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Promoting collective good through prayer and action

From the September 2013 issue of The Christian Science Journal

This piece was originally written in French and posted as a Herald of Christian Science Web original in May 2013. It was also reprinted as a Christian Science perspective in The Christian Science Monitor. 

Is it possible for developing nations to obtain peace and prosperity, and to create a solid basis for long-lasting democracy and steady growth? Since the 1990s, efforts to establish democracy in Africa have been characterized by political unrest, but ongoing efforts have brought progress, including increased freedom of expression and better conditions for women. But there is still a long way to go to overcome major challenges resulting from the lack of transparency of some governments in the management of their affairs. Also challenging is their indifference to the well-being of their people, which fuels poverty, injustice, and corruption.

Believing that the welfare of a nation is strongly linked to political and economic conditions, people rest their hopes on politicians, their system of government, and human laws and regulations, which are not always reliable or long-lasting. As soon as a government does not meet expectations, it is criticized, challenged, and held accountable for all problems.

The Bible, on the other hand, shows that when individuals are motivated to seek the common good, God supports both their progress and society’s progress. Nehemiah, for example, wanted to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and to protect it from its enemies, who had previously destroyed the city and enslaved the children of Israel (see Nehemiah, chapters 1—6). Nehemiah had at heart the collective good, but frightening opponents threatened his efforts. They formed an alliance to attack Jerusalem and to prevent its reconstruction.