The Reach of Prayer

I HAD been gripped by reports of the massive air campaign against Iraqi positions during the early days of war in the Persian Gulf. I was avidly following television reports. A correspondent reported a flash in the night and an explosion. Then something flashed in my own consciousness. I realized that I was on the edge of my seat, utterly captured by the drama of live warfare. I turned off the television and left the room.

Like so many people the world over, I had been endeavoring to pray about the war -- endeavoring to pray for divine wisdom and power to prevail. While it's natural and right to stay informed, I realized that for our prayers to be most effective, we need to carve out time that is purely focused on the spiritual work of prayer.

If God seems removed from the immediacy of human events and almost unreachable, could it be that we've failed to make room for His presence in consciousness? Spiritual seekers across the centuries have found that the realization of God's presence and power often comes as ``a still small voice.'' Responding to that voice, receiving its spiritual message, is what prayer is all about. But if consciousness is filled with the clamor of preoccupations, how is the voice to be heard?

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We can do as the Psalmist counsels: ``Be still, and know that I am God.'' It's as though we say to ourselves: ``OK. I get the picture. Now it's time to turn wholly to the Father and give Him our full attention. It's time to awaken to the possibilities for good that God provides.''

Turning off the television is easily done, but the mental turmoil must also be quieted. And what we experience as we begin responding to God is peace in our lives and a renewal of hope. This is not flimsy hope but a solid, spiritual hope, a conviction, that flows from an awakening to the magnitude of God's power.

Christian Science teaches that God is infinite Spirit and that man is the spiritual expression of God. This conviction obviously is not based on the physical senses, which present a material man in a material universe. When Mary Baker Eddy discovered the Science of Christianity, she learned that the physical senses are inherently flawed, even deceptive; they deny the presence and power of God, divine Life. An entirely different sense, what she calls spiritual sense -- man's innate capacity to understand his Father, divine Truth and Love -- is needed to realize the reality that belongs to God and is governed by God. Christ Jesus showed that we all have spiritual sense, which enables us to silence the world's clamor and to respond to the ``still small voice'' of Spirit.

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mrs. Eddy, the founder of this newspaper, writes: ``The `still, small voice' of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe's remotest bound. The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, `as when a lion roareth.' It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear.... Then is the power of Truth demonstrated, -- made manifest in the destruction of error.''

We don't have to be concerned with somehow getting our prayer around the world to where help is needed. God is present. He is already present ``in the desert and in dark places of fear.'' Christianly scientific prayer is a deep and very real affirmation of and response to God's all-encompassing power. It allows His reality to break in with healing and saving effect.

The world is covered with people who are watching events. We all can do something more. We can watch spiritually. We can find the response that is filled with the healing power of God's great reality and constant presence. By doing so we can bring tangible, spiritual support to a world that is weary of war and is searching for lasting peace.

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