How are you praying about the Nigeria school abductions?

When things seem difficult and complicated, without an obvious or ready solution, remembering Christ Jesus’ words “With God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26) is reassuring. It is also helpful to know that Christian Science teaches that we can not only pray about difficult issues but also expect practical resolutions and healing. 

I have been praying about the troubling spate of kidnappings of Nigerian school children. I dearly love my country and its people, so this issue has been of special importance to me.

As with any other problem, rather than focus on the myriad complexities of the situation, I start my prayers with what I know to be true of God, divine Love, which is a scriptural synonym for God. It is heartening to know that God’s power and beneficent influence do not vary according to a country’s geographical location, its level of economy, or its type of government. In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “Love is impartial and universal in its adaptation and bestowals” (p. 13). This statement assures us that God does not have favorites and that divine Love would never separate individuals into victimizers or victims. So, we can expect to see God meeting every human need specifically, in just the right way. 

God does not have favorites, and divine Love would never separate individuals into victimizers and victims.

I am also learning from my study of Christian Science that God is Spirit, the only creator. And the Bible says in its opening book, Genesis, that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them” (1:27). This spiritual creation certainly includes children. Therefore, I can be confident that these school children are spiritual, made in God’s image—that they live and move in the harmony of God, as ideas in the divine Mind, not in a dangerous environment where they are at the mercy of inadequate security or exposed to lurking evil that is ready to pounce at any moment. I also affirm in my prayers that progress in our spiritual and academic education is a divine right, a practical law of God, which cannot be interrupted or taken away. 

Kidnapping is to be condemned in the strongest possible terms. But wishing ill for the kidnapper is praying amiss. Jesus taught, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Approaching the situation from the basis of the universality of divine Love, we acknowledge that no one is beyond living up to their true, spiritual nature as the good child of God. The transforming influence of the Christ, which Science and Health explains as “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (p. 332), can be felt by anyone.

I am finding that praying in this way is not naive. It is profoundly wise and practical.

Praying to perceive others spiritually, we see that no one really lives in a dangerous country; all live in the kingdom of God. We also see that God’s children are governed by God and are therefore not subject to corrupt politics. And we recognize that God, not money—including that which is ill-gotten, such as ransom—is the infinite source of supply for everyone. In the reality of God’s all-encompassing love, there are no ethnic wars, no bandits or militants; and no image, or reflection, of God can be a pawn, a victim, a victimizer, or an uncaring, corrupt official. Praying to grasp that divine Love is the reality reassures parents and helps to destroy corruption and restructure the apparatus of government in just the right way. Realizing that this spiritual reality is what God knows makes me expectant of a good and practical resolution.

Recently, the Nigerian and international media reported that many of the kidnapped school children have been released unharmed, with no ransom paid. This is encouraging. I continue to pray with greater expectation for the release of those still held captive as well as for the reformation of the kidnappers. I am finding that praying in this way is not naive. It is profoundly wise and practical.

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