THE evening news brings scene after scene of modern-day war. The causes of these wars may be different, but the results are the same. Citizens die, fathers and sons are killed in combat, mothers and daughters are separated. Whether we live in a country where there's no present war, or whether our nation is struggling in the midst of one right now, most of us yearn to find a way to end the suffering and the conflict.
It's not always easy to overcome the rage and fear that lie behind wars. But one step toward overcoming these violent emotions--in ourselves and for the world's nations--is to begin to see others, as well as ourselves, as in truth God's children. We do this through prayer, through gaining a deeper understanding of God that helps us learn more of man as created in His image. We begin to understand that each of God's children is loved, protected, and governed by God. We learn that man's true purpose is to express God, divine Love.
Christ Jesus told his disciples of the upheavals to come in the world, but he also urged, Luke's Gospel tells us, ``When ye shall hear of wars and commotions, be not terrified. And he went on to assure his followers in all ages: ``And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh. Redemption from destructive thoughts and actions, from materiality, begins with turning to God. And as we do this we increasingly find that conflict is healed wh en hatred, selfishness, and fear are destroyed.
Obeying divine Love enables us to replace hatred with compassion, fear with trust, and hurt with forgiveness. This is the beginning of our learning to change from false, materially based thoughts and their effects to the spiritually based concepts and actions that derive from an understanding of God and of man's relationship to Him. This change shows us the spiritual nature of true brotherhood.
Because God made man in His likeness, we know that He created man good, perfect, loving, free. Man is spiritual and reflects harmony, peace, and truth. He is not the selfish, cruel mortal he may sometimes appear to be. Prayer teaches us the distinct individuality and usefulness of each of God's children and shows us that each one is loved and cared for by God.
When we realize that God, good, is the only cause, and that God and man are inseparable, we see there is no room left for hatred and fear. Thus, prayer teaches us how to put off the anger and hatred that lead to conflict and to nurture the spiritually grounded respect and love that bring peace to our lives and our world. Redemption and renewal begin with us. And as we do our part in putting off hatred and anger, others will benefit from our newly gained spiritual understanding.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, shows us the importance she placed on prayer for the world when she writes in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany: ``Each day I pray for the pacification of all national difficulties, for the brotherhood of man, for the end of idolatry and infidelity, and for the growth and establishment of Christian religion--Christ's Christianity.
The world is yearning for spiritual peace and freedom. Prayer helps us acknowledge God's supremacy and power. It enables us to perceive the God-given ideas that resolve problems and change circumstances. Above all, prayer for the world and its freedom from wars unfolds a better spiritual understanding and enhances brotherhood. And war ceases as the warlike thoughts of hatred and anger are replaced with spiritual love and forgiveness.