is very active.
But this time around, I have felt inspired to engage in a different way—to prioritize appealing to a higher power. I have committed myself to being a prayer volunteer.
To me, this is not stepping back and avoiding work, but rather is stepping up to the challenge with renewed dedication. Prayer in Christian Science is very active. It isn’t simply reciting words and hoping for something to happen, nor is it asking for a certain candidate to win. Prayer is learning more and more about God as absolute, infinite Love, and letting the light of divine Truth shine on all aspects of my life especially where I encounter division, injustice, tumult, and evil. And even simply in reading election news or political commentary on social media, there is no shortage of opportunities to let the light of Truth shine through.
Part of my “volunteer prayer work” includes reading a weekly Bible Lesson, which is found in the Christian Science Quarterly and includes passages from the Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science. Early on in my prayer work, a particular passage from Science and Health stood out to me in a new light, and it has since become a central point of my prayer:
“Human sense may well marvel at discord, while, to a diviner sense, harmony is the real and discord the unreal. . . . We may well be perplexed at human fear; and still more astounded at hatred, which lifts its hydra head, showing its horns in the many inventions of evil. But why should we stand aghast at nothingness?” (p. 563 ).
Rather than getting caught up in the whirlwind of conflict and anxiousness, we can pray to see that the whirlwind itself doesn’t actually have the substance it seems to have.
Discord, fear, and hatred are, unfortunately, not uncommon reactions when it comes to politics. But rather than getting caught up in the whirlwind of conflict and anxiousness, we can pray to see that the whirlwind itself doesn’t actually have the substance it seems to have. The true, entirely spiritual world of God’s creating includes only goodness; anything else is a suggestion that God is not absolute. Christian Science explains that God fills all space, is all-powerful, and is good itself. The spiritual reality, then, is that there are no dueling powers of good and evil; there is no other legitimate power than the one and only, supreme and infinite God, good.
The Bible explains the quality of God’s creation, saying, “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31 ).
This doesn’t mean we just bury our heads in the sand when politics get ugly. It means acknowledging that God, the divine Mind, governs all of creation, including every single one of us—and therefore we have a God-given ability to not give in to the temptation to react in fear or hatred. When I pray in this way, I no longer find myself churned up by the political scene. Instead, I feel a deep assurance of inner peace and love for all, which informs my interactions with others about politics and any other issue.
As the electorate casts ballots for this US presidential election, perhaps you will join me—wherever you live, and whatever your nationality—in pitching in together as prayer volunteers! Science and Health urges, “Let us rejoice that we are subject to the divine ‘powers that be’ ” (p. 249 ). No matter the outcome of this election, or the next, we can always let divine goodness, rather than hostility, inform our response.