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Have you prayed for your country today?

A Christian Science perspective.

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More than 50 years ago, the US government designated the first Thursday in May as a National Day of Prayer. Many people see this as an opportunity to pray for the general welfare of the country, and some are adopting the theme that the organizers chose this year: "Prayer ... America's hope." Even if you're not an American, you might take this as an opportunity to pray for your own country and its leaders.

Prayer based on trust in God's government is indeed the hope of all nations. While this prayer doesn't make us oblivious to the political or personal issues that concern governments, prayer reveals that these issues are subservient to a higher, spiritual law.

I well remember the first time that prayer played a vital and surprising role in my political thinking. I had belonged to one political party, the party of my parents, all my voting life, and always voted the party line. I was beginning the study of Christian Science and realizing that I could pray about political issues and all that concerned the welfare of my country. When I voted, I turned away from considering merely partisan arguments and followed where my prayers were leading me. I don't remember the results of that election, but I continue to value the importance of praying for my country and letting those prayers dictate my votes.

The news media, including the Monitor, have an important role in keeping the electorate informed on issues important to the welfare of our country. The founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, was a prominent religious leader and felt that prayer was important in fulfilling the demands of a righteous and equitable government. At one time she wrote, "Pray that the divine presence may still guide and bless our chief magistrate, those associated with his executive trust, and our national judiciary; give to our congress wisdom, and uphold our nation with the right arm of His righteousness" ("Christian Science versus Pantheism," p. 14).

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