Praying for hostages and their families

A Christian Science perspective on daily life

Kidnapping and hostage-taking are occurring not only in the Middle East but throughout the globe. Recently, a story in this newspaper (July 5) told of a radio program in Colombia that allows people every Saturday night to broadcast their messages to family members taken hostage. The article noted: "Colombia has finally shed its notoriety as the kidnap capital of the world. (That distinction now belongs to Mexico, where there were more than 3,000 kidnappings last year."

The host of that radio program said, "Ten years ago, if you were kidnapped, there was a full page in the newspaper. Now, it's four lines," concluding that it was "natural for interest to wane."

The Christian Science Monitor, having had to deal with the kidnapping of its own reporters over the years, has a commitment to keep its readers aware of hostage-taking in Iraq and elsewhere. Prayers for hostages and their families must not wane but be filled with the assurance that no one, in true spiritual being, can be separated from the Father-Mother God.

Such prayer is inspired by these words of St. Paul: "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God" (Rom. 8:38, 39).

"Existence, separate from divinity, Science explains as impossible," wrote Mary Baker Eddy in the Christian Science textbook, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" (p. 522). Recognizing as a scientific fact that there is no one separate from God demands that our prayers include the kidnappers. We need not fear that such inclusion will aid their nefarious schemes. While this great truth comforts the innocent, it discomforts the guilty and must eventually lead them to turn from this evil as a means of gaining their ends.

Though hostage-taking is at an all-time high and happening in many countries, this practice is not new (see II Kings 14:14 or II Chronicles 25:24). While the Bible records incidents of this awful practice, the overall message of this holy book is of God's care for His children.

The Bible also offers accounts of many incidents when people prayed to God and evil plans were thwarted. For instance, one psalm reads: "They imagined a mischievous device, which they are not able to perform" (21:11).

There is no doubt that today many attempted kidnappings have been thwarted. Our prayers that evil intentions be not hidden are of vital importance in preventing the capture of the innocent.

While the purpose of hostage-taking is to gain something – money or political concessions – such motives are not rewarded in the final analysis. Even though in some instances negotiations may have brought the release of a victim, the captors do not gain enduring reward because the law of God, good, never rewards evil.

While our prayers encompass all aspects of this great problem, the prayers that must endure until all hostages are freed are those that include that our Father-Mother God is with the hostage in the sweet promise of the 23rd Psalm: "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.... Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever."

The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him;
and the Lord shall cover him
all the day long, and he shall
dwell between his shoulders.
Deuteronomy 33:12

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