Widespread threats to humanity’s safety prompt many of us to want to help. We may not be first responders on the scene, or members of law enforcement involved in preventing attacks, but all of us have the capacity to help by applying what we learn of the nature and power of God, and of man’s eternal oneness with God, to any situation.
As the Bible brings out, in the second and subsequent chapters of Genesis, for example, the source of humanity’s ills is the underlying, universal belief that matter constitutes life. The mortal sense of life, a life that seems to be separate from God and outside His loving government, includes within it the various fears and materialistic conceptions that manifest themselves in disease, lack, sin, sorrow, violence, and despair. All discords, from the smallest to the largest, stem from this overarching mistaken view of life.
In the Christian Science textbook, Mary Baker Eddy writes, “The description of man as purely physical, or as both material and spiritual,—but in either case dependent upon his physical organization,—is the Pandora box, from which all ills have gone forth, especially despair” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 170).
And elsewhere in the textbook she says, “The erroneous belief that life, substance, and intelligence can be material ruptures the life and brotherhood of man at the very outset” (p. 541).
If violence and suffering are spawned by the material sense of life, then the remedy for these must lie in discerning the opposite of materiality—the reality of Spirit, God, and His harmony, and the harmony of man as the expression of Spirit. A material view of life doesn’t perceive Spirit, but because we are actually the offspring of God, spiritual perception and understanding are inherent in us; they are forever expressed in us by our Father-Mother God, divine Mind.
In a passage in the Bible, the Apostle Paul speaks about spiritual sense (see I Corinthians 2:9–16). In one of the verses he says, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” And Paul concludes this instructive passage by saying, “We have the mind of Christ.” What a strong, clear indication of the God-bestowed ability we all have to grasp what is spiritually real.
Every time we glimpse the reality of God and His creation, and experience physical or moral healing as a result, it’s because we have been utilizing spiritual sense. However modest our individual healings may seem in contrast to the challenges facing humanity today, we should never doubt our ability to use the understanding we have to pray for the welfare of our fellow world citizens.
The Bible speaks of those who, using spiritual sense, were able to save large numbers of people from violence and devastation: Gideon, for example, who through his listening to God saved his people from the ravaging attacks of the Midianites (see Judges, chaps. 6 and 7); and “a poor wise man,” who saved a besieged city through his wisdom, “yet no man remembered that same poor man” (Ecclesiastes 9:15). And there are others.
If God is supreme, and His reign of harmony the only reality, God’s divine control must be provable here on earth. Praying to understand and affirm God’s supremacy supports the moral strength and wise, timely decisions that nations and peoples need, to deal effectively with terrorism. More fundamentally, prayer chips away at the materialistic beliefs underlying hatred, malice, passion, and intolerance, promoting the development of genuine goodness in our worldwide family, and greater evidence of God’s control.
Like so many of us, I’ve had to deal at times with deep concern, even fear, in response to terrorist attacks. But I’ve been grateful that praying to look beyond the material evidence of a world plagued by strife has led to inspired glimpses of realities I hadn’t seen as clearly before.
For instance, I’ve been able to see more fully that we all dwell in God, therefore we dwell in the unity of Mind, the order of divine Principle, and the utter goodness of divine Love. I’ve prayed to understand better that inflamed passions are no part of the divine Mind, so they cannot be part of Mind’s infinite manifestation, man; that hatred has no origin or place in the allness of divine Love, and therefore is neither natural nor possible in the image of Love—your and my and everyone’s true being.
It’s not our personal thoughts that reach out to others to heal. Nor does Truth need our prayers in order to be Truth. But divine Truth, the saving Christ, needs to be accepted, in order for human experience to be transformed by it.
And that’s why our prayers help. It’s like opening the shade on a window, allowing more sunlight into the room. Everyone in the room is embraced in the light, even those who turn away from it. Because God is everywhere, the light of Christ that fills our thought as we pray reaches everywhere, embracing everyone. We can’t know when or how individuals will become receptive to spiritual truth. But the truth works patiently in human consciousness, often unseen. Truth uncovers evil thoughts and corrects them. It also brings to light God’s guidance and protection, for governments and individuals.
The spiritual understanding we gain through our own experiences in relying on God for healing fortifies us to be of help to others. As St. Paul wrote, in Second Corinthians 1, verses 3 and 4: “Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.”
David C. Kennedy
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