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Prayer and Nuclear Testing

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

India's recent testing of nuclear weapons triggered an international reaction both swift and negative. Concerns include reigniting the arms race; destabilization in the region, particularly with Pakistan and China; renewed pursuit of nuclear capability by other nations; and a general rise in tensions where tensions are already too high to begin with.

What difference could prayer possibly make? Maybe a lot. Even a modest difference would be worth the effort. The 46th Psalm in the Bible offers a road map to prayer. First it describes a catastrophic scene - though not necessarily a foreshadowing of nuclear destruction. The psalm goes on to refer to God's peacekeeping action. Then it commands our prayerful participation.

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Here, briefly, is the sequence. First, a snapshot of the scene: "The earth be removed, and ... the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea ... the waters thereof roar and be troubled ... the mountains shake with the swelling thereof." Then comes God's action: "He [God] maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder." And, finally, our part: "Be still, and know that I am God."

Those last few words describe what we do, the prayer we need to make, to experience what God is already doing as the ultimate peacemaker. Our part is to be still, to attain a quietude of thought marked by a sure conviction of God's nature as the one "I am," the one divine and benign presence and power.

That mental stillness is really the opposite of the tension and friction to be silenced. That mental stillness, so different from mental vacancy, is the calm assurance that divine Love, divine Principle, is in complete control. And this calm assurance is an antidote to tension, friction, anger, and so on.

The mental climate of the world community is made up of whatever each of us contributes to it. Good or bad. Calm or hostile. Forgiving or angry. In that sense we are purifying or polluting the mental atmosphere with every thought we think. So are others. But all thoughts are not of equal weight. Thoughts of stillness and of peace and of love outweigh their opposites because they derive from the one God. That's why a single individual praying, with conviction and with understanding, makes a real difference. And more than a modest difference.

God, the one I am, is divine Mind. He is the source of every right idea. Thoughts of peace, of calm, of stillness, all originate with Him. These are the thoughts with which to fill our prayers. Instead of being horrified at a catastrophic scene, or outraged at a politician making that scene more likely, we do better to follow the Psalmist's counsel in our prayer. Then we realize the presence and power of the one God, who "maketh wars to cease."

The Prince of Peace, Christ Jesus, carried forward this message. He illustrated above all others the power of Love, as when he escaped an angry mob. He illustrated the protecting power of God-derived calm, as when he stilled a storm at sea. Jesus illustrated, with quiet certainty, that having the Mind of Christ results in the defusing and resolving of explosive situations.

Jesus' life offers the perfect illustration of mental stillness and its efficacy. And a certain book offers the perfect explanation of that illustration. The book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," by Mary Baker Eddy, discloses the Science of Christ. It explains the method and the basis for Christly prayer. One passage reads: "It should be thoroughly understood that all men have one Mind, one God and Father, one Life, Truth, and Love. Mankind will become perfect in proportion as this fact becomes apparent, war will cease and the true brotherhood of man will be established. Having no other gods, turning to no other but the one perfect Mind to guide him, man is the likeness of God, pure and eternal, having that Mind which was also in Christ" (Pg. 467).

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As we engage in such spiritual understanding, we are praying for the whole world. Our own mental calm benefits the overall climate of thought. The "Mind which was also in Christ" is seen more and more as the only Mind. Wrongheaded decisions must then begin to give way. Sanity and serenity, proceeding from the one I am, must take hold.

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