“I don’t even know how to pray about that!” a friend complained recently when discussing a current world issue. “How could my prayer affect something so … big?”
I had to smile, because I remembered a time when I would have given the same answer: Pray about world peace, world hunger, an epidemic, troubling weather patterns? What would be the point? Things like that don’t change. Even if they did, how would I ever discover that my prayers had done any good?
As I’ve persisted in my study of Christian Science, however, I’ve realized more and more that we can pray about larger issues, and, more importantly, we can reasonably expect results. I have learned that I can and should pray about many of the larger issues of today. While I do not always receive a confirmation of the efficacy of my prayers, at times I have seen evidence of God’s grace in action.
One of the issues many people are concerned about today is the weather. Mary Baker Eddy felt strongly that Christian Scientists should pray about the weather, and some reminiscences by her household workers tell what she said about how to handle the weather through Christian Science. For example, she is recorded as once saying, “The weather expresses our concept of it and can be handled as any claim if you do not hold it as something apart from you, governed by some other power or almanac. God governs all. This is the way Jesus stilled the tempest” (We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, Volume II, p. 287). Among these reminiscences are also testimonies of storms being dispelled by Mrs. Eddy’s prayers (see, for example, We Knew Mary Baker Eddy, Expanded Edition, Volume II, pp. 213–215).
I’ve realized more and more that we can pray about larger issues, and, more importantly, we can reasonably expect results.
I love praying about the weather. I often pray for a sense of harmony between man and nature. I reason that “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). Therefore, nothing can exist that is harmful or inharmonious. This means the weather must be in harmony with the needs of nature and also with humanity. One cannot be left out to favor the other.
Another passage I cherish from the Bible, and which is especially useful when praying about fear over changing weather patterns, is the promise God gives Noah: “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Genesis 8:22). To me, this biblical promise indicates we have a right to expect normalcy with the weather patterns, and when I pray this way, I often find that the weather falls back into the correct pattern for the appropriate time of year.
One fall, for example, when there was a drought where I was living and the rivers were very low, I had the wonderful opportunity to take Christian Science Primary class instruction. During this time, I found myself praying again about the weather (the drought was also affecting the area I had traveled to for class instruction). At one point, as I was standing and waiting to catch a ride, I began to pray to see more clearly that nature is in harmony with God.
At that moment an angel message came to me, saying: “Treat human thought.” In Christian Science the verb treat is used to essentially mean “pray for by knowing the truth about.” In this case, I understood that the message “Treat human thought” meant that what I was seeing as a material problem—an issue concerning weather and nature—was actually a manifestation of some error commonly held in human thought.
Soon after this, the day came when my teacher asked us to go out and heal. Riding on the train that day, I could see how low the reservoirs were. Rocks were visible that I had never seen when I lived in this area as a child. I chose to pray specifically about the drought and began treating commonly held human beliefs. I thought about drought, and what came to mind was the belief of lack.
I considered this error of belief and how in the human experience so many people fear that they will lack essential necessities. Then, as is taught in Christian Science, I began searching for the counter fact to the belief of lack—the unchanging spiritual truth. I affirmed that there was no lack in God’s kingdom, only abundance. After all, a spiritual idea of God, which God’s creation is, cannot experience lack. If God has all that He needs, then we, who are made in His image and likeness, must have all that we need as well. I continued praying along this line for a few minutes.
When I looked up, it had begun to rain. It rained for three days. My host’s brother, who had come into town to enjoy the fall colors, commented: “This is the first sustained rain since last winter.”
This experience helped me realize that we are not limited to praying only about small or personal things. When the “big picture” troubles us, we can turn to God. Our prayers contribute to the resolution of the problem, and we can expect results!
Human mentality, expressed in disease, sin, and death, in tempest and in flood, the divine Mind calms and limits with a word. —Mary Baker Eddy, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, p. 106