Some years ago, Dorothy Forster was in Croatia, feeling overcome by the devastation she saw there. Returning to England, she prayed to know how to help her world.
Armed with a firm belief in the power of prayer to bring about change, she remembered the Big Ben Silent Minute - a prayer for peace originated by a British major during World War II; it involved people praying individually or in groups to the chimes of Big Ben, prior to the news at 9 o'clock every evening.
Dorothy Forster set about encouraging people to join in prayer at a specific time and on a specific day - for just one minute - in support of peace and harmony on earth. The result today is a charity with representatives in many countries called "The Silent Minute," which endeavors to encircle the globe in its appeal for the prayers of those of all religious persuasions. It asks that tomorrow, August 15, people unite in prayer for the earth and for peace at 2 p.m. Greenwich mean time (10 a.m. EDT). More than a million people have already pledged to do so.
Such initiatives are encouraging, especially in an age when global communication brings many pictures of devastation and hopelessness into our homes. The power of prayer to change things for the better is something we can count on. At times of positive change in recent world history, such as the fall of the Berlin Wall and the onset of democracy in South Africa, prayer has been widely recognized as a silent force that impels forward momentum. The Silent Minute deserves the support of all who pray, and the world deserves many such minutes as it strives to find universal peace.
The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, had an enduring trust in the power of prayer to help and heal individually and collectively. And she proved this power by bringing healing to individuals, and through her writings to the world. Mrs. Eddy's major work, the book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," was recognized in 1992 by the Women's National Book Association as one of 75 books by women "whose words have changed the world." It sprang from its author's prayer. Its pages shine with the power of prayer's silent mental force. Readers of this book, which is the textbook of Christian Science, find themselves learning how to pray more effectively and making time to pray daily (often for more than a minute!) in support of healing for themselves and for the world. They may also find themselves looking to the Bible for inspiration to enrich these prayers, since that is where Eddy found her inspiration.
Whether or not someone is a Bible reader, "Science and Health" contains valuable spiritual insight for all who yearn to see healing and restoration. Our silent minutes of heartfelt yearning for better world conditions can be rich and enduring, effectively blessing our health, our homes, our communities, and the whole earth. We can turn to the one creator, universal Love, God, with a faith born not only of conviction but of experience. We can see our prayers, our desires for good, being shaped by God, bringing about actual, positive change.
Christ Jesus said to his disciples, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature" (Mark 16:15). Our silent minutes spent in prayer are an effective way to do this, bringing the good news of God's power and love into the arena of world thought.
Science and Health states, "One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself;' annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, - whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed" (Pg. 340).
People of all faiths can unite with great joy and trust in the power of prayer, looking to the creator of all for proof of the love that redeems and heals. Prayer makes a difference. May there be many more silent minutes. Our world needs them, and so do we.