Financial instability? Prayer stops fear.

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

Instability on the stock market, the weak dollar, and a certain amount of financial fragility abroad – along with verbal and financial speculation about oil prices – are giving people the jitters. The result is fear and a growing pessimism about the economic future of the United States and the world at large. It's important not to let this fear continue to grow. Economies are not blessed when people are fearful. In fact, prayer to deny fear in any field of action is a necessity.

While there are no stories in the Bible of stock markets saved through prayer, there are plenty of people who were protected – who had the money or other means that they needed for survival. A common element in many of these accounts is an individual's desire to be honest, to do right, and to love God.

Speaking of her own times – which bear an uncanny resemblance to ours – Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "This period is not essentially one of conscience: ... This is a period of doubt, inquiry, speculation, selfishness; of divided interests, marvellous good, and mysterious evil" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," p. 237).

Looking at our times through this lens reveals the same characteristics. Nations seem fragmented into competing interests, and speculators take advantage of business and political weaknesses. Divided goals make a unified response to financial threats more difficult. Looking to material conditions and projections seems to be the only practical approach to prosperity.

The Bible begs to differ. It recounts experiences individuals had of food that should have run out, but didn't, of oil that multiplied, of water that appeared in abundance in the desert in response to prayers from people who desired to be honest, to do right, and to love God.

They were, to some extent, perceiving that behind creation there is a divine intelligence, or Mind, that brings everyone and everything together. Mind transcends local, national, and even international agendas. Its only agenda is good. As the supreme intelligence of the universe, it enables us to act wisely, to make good choices, and to remain calm in the midst of financial challenges. To pray to see oneself and others as subject to this one Mind – not out of any desire to get one's own way but out of love for humanity – is to realize that in Mind there can be no division because Mind is the source of all oneness.

Mind, being God, can include only good, and it is always pure. As we live in harmony with Mind, it's natural for us, as the children of this Mind, to experience goodness and purity because this is what Mind is giving us all the time. Mind protects its children from speculative ventures, from doubt and fear, from loss and lack. Specifically praying for our families, communities, and nations and affirming the spiritual reality of the one Mind, governing them, can only bless each one.

There is another side to the conditions of these times. Mrs. Eddy wrote, "But sin can only work out its own destruction; and reform does and must push on the growth of mankind" (Miscellaneous Writings, p. 237). To build a house or a business on speculation, greed, or division instills in it the seeds of its own destruction. Only reliance on Spirit offers true stability and peace.

That doesn't mean, however, that those who have built in this way are lost. It is possible to change direction, to become supporters of stability instead of fear. To embrace goodness instead of materialism and greed. Doing this allies oneself with Christ, the spiritual idea of God that reforms and redeems – and also uplifts all people to see God's ever-present supply for their needs.

Everyone affected by financial challenges can act intelligently and wisely to restore stability. Obedience to the one Mind's guiding will help them make their way. As we turn thought in this more spiritual direction – toward Spirit and away from the pull of matter – the individuals involved will be sustained even if they hit some bumpy places on the road to stability. More than this, such prayer will help restore both stability and prosperity to our world.

Adapted from www.spirituality.com.

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