What do we owe them?

A WOMAN, moved by reports of abused children, vowed to pray daily about that issue until she saw clearly that God's government of infinite, powerful love does indeed bring healing to mankind. Some time later she was grateful to see in a local paper that incidents of child abuse in the area had decreased by 25 percent. To her, it was not a coincidence but an indication of the power of prayer. What do we owe the children of the world? The Bible says of Christ Jesus, ``He took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them, whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me.''1 Today's children are in great need of that Christly embrace. While we can't be personally present to help every child in need, a course of action that is open to everyone is prayer -- prayer that comes from the heart of love for one another, which is the very essence of Christianity. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, ``True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection.''2 Through such prayer, Christian love moves beyond human sympathy to Christly hope and healing.

Prayer can reach around the globe, helping to enlighten the dark places of the world, because the power of God, discerned in prayer, is omnipresent. The need is to realize in communion with God that His power is supreme over tyranny, regardless of its form. Though ignorance, cruelty, sensuality, may appear to predominate, they can no more arrest the dawning recognition of God's presence than the darkest night can swallow up the early morning light. Prayer that springs from a deep recognition that God is almighty is not intimidated by the apparent magnitude of troubles but rejoices in absolute certainty of God's power to uplift, enlighten, and save. Vigorous affirmations of God's omnipotent goodness can help destroy callous indifference and break barriers of fear.

A family that had moved into a new neighborhood was warned by neighbors to expect delinquent behavior from children who attended the schools in the area. Instead of fearing this prediction, the parents made a special effort to include all children, their own as well, in daily prayer. They affirmed that innocence and joy are natural to children and that crime and destructive habits are unnatural. Daily they brought their view of children nearer to the standard of God's spiritual likeness, realizing that the true selfhood of all is pure and good. They truly learned to love all the children who passed their house to and from the schools. During more than twenty years of living there, this family hasn't experienced one incidence of delinquency; and such incidents have gradually ceased throughout the entire neighborhood.

Not one little child in the world is expendable. Nor is a single prayer insignificant in the face of the world's need. To fear that it is would be like supposing that the notes of a basic musical scale are not needed in a symphony. One who understands the power of individual, unselfish prayer will not suppose that it is someone else's job. What will be the impact when every individual realizes and acts on his ability to help the children of the world through prayer?

Inhumane conditions exist today as they did in earlier centuries. But society today is increasingly willing to face the challenges and work together to find solutions for all who are in need. The spiritual love that healed, comforted, and fed the multitudes in Jesus' time is eternal and universal. Prayer enables us to recognize that powerful Christly love and bring it to bear on situations that desperately need progress. Those who are willing to pray, fearlessly and expectantly, are taking the first important step toward acknowledging that effective ways can be found to bring compassionate help to all children everywhere.

Jesus emphasized the necessity of unselfish prayer, and he demonstrated by his healing ministry that it results in practical, tangible benefits to mankind. His words still ring with the depth of our debt to those who need help. ``I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.... Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.''3

1Mark 9:36, 37. 2No and Yes, p. 39. 3Matthew 25:35, 36, 40. DAILY BIBLE VERSE: Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving. Colossians 4:2

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