The power of one God and one’s prayers
I was working at a university in New York City during the Vietnam War. Campus protests were heating up, and one day my coworkers and I were told that demonstrators had caused physical damage to one administrative building and were now headed to ours. Most of those in my office left to watch what would happen. But I decided to remain at my desk and pray. This was a natural response for me, as I often prayed to see conflicts resolved.
I thought about a previous college experience, where I had seen potential conflict completely dissolve after I read this statement in an issue of the Sentinel: “. . . there [can’t] be anything but Love between God’s children” (“It worked, Mommie. It worked!” Leta Bailey, May 23, 1964). This idea had struck me, and stayed with me, as a profound, spiritual fact.
God and His ideas are one, and therefore, all of God’s ideas—all people—coexist with one another in that divine oneness. Jesus claimed this unity with God as the basis of the good works he did when he declared, “I and my Father are one” (John 10:30). And Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy tells us, “The scientific unity which exists between God and man must be wrought out in life-practice, and God’s will must be universally done” (p. 202). But it’s not enough to simply know these as nice thoughts; we must demonstrate them in our lives as the truth of being.
So, as protesters neared my building that day and I prayed with these thoughts, all anxiety about individuals in conflict completely evaporated as I glimpsed the oneness of God’s universe.
A short time later, people came back to the office and reported in amazement that when the demonstrators entered the lobby, the leader turned to the group and said, “Wait, these people are not responsible for the war. We don’t need to do them harm.” Immediately, they turned and left. I marveled at what I understood to be the power of knowing the oneness and allness of God. Mrs. Eddy writes, “In divine Science, God is One and All; and, governing Himself, He governs the universe” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 258).
Some months later, demonstrations were becoming more intense and violent. One day at work, I looked out the window and noticed a large group of protesters on the street below. While I was determined not to be fixated by the image of potential conflict, I watched for several minutes, calmly praying, and then went back to my desk. When I looked out the window a little while later, I saw the demonstrators locked arm in arm on one side of the street and a line of police with helmets and batons on the other. As the police began to approach the protesters, I closed my eyes and affirmed that God was right there, so only peace could be governing each of His ideas. Science and Health says, “. . . be thoroughly persuaded in your own mind concerning the truth which you think or speak, and you will be the victor” (p. 412). That absolute conviction of the truth is what I remember feeling. After several minutes, I opened my eyes and saw the police withdrawing and the crowd dispersing peacefully.
I saw the police withdrawing and the crowd dispersing peacefully.
How did these instances of potentially explosive conflict simply dissolve? Christian Science teaches that God, Truth, does the healing work. But what was my role? As I pondered this question, I realized that in both instances, the healing actually happened in my own thought. Once my thought changed from feeling mesmerized by a frightening scene to rejoicing in spiritual truth, I could only bear witness to God’s government of the situation.
We can feel empowered by the recognition that our individual unity with God gives us dominion in every situation, because there is no power opposed to God. Our need is to refute what the physical senses are telling us and yield to seeing what God sees.
I could only bear witness to God’s government of the situation.
In her work Pulpit and Press, Mrs. Eddy quotes this verse from a poem:
“What if the little rain should say,
‘So small a drop as I
Can ne’er refresh a drooping earth,
I’ll tarry in the sky.’ ”
She then continues: “You have simply to preserve a scientific, positive sense of unity with your divine source, and daily demonstrate this. Then you will find that one is as important a factor as duodecillions in being and doing right, and thus demonstrating deific Principle. A dewdrop reflects the sun. Each of Christ’s little ones reflects the infinite One, and therefore is the seer’s declaration true, that ‘one on God’s side is a majority’ ” (p. 4).
To me, the power of one means that there is only one Mind, God, and that this Mind is in control of every situation. Knowing this, we as individuals can each make a difference through prayer.