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Prayer: a powerful help in combating tyranny

From the September 1998 issue of The Christian Science Journal

In most cases, governments help control crime and provide services that support order and stability. But when governments are tyrannical and corrupt, that's a crime in itself and people suffer. When those in government allow pride, self-interest, greed, cruelty, ethnic biases, and so forth to influence them to ignore basic human rights and common humanity, no one truly benefits. Is there a way to help from a distance? And is there a way to be helped on the scene?

Yes, there is. No one is ever without recourse to God through prayer. In a passage that puts no limits on God's availability and effectiveness, the Bible promises, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." James 5:16

The basis of this "effectual ... prayer" is a right understanding of God and man. This understanding springs from at least a glimpse of the fact that God is good and that He is All. It includes a sincere acceptance of the truth that man is the image and likeness of God, the full and complete expression of His perfect being. It also includes agreement with the fact—even though we may resist it—that because this is the truth of creator and creation, evil cannot really exist, regardless of what the human situation appears to be. Just as the presence of light rules out darkness and the presence of joy precludes sorrow, so the presence of the one, infinite, perfect God, divine Love, precludes evil. Evil, then, is not power, as it appears to be. That's why prayer based on this understanding can make a big difference when evil seems to be governing.

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