"Please share this invitation or information to pray for the India/Pakistan meeting or summit in Agra between the heads of the two countries beginning July 14. Both leaders appear to want to resolve the pending disputes, especially Kashmir.
"Most of the trouble seems politic based[. There is] a need for healing of past history, resentment, bitterness that have been created between the Hindus and Muslims, etc. A favorite statement of mine is from the book: 'How Peace Came to the World,' a compilation of essays published by the Chris-tian Science Publishing Society. I think the second article in the book deals specifically with the Pakistan/India situation[,] and the author wrote, 'But peace is neither the absence of war nor the presence of a disarmament agreement. Peace is a change of heart.' "
The Kashmir is way up there - lying across the borders of Pakistan and India and touching China and Afghanistan. Its largest city is Srinigar, and it is enchantingly said: "If there is a heaven on earth, it is in Srinigar." In many earthly ways it qualifies for that appraisal. Dal Lake and its houseboats, the lofty Karakorams, Shalimar Gardens, the Kashmiris and their color and culture.
Negotiations begin tomorrow between India and Pakistan over this "heaven on earth." There are unheavenly issues deserving resolution - settling the many-faceted conflict that has unsettled this beautiful place. I have accepted my friend's invitation to pray, and to pass her request along, I harness this Monitor column.
Most of our readers are likely to be Christians. Can prayer to God as taught by Christ Jesus be of use where there is a predominance of other religious faiths? God cannot be God and hold peace hostage to a denominational label. God is universal by whatever name. God is always Love, and His love is universal. Prayer for harmony between peoples and concepts knows no limits or exclusions. The yearning for peace by a Muslim mother and a Hindu father and a Christian child finds its unity and effect in love.
The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, through her love of God, discovered a scientific system of prayer. She tested this prayer and found that it heals sickness, redeems from sin, and changes hearts and lives. The power of such prayer is shown in the deep meaning she finds in a loved Christian prayer called the Lord's Prayer, which Christ Jesus gave to his disciples.
The prayer's opening lines are significant as the summit in Agra begins:
Our Father which art in heaven,
Then Mrs. Eddy draws from her spiritual sense to share an interpretation of that line, and of the following lines:
Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious,
Hallowed be Thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy kingdom is come; Thou art ever-present.
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pg. 16
Jesus' prayer for God's kingdom to come on earth has continued for 2000 years. It has kindled and accompanied human progress. Its power and blessing increase as it nourishes hope and dampens hate in families, communities, and nations.
There is a science to prayer. There is a science to peace. The reason and revelation of prayer, Christian and other, is a divine influence that will, by degrees but inevitably, remove the history of hatred, the mortal imperative of revenge, and the base impulses of greed and fear.
The science of prayer lies in its divinity, in its God-source and God-effect in the lives of people who pray for good and know that good comes from God, and that the spiritualization of mankind is its result. Elements of heaven come to earth begin to shine through.
In Agra, in the Middle East, in Ireland, in Sudan, in the Balkans ..., prayer has the presence and power to change a fragile peace to solid building blocks of courage and trust. Prayer is not a passive, philosophical pastime for those who don't know what else to do. It is a powerful article of change for good, uttered in faith by anyone reaching for access to a higher power governing world affairs.
An e-mail request has come. It is a miracle of human communications accompanied by hope, trust, and a knowledge that our response to its confident plea can unselfishly, and in a holy way, refine hardened hearts and spike fearsome weaponry. Prayer can bring about a peace that needs no justification, no explanation, and that appears just because it is right.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor