Praying for Others Around the World
Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.
Few people can read the news and not be touched in some way. Sometimes there are signs of hope and progress. But much news involves the difficult things people are facing. Many times praying to God has helped me when I've wanted to help others. I often reach out to God when I learn of others' needs.
There's a wonderful communication from God recorded in the Bible. The images here are ones that would have been meaningful to the nomadic people of earlier times, but the promises ring true today as well. Ezekiel quotes God as proclaiming Himself the shepherd and us His flock (see chap. 34). Then a list of God's promises is given, telling what God will do for His sheep: He will seek them out, gather them, and bring them home; feed them in a fat pasture; bind up the broken; strengthen the sick; make sure none of the sheep are preyed upon; cause the evil beasts to leave the land; and send showers of blessing.
Think of that! God is filling all space with His love and perfect care, and we all have a unity with God ensuring that all those promises in Ezekiel will be fulfilled in our own lives. God makes practical His great love for us; He reveals it in ways we can perceive and appreciate. In speaking of God's ability to care for us, Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote that "God gives you His spiritual ideas, and in turn, they give you daily supplies" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 307).
When I pray I sometimes remember that God is always revealing to each of us ideas of comfort, conscious worth, wisdom, and moral strength. And in my prayers, I remember that this is true for everyone, everywhere in the world.
Comfort. The news is full of tragedies and threats to life. Problems often seem insurmountable, and yet God communicates the exact sense of His love to comfort us in sorrow. He shows us His presence right where we've been seeing only disaster or death, and gives us peace in our hearts. God gives the certainty that all is well and that we can resolve trouble.
Conscious worth. Sometimes lives are damaged by abuse, neglect, or poverty. But the Bible states clearly that God made man after His own nature and He was satisfied with His entire creation; He knew it was good (see Genesis 1:26-31). God knows us and loves us. He is able to open our eyes so that we can see ourselves as He knows us. This knowledge brings satisfaction and strength, enabling us to act in ways that are noble, honest, confident, unselfish, and so on.
Wisdom. There often seem to be no solutions to very complex world problems. But this doesn't change the fact that God is always sending us wise, intelligent ideas that enable us to find resolutions to conflicts, new views of heretofore limited resources, new patterns of behavior-whatever thoughts will bring blessing. Mary Baker Eddy, in writing about God's communications, said this in reference to the Christ: "Christ is the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness" (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 332). When listening for this voice, we can receive helpful ideas and use them for the benefit of all concerned.
Moral strength. Jesus even healed the sinful, approaching them without condemnation but with an expectation of reform and regeneration. He said, according to the book of Matthew, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect" (5:48). Such a command certainly implies that the strength to do right and to be pure in thought and deed comes from God and is natural to each of us. The Bible is full of examples of how men's and women's lives were reformed. When they heard the voice of God and did His will, they were lifted out of sin.
Individual prayer for the world helps us be and do good. Those of us whose own lives have been changed as we've prayed do have a more confident trust, a trust that hearing God speak is truly a source of healing.