WHAT can one person do to help the world's children receive the love and nurturing that they deserve? To hope that a neglected child may someday find love and self-worth, or that justice may prevail eventually, is not enough, is it? Surely all children everywhere deserve comfort and care right now. Our prayers can bring this ideal closer to reality.
Often my own praying starts with the prayer the Master, Christ Jesus, taught. The Lord's Prayer begins, ``Our Father which art in heaven'' (Matthew 6:9). Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, gives depth to our understanding of the Lord's Prayer by showing us its spir- itual meaning. In her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures she says of this phrase: ``Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious'' (p. 16). God is the real Father and Mother of each of us-- of every child and every adult. This fact is not a future hope, but is a present law. Understand- ing God's love for what He creates has already brought healing to many lives.
When we begin our prayers by turning to ``our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious,'' we are acknowledging the presence of God, and the presence with us of those spiritual qualities He provides to His offspring. We might associate God's fathering with provision and protection, His mothering with comfort and cherishing. Then, because God is universal, our prayer helps us to see that His supply of parenting qualities is everywhere present.
St. Paul urges in his letter to the Philippians, ``Rejoice in the Lord alway.'' And he goes on to assure us, ``The Lord is at hand'' (4:4, 5). The Bible gives us many proofs of God's caring presence at work, creating and preserving all He creates. The one Father-Mother is watching over His children. They are all precious to Him.
What's wonderful about this is that since God, divine Spirit, made His creation spiritual, like Himself, we don't have to wait until later to be spiritual. We do, however, need to recognize that we are, in reality, spiritual now and see what this means in our lives. This change gives us a new basis from which to meet the needs of the world's children.
No material or political methods have proved sufficient to provide care for all the world's children. What we need is a redirection of purposes and thought--a spiritual redirection that realizes the omnipresence and omnipotence of ``our Father,'' who is divine Love, and invokes the unfailing authority of His law.
I have seen the healing power of prayer many times myself and for my own children. One time in particular stands out because my daughter was halfway around the world, traveling with a college group. She was ill and called home to ask me to pray for her. She had stayed behind while the rest of the group spent the afternoon sightseeing. How grateful I was for my understanding that God--her (and my) true Father-Mother--was right there caring for her. I reminded her of this, and assured her that I would pray for her. After I hung up the telephone I affirmed that divine Love, our ever-present Parent, was enfolding her in its care. Love's care, Love's protection, was greater and more certain than anything I could have done, even if I had been there. She told me later that within a short time of calling me she was able to get up, find her friends, and join in the rest of the day's plans. She did not have to wait for their return, nor did she miss out on the afternoon program. I was thankful for her quick recovery.
Prayer can help us understand more clearly how divine Spirit embraces all. We cannot literally take all the world's children into our arms or our homes, but we can, through prayer, put every one into the arms of divine Love and know that God is caring for them. Because God is everyone's true Parent, His love also includes the parent who needs guidance. Inspired prayer can result in humanity's finding new solutions to the problems of feeding and caring for children. And as we attend to what the one infinite Parent provides, we can find new ideas that lead to solutions that include all children, without depriving or depleting anyone. Then we can come closer to seeing the entire world included in God's embrace.