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Prayer and Protection

THOSE of us living in the middle part of the United States have been hearing lots about a possible major earthquake in our area. Recently we felt two small tremors. That evening the local news carried interviews with people about how they were preparing for the threatened quake. A few said they were praying. Someone might ask, ``What good is prayer against an irresistible force like an earthquake?'' I've been wondering what Christ Jesus' response would have been. He exercised God-given dominion over the so-called measurable, factual laws of matter, bringing harmony to countless situations. He proved that God's law of good has precedence over evil.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes reassuringly: ``God never ordained a material law to annul the spiritual law. If there were such a material law, it would oppose the supremacy of Spirit, God, and impugn the wisdom of the creator. Jesus walked on the waves, fed the multitude, healed the sick, and raised the dead in direct opposition to material laws. His acts were the demonstration of Science, overcoming the false claims of material sense or law.''

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One such demonstration of Jesus' dominion was his stilling of a storm. Mark's Gospel tells us that Jesus was on a boat with his disciples when a fierce storm came up and threatened to sink the boat. The disciples, fearful for their lives, woke Jesus, who was asleep in the back of the ship. The Master's response was immediately to still the storm.

Jesus' perception of the situation must have been very different from the disciples' frightened sense of things. Didn't the Way-shower have a clear understanding of and trust in the one almighty God and in the harmony of His universe? This enabled him to experience the peace of divine reality right there on the boat where others were struggling in the turmoil of the storm. Jesus showed that we can find protection from apparently dire circumstances through an understanding of God and His government of man and the universe.

This may not seem easy to accept or even realistic. But is it realistic to suppose that omnipotent God is powerless to help or that prayer is of no use? Prayer is a powerful help, not as a wavering, doubtful effort to change supposedly immutable circumstances but as a means of comprehending the spiritual reality of creation under God's perfect government.

The need is to bring, through prayer, our sense of reality into line with what's spiritually true. Coming to discern in communion with God that He really is almighty, that true creation is totally spiritual and indestructible, and that the power of divine Spirit supersedes material forces -- this perception allows one to gain an increasing measure of dominion over the threats of evil.

Prayer is a vital, effective means of counteracting untoward circumstances. It allows us to spiritualize our view of reality, bringing us into greater harmony with the divine view. And in proportion as we truly understand God's government we will find ourselves protected. And we'll be helping others as well.

We won't feel helpless about families, loved ones, or community members as we include them in this spiritual view -- actually recognize them as under God's perfect government. God's law is a law of universal harmony. But we need to do a better job of proving this through a more widespread understanding of divine power and the possibilities of prayer.

Calm, consistent prayer is needed for the whole world right now. Such prayer can make a difference.

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