MY neighbor, the bookkeeper for her family's business, worries about how the company will fare under the health insurance plan being prepared by the President and Congress of the United States. At a time like this, it's legitimate to turn to prayer in support of government officials. Such prayer has a Biblical basis in a letter that Paul, a follower of Christ Jesus, wrote to Timothy. He says, ``I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; for kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty'' (I Timothy 2:1, 2).
Such advice is not only wise but compassionate, as much or even more so today than it was in the time of Paul and Timothy. The news media, lobbying organizations, the fears of individuals and corporations, can create a lot of mental ``static'' for any legislator to deal with. Our love for God and man--expressed as heartfelt prayer--can help free legislators of anxiety or distractions so they can think clearly and make wise decisions.
Such prayer is not just a recitation of words. Instead, it acknowledges our and everyone's relationship to God. Understanding that God is our Father and that each of us is in truth His spiritual likeness helps us overcome the belief that we are material personalities, clashing with each other, having needs that must necessarily be in conflict.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, explains this in her book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She writes, ``Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it. Goodness attains the demonstration of Truth'' (p. 2). The spiritual truth of being is that God alone governs man. The more we understand this and strive to live in accord with God's will, the more evidence we see of truly good government. We find that goodness is a vital part of man's real nature as the expression of intelligent, impartial Love, God.
In proving that goodness is present for everyone, some specific points can enrich our prayers on the issue of health care.
Intelligence: God, divine Mind, is the source of all intelligence, and Mind is not hampered by finite human reasoning, which has a material basis. Since man is made in Mind's likeness, it is natural for man to express intelligence. Affirming that intelligence is inherent in our legislators because they are children of God helps them and us to discern the right steps to take.
Freedom from fear: Under the government of God, divine Love, fear isn't a power, because love and fear are opposites. As we pray for our officials, we can affirm that divine Love is present and guiding man. This drives out less than ideal motives such as fear of not getting reelected, fear of loss of support from lobbyists, or even the simple fear of making a mistake.
Openness to inspiration: Government and other institutions rightly demand ``structure,'' but in this context, flexibility and creativity need not get buried. Divine Love is expressed in infinite ways. When we affirm everyone's openness to divine inspiration, we help legislators break out of the ``we need to do it this way'' mold and open the door to intelligent solutions that meet needs, perhaps in unexpected ways.
Prayer for those in government is always a good idea. It ultimately blesses not just our nation but all who seek intelligent laws and righteous government.