Praying for our worldwide family
A Christian Science perspective: A response to the bombings in Ukraine.
Many of us have loved ones and friends living in places where they face extreme challenges to keep food on their tables and warmth in their homes. Our hearts go out to them, and we long to help – but when we’re far away, it’s tempting to believe there’s simply nothing we can do.
Yet the Bible assures us, “My help cometh from the Lord” (Psalms 121:2). The Bible also tells us that God is always near and is all-powerful – but it can sometimes feel as though that might not be the case. How can we all experience the practicality of this promise? And how can we bring healing to others across the world? We can begin by throwing off the limiting notion that anyone is helpless and wake to the strong biblical promise: “The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him, to all that call upon him in truth. He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them” (Psalms 145:18, 19).
This promise underscores the power of prayer to reach loved ones, and others, both far and near – because there is no distance between God and His children! In order to pray, we need to first let go of any feelings of hopelessness, which lead thought away from the understanding that God is omnipresent divine Love, and that we are all God’s offspring, created spiritually in His likeness. When we turn away from the sense that God is anything other than a loving protector, we are open to understanding that God is powerful enough to provide for the needs of His creation! Praying this way – by choosing to keep our thoughts centered on the understanding of God’s omnipotence, omnipresence, and goodness – we are able to meet challenges both near and far.
Choosing to accept the power of good doesn’t ignore whatever challenges need to be surmounted in our lives or in the lives of those we care about. Instead, it recognizes that because good is spiritual, it can never be lost. God is good itself, so He is the source of all good, which He is continually causing to appear in ways that renew, restore, and provide for every person’s needs. By praying to become more conscious of the reality and power of good, we see new opportunities and possibilities for meeting people’s needs more quickly. We also become more receptive to the inspiration and constructive ideas that come in answer to our prayers, which can help others.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper and of the Church of Christ, Scientist, lived through the troubling times of the American Civil War. She was familiar with the deprivations such conflict brings, yet after her discovery of Christian Science her faith in and understanding of God’s goodness and supreme power was an unshakable foundation that gave her the strength to resist succumbing to hopelessness and despair in many situations. Through prayer and a deeper study of the Bible, she began to understand how God’s constant care not only supplies our needs and the needs of others but also how it strengthens, heals, and lifts us into a greater freedom from discord of all kinds. As she grew in her understanding of the powerful and reliable effect of prayer, she wrote, “What we most need is the prayer of fervent desire for growth in grace, expressed in patience, meekness, love, and good deeds” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 4).
The patience that needs to be expressed is not a resignation to just endure hardship, but rather it is an expectation of good. As we and our loved ones patiently rely on God, divine Love, the understanding we gain brings tangible evidence of God’s provision for humanity’s daily needs, no matter what challenges present themselves. In her major work, Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy wrote: “In divine Science, man is sustained by God, the divine Principle of being. The earth, at God’s command, brings forth food for man’s use. Knowing this, Jesus once said, ‘Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink,’ – presuming not on the prerogative of his creator, but recognizing God, the Father and Mother of all, as able to feed and clothe man as He doth the lilies” (p. 530).
As each of us patiently prays with an understanding of divine Love’s care for all, the shadows of doubt and fear dissipate; they are replaced with confidence, joy, and patience. In prayer like this, we and those we pray for can each experience inspiration directly from God. Divine Love’s presence opens our hearts to the practical ways in which we can help one another, and needs are met in sometimes unexpected ways. When we pray in this way, we discover a greater sense of dominion over the challenges in our own lives and the lives of our worldwide family.