A spiritual response to save our children from IS
A Christian Science perspective: Praying for youth lured by Islamic State’s call to harm others.
In spite of the brutal nature of its ideology, Islamic State in Syria and Iraq has continued to attract youth to its cause, luring them through social media and turning them against family and country (see “ISIS in America: How doomsday Muslim cult is turning kids against parents,” CSMonitor.com).
As I yearn to help eliminate such atrocities against our world and our youth, I pray with a particular Bible verse from the book of Job that helped me when I was a youth corrections counselor. Referring to God, it says, “He is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth” (23:13).
The Bible passage implies that God is Mind itself – unfaltering and all-powerful. His goodness and power are supreme. In my study of Christian Science, I’ve come to understand that as God’s likeness (see Genesis 1:26), we are each directly under the government of this divine intelligence, and that there is, in reality, no counter attraction to sway us into evil. The true nature of man as the child of God naturally expresses the purity of spiritual innocence, without bestial or warring tendencies.
This is how I began my work each day as a counselor: by prayerfully acknowledging one Mind, one God, as the only Mind of man – of all men, women, and children. As a result, the senior counselor assigned to me what he deemed the most difficult cases, because of how effectively he saw the youth respond under my counseling. Together, many times we witnessed significant changes for the better as the destructive influences of dishonesty, hopelessness, gangs, and addictions were set aside for positive, constructive alternatives that changed the path of these youths’ lives.
So, how does prayer have such positive results? To realize the power of one Mind, who is All and is only good, and to know that it’s true for a specific issue at hand, is a powerful force in our lives. It’s what I believe Christ Jesus asked his followers to do. He taught that we could follow his example by going into the “closet” of prayer (see Matthew 6:6) to gain an understanding of God’s power. He showed that we all have a connection with God: he prayed to “Our Father” (see Matthew 6:9). He also showed that Christ is a divine influence, and it speaks to human consciousness – directing, protecting, transforming, lifting us out of all that is unlike good. Praying to know there is one Mind – one cause and one effect – results in healing, by revealing man’s truly divine origin and nature, thus transforming human consciousness and character.
I’ve found that in my desire to help protect children, I can utilize the liberating influence of the Christ by yielding in my own thought to the truth of each child’s real being, and by serving divine Love in my work. By praying to reject, as a false representation of an individual, characteristics that are unlike good, and exchanging them in my own thought for what is spiritually good and true about an individual, I can help disarm evil attractions. That means praying to replace the picture of someone as hateful, lustful, or angry with the understanding that God’s child is the expression of love, purity, self-government, and patience. It is what the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, proved in her own healing work. She writes, “Be firm in your understanding that the divine Mind governs, and that in Science man reflects God’s government” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 393).
As we let our words and actions be directed by meekness and unselfed love, assigning all real power and influence to God, healing follows, in our own lives as well as in the lives of others. By realizing the presence and might of good, and knowing it embraces all people and nations, we will increasingly magnify the good and true – we will begin to see this spiritual fact as the reality. And in this way the Christ, the divine influence that is transforming our own thought, will be effective in others as well. The Christly influence in human consciousness counters the false attractions that would lead our children away from their inherent ability to be of sound mind – so they won’t be lured into harmful purposes and actions, but will be led in safer, happier paths.