A prayer for safety for the children of the world
A Christian Science perspective.
Children everywhere have the right to a safe and happy childhood. Yet, as a recent Monitor article points out (“Are Pakistan’s Taliban using children as weapons?” June 22), this right is not observed in many parts of the world. From child soldiers in some of Africa’s wars, to their forced participation in suicide missions in the Middle East, to sex trafficking in Asia and the Americas, and child abuse in general everywhere, it would seem that the innocency of childhood itself is under assault. The heart yearns to free these children, but the enormousness of the task seems daunting.
I have learned, both as a parent and through my professional work around the globe, that prayer knows neither origin nor national boundary. Scientific prayer, that is, prayer based on the affirmation of the allness of God and the consequent safety and health of God’s loved image and likeness, His universal children, is not like a light bulb. A light bulb might shine brightly in an enclosed space, but its radiance diminishes rapidly with distance, as every student of physics knows. But metaphysics does not obey the inverse square law. The power of prayer knows no such attenuation. It is the declaration of, and gratitude for, the laws of God that fill all space and define the universe.
A word that expresses the concept of all power at all points is “equipollence.” Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, remarked in her major work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “The equipollence of God brought to light another glorious proposition, – man’s perfectibility and the establishment of the kingdom of heaven on earth” (p. 110). Just as the laws of arithmetic are as valid in Congo as they are in Chicago, the laws of God are omnipresent. And our prayerful recognition of them, and our vehement mental rejection of lust, hatred, and greed as outlaws, false mental concepts – lies, in fact – can bring healing. Our individual recognition of God’s all-power can and does have an effect thousands of miles away. This is a glimpse of the kingdom of heaven on earth.
Christ Jesus proved this. The Gospel of John narrates that a nobleman came to Jesus, asking him to come and heal his son (see 4:46-53). This was no small journey, but one that would have involved an overnight. Jesus searched the depth of the nobleman’s faith, and evidently determined that the man was ready to believe in God’s power even before he’d seen any physical evidence. He told the father, “Go thy way; thy son liveth.” Without a word, the father turned around and began his homeward journey. When he arrived the next day, he found that his son was healed and that his condition had begun to improve at the very moment Jesus had responded to him. Distance means nothing to an equipollent God.
So we have not only a Christly example, but a Christly mandate to pray for humanity’s children. This prayer brought to mind an experience I wrote about in an article in this column a few years ago. At one point in our neighborhood, we parents were alarmed as our children told us of strange men driving through our streets, following kids as they rode their bicycles and attempting to entice the children into their pickup trucks. Of course the police were alerted, parents were more vigilant, and children more careful, but the atmosphere was tense. I took my dog-walking duties as time to multitask and pray for our children, to wrap them up in the arms of divine Love. So three times a day when out with the dog, I was reminded to pray for my community from the basis of the equipollence of God.
This prayer led me to the conviction of God’s never-ending care. At that time and during the next couple of years, incidents such as I described stopped, and not only that, I heard fewer and fewer sounds of domestic violence coming from the neighboring houses. The neighborhood became more child-friendly, with dads tossing the football to their kids in the early evenings, children riding their bikes after school, and moms out strolling with their toddlers in the mornings. Even the property values improved as people began to see our neighborhood as a desirable place for their families. I was grateful to be a part of all the efforts that parents, neighbors, and police were making in order to restore peace and safety to the neighborhood.
Our prayers to an equipollent God can help not only our own neighborhoods but also war-torn areas of Africa. They can contribute to a safer life for children in Asia and at home. Sometimes when I wake up spontaneously early in the morning, I use this time to pray for the children of the world, and I am heartened by this prophecy from Zechariah: “Thus saith the Lord; I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem ... And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof” (8:3, 5).
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