Prayer that can expose and prevent terror
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
The arms of the world have opened to embrace the people of Madrid. And having felt the outpouring of care that was showered on us here in New York City, I know this will be a genuine help to everyone in Madrid. It is a God-impelled response, and it is a mighty help.
The pictures of millions of Spaniards silently walking the streets in protest against terrorism are a call to all of us to join in. Few of us can do all the practical work that this involves. But there is a spiritual dimension to this struggle that we can participate in. The need for our help on this front is great.
For this to be effective, one needs to learn more about the divine power that can uncover evil - expose it - so that it fails to go forward. The time has come to stop thinking of the term Almighty as an abstract church term and to understand it better literally. And in a conflict where people fight in the name of God, it's time to know more about God as almighty good, almighty justice, almighty Love.
In a book called "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which looks unblinkingly at the struggle between good and evil, author Mary Baker Eddy wrote the following - using the word error as synonymous with evil: "Though error hides behind a lie and excuses guilt, error cannot forever be concealed. Truth, through her eternal laws, unveils error. Truth causes sin to betray itself, and sets upon error the mark of the beast" (page 542).
The power of God, divine Truth, destroys evil - evil motives and acts. Sometimes prayer is more than a petition; it is an acknowledgement of spiritual facts. It's important to understand this almighty, ever-present, unceasing, power of Truth. There is no place on earth, there is no corner of consciousness, there is no part of one's conscience where this almighty power is not at work. A deep understanding of Truth's power produces results. And the world clearly needs people willing to devote their prayers to this end.
One reads so much these days about the ability of terrorists to escape detection, even when faced with every known technological resource. A close reader of the news, though, will notice as well, that many plans are thwarted. I've felt a need to pray daily to understand how divine Truth guides, directs, animates, inspires, and leads all who are striving to prevent this violence.
I've been helped by a passage from the Bible. It's part of Jesus' instruction and reassurance to his disciples when he warned them of the persecution they would face in their work: "Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known" (Matt. 10:26). Several times the New Testament reports that Jesus was able to escape from harm because "he knew their thoughts." The efforts to entrap him or harm him failed because his receptivity to spiritual wisdom enabled him to foresee his enemy's plans and to thwart them. Today, that same divine Mind continues to impart wisdom, intuition, and alertness to all whose mission is to save us from harm.
There is another important point. I've also been praying to understand that man's moral sense, animated by God, can rise above the hatred, self-righteousness, and blind passion that drives people to terrorist acts. Divine Truth is an almighty moral force, an irresistible power. It can lift one out of the blindness of hate.
This moral sense saved the people of New York's borough of Brooklyn from a terrorist attack in 1997. A group was set to launch an attack on one of New York's busiest subway stations. But one individual who knew of the plan exposed the plot. The police raided the building, arrested the people involved, and confiscated the bombs. This case disappeared from the headlines quickly, but I've expressed gratitude many times for the moral sense that took hold of that individual, and caused that plan to fail (For further information, see http://www.cnn.com/US/9708/02/brooklyn.bomb.pm/).
We are tempted sometimes to think too much of the intelligence and sophistication of terrorists who have eluded searches for them. But prayers that acknowledge the operation of God's almighty law, that affirm its supreme authority, and that realize that nothing is beyond the reach of divine Truth - these are prayers that will gather momentum and expose terrorist plots in time to prevent them.
He shall cover thee
with his feathers,
and under his wings
shalt thou trust:
his truth shall be
thy shield and buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid
for the terror by night;
nor for the arrow
that flieth by day.
Psalms 91:4, 5