'FOR twenty-seven years, I was a military man. I fought all the time. There was no chance for peace. I believe that now there is a chance for peace and we must take advantage of it.'' These were among the last words spoken by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin before he was assassinated Saturday.
Rabin has joined Anwar Sadat and others who gave their lives for peace in the Middle East. This peace process must go on; that is why prayers for Israel and her Arab neighbors are so greatly needed at this time.
The God that binds together Arab, Jew, and Christian is the Deity of the Bible. He is the God who speaks of His love for man, who proves it by guiding and protecting all who love Him. Speaking about Jerusalem specifically, the Bible reports this promise from God: ''I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream . . . . As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem'' (lsaiah 66:12, 13).
Spiritual comfort heals, and it comes through prayer. This prayer reveals God's government of man. Under this government, all are united by a spiritual relation to the one God. Nobody is left out of this.
Christ Jesus taught that this relationship is one of a loving, divine Father to His sons and daughters. Within this spiritual context, murder and war are ultimately not realities, because each of us is rightly and lovingly related to the other through our unity with the source of all love, God. To be conscious of this unity with God helps to eliminate evil from the world.
It may appear that our fellow beings are a collection of warring mortals, with minds of their own-some filled with extremism that hates and kills, and some holding ideas that enrage us. Yet God does not include evil of any kind. In prayer, we can affirm that all are under the government of this one, all-good Mind. Here is the ground on which to deal effectively with extremism and hatred. Evil of any kind cannot be indulged, encouraged, or supported. Death and destruction are never God's will, and they can never be reconciled to His commandment ''Thou shalt not kill'' (Exodus 20:13). There can be no lasting peace or real freedom without a firm rejection of hatred and other evil elements of thought.
Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, cited the importance of overcoming such tendencies in these words from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: ''Man's enslavement to the most relentless masters-passion, selfishness, envy, hatred, and revenge-is conquered only by a mighty struggle. Every hour of delay makes the struggle more severe. . . . Here Christian Science is the sovereign panacea, giving strength to the weakness of mortal mind,-strength from the immortal and omnipotent Mind,-and lifting humanity above itself into purer desires, even into spiritual power and good-will to man'' (p. 407).
Anyone reading or listening to this article is free to pray for peace-this includes you, even if you've never prayed before. In your prayers, you can summon the strength that comes from God, and support all who are involved in the peace process. You can let divine strength operate in your own life. This may lead you to resist feelings of envy, to quell the desire for revenge, or to condemn hateful thoughts. Each time you do this, you aid humanity in turning away from these destructive behaviors.
The spiritual fact is that there is no satisfaction in evil, in killing, or even in just hating others. Perhaps for some this behavior is an indelible part of their thoughts. But our prayers for the world can help to cut through even this. In reality no man can desire evil, because only the goodness of God is solid reality. And through our reliance on the one God who unites all men, we can prove this.
Obtaining peace in the Middle East has not been easy. The road ahead looks dangerous and uninviting. But right there is the opportunity for prayer to bring us courage and resolve.