The recent tragedy in Beirut, Lebanon, involving United States Marines, has certainly elicited tender and humanitarian sympathy for the victims and their families. Hopefully, that compassion has been broad enough to include prayer for the perpetrators of this grievously misguided act. Feelings of anger and revenge are never helpful.
In view of events, there is a widespread and fervent desire to find a solution to the chronic chaos in that area of our globe. The people there and the world over deserve justice, peace, brotherhood, and stability. Through God it is possible.
Could it be that the circumstances are calling on humanity for renewed and deeper prayer? It is well known that ''man's extremity is God's opportunity.''
Every sincere prayer to the one Almighty God is needed and welcome. A heartfelt petition for peace and harmony is not too simple to help. Perhaps prayers of humble affirmation are especially needed-affirmations of the universal spiritual truth that God is all good and infinitely powerful; that man is in reality His perfect offspring, not a victimized or victimizing mortal. When such prayer is anchored in deep faith and an understanding of God, it can be a powerful force for good.
Our material senses insist that conflict is the reality in Lebanon. But does our sense of reality have to be limited by what we see on television or elsewhere? Far beyond the perception of the material senses, we are able to feel God's presence through the action of spiritual sense, which we all have but may not all use as actively as we might. Spiritual sense reveals peace, harmony, and brotherly love as the ultimate and only reality.
We might, then, view the situation in the Middle East as a demand that mankind set aside lesser, materially based views of God and His creation and yield thought to what He, divine Love, knows. This isn't to ignore conflict and suffering. It's to bring a measure of healing to them through an awakened perception of God's supremacy.
Through spiritual understanding, Christ Jesus was able to discern God's perfect, spiritual man right where others saw sick men. And this discernment of what was really true in God's sight, the natural harmony of His creation, resulted in healing. Each of us can cultivate, at least to some degree, this spiritual view.
The Bible, in Revelation, says that ''the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.'' n1 Perhaps those leaves symbolize spiritual understanding unfolding in humble human consciousness.
n1 Revelation 22:2.
The power of pure, scientific prayer, prayer based on an understanding of God and man, has proved effective in dealing with every sort of trouble. In the arena of world events, then, the need may be for deeper and more effective levels of prayer.
The false opinion that humanity is helpless in this situation, or that only time can unravel the confusion and conflicting wills, should not stop us from praying more deeply. Mankind need not be captive to fear, grudges, ignorance, pride. We are free to pray effectively. Everyone's prayer is needed and each can be qualified to contribute by his humility, humanity, and budding spiritual understanding.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, has written a short article titled ''How Strife may be Stilled.'' It is profound and deeply worthy of the attention of everyone who is earnestly looking to God for His direction about how to pray effectively in the present situation. In it she writes, ''Nothing is gained by fighting, but much is lost.'' And further, ''God is Father, infinite, and this great truth, when understood in its divine metaphysics, will establish the brotherhood of man, end wars, and demonstrate 'on earth peace, good will toward men.' '' n2
n2 The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, pp. 278-279.
The way to pray effectively is known.The time to pray is now. Through this tenderness we can help in Lebanon and elsewhere. DAILY BIBLE VERSE Pray without ceasing. . . hold fast that which is good. IThessalonians 5:17, 21