IN a speech made only about ninety minutes before he was killed last November, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin-a war hero who won the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts toward peace between his country and the Palestinians-said this: ''I have always believed that the majority of the people want peace and are ready to take a chance for peace. . . . Peace is not only in prayers . . . but it is in the desire of the Jewish people.'' Jews, Muslims, and Christians by the millions who shared in the mourning also share in that hope. They all desire peace.
Prayer itself can bring peace to realization. One of the beautiful things is that the truth we perceive in prayer goes on to be externalized in our daily lives-truths about peace, for example. Ideas and ideals may first dawn in thought as far-off hopes. Odds against them may look enormous. But when we see that these ideals have a spiritual basis (and peace among men and nations certainly has a spiritual basis), they do take shape in our lives. Understanding that the ideal of peace is a spiritual ideal-rooted in the laws of God, divine Love-and then cherishing that ideal, make for powerful prayer.
Familiar signs may come and go. Reassuring faces may disappear. But God's promises of good remain. An Old Testament prophet said, ''The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee'' (Isaiah 54:10). This promise of peace is enduring-more enduring than the most entrenched of conflicts!
Animosities are almost always fueled by very different views of the same circumstances. If we listen and reason with no more than human ability, we may end up in a swamp of confusion. Or worse, we may get caught up in the emotion and passion of one point of view or another. But wait! Think of God-the only real source of intelligence and harmony. Think of Him-divine intelligence and divine Love. If we begin our reasoning with the realization that God is good, and that He is infinite intelligence, then we're praying with what He already knows, what He unfolds, what He discloses of His own nature and that of all His creation. At that point, we're not so much trying to grope through a difficult conflict, even one made more difficult by an assassin's bullet. We're becoming conscious that from God's point of view-from the fact of His omnipotence-conflict is a nonevent. Holding to that spiritual view uncovers blessings for us. It brings hope where hope before seemed invisible. And it reveals a peace that human negotiating alone can't find. That view doesn't deal with sides, because God is the loving Father of all of us, the real Mind of every one of us, regardless of religion, race, or place.
When a conflict is long-standing, and animosity seems so embedded on each side-when resentment and bitterness run deep-we can remember that the truth runs even deeper. How far back does the hatred and distrust go? Well, the love of God goes back even farther. How deep does the bitterness run? Not as deep as God. We can know that. We can know that today. Such knowing-which is prayer-draws on a power greater than any human circumstance. And such prayer isn't constrained by prejudice, not even one's own.
The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote a message in 1902 addressed to members of the Christian Science Church, but which contained a promise for all humanity: ''O glorious hope! there remaineth a rest for the righteous, a rest in Christ, a peace in Love. The thought of it stills complaint; the heaving surf of life's troubled sea foams itself away, and underneath is a deep-settled calm'' (Message to The Mother Church for 1902, p. 19).
Peace may be in our prayers. But it is not only in our prayers. God has promised us His all-powerful peace. As we cherish what He has promised, we see peace more and more in our lives and around the world. He causes this to be so.