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Child soldiers – a call to prayer

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

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First, it was reports about child suicide bombers. Now, there's news of an alleged Al Qaeda propaganda tape featuring young boys (see "In Seized Video, Boys Train to Fight in Iraq, U.S. Says," The New York Times, Feb. 7).

For those of us who are continents and oceans away from the fighting, it can be challenging not to feel detached or become apathetic about praying. But when another spate of reports hits that children are involved, apathy no longer seems a compelling excuse. Complacency somehow doesn't fly.

It's true that, at this point, children being indoctrinated or raised as terrorists isn't really news. But there's something about seeing a masked child – perhaps no more than 8 or 9 years old – holding an AK-47 that brings the point home. These children need our prayers.

But where to begin? If this is all these children know, all they've ever been taught, what hope do we have? Who will tell them differently?

Perhaps the answers to these questions center on a "what" rather than a "who." Because there is something that can make a difference. The Bible calls it the light that "shineth in darkness" (see John 1:5). And that light is the Christ.

Jesus provided the best example of the power of Christ to uplift, transform, and regenerate lives. In fact, he was so filled with the Christ-spirit, so conscious of the saving power of God, that he healed even the most intractable cases of human suffering and mental darkness.

In one instance, a father came to Jesus, begging that Jesus heal his lunatic son whom the disciples hadn't been able to help. As the Bible records it, immediately, Jesus "rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour" (Matt. 17:18).

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