The economy – how prayer resuscitates

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

ALL EYES ARE ON the US financial system. In one report on National Public Radio, "Is the economic sky falling?" Chris Arnold called this a "tipping point moment" and explained that credit – between banks and then individuals – is "like oxygen to the economy" (Sept. 30). Without this vital exchange, everyone is left gasping for air. Some on Wall Street have even said the US economy has undergone "a near-death experience."

Even as experts debate how to revive the economy – and see their way into the future – spiritual thinkers focus on a prayerful antidote. A starting point for prayer is to understand what gives life and what revives our understanding of it. Jesus was clear throughout his life that nothing material has the power to originate life; only God holds that power. God, as Life itself, would never create an opposite expression, death. Life is not dependent on physical structures for stability or endurance. Jesus proved the practicality of understanding this fact when he healed people, raised the dying to life, and ultimately proved the law of immortality with his own resurrection.

But death doesn't arise only in relation to the human body. It appears to take hold in the bodies we call governments, financial systems, businesses, households, churches. In defiance of what appears to be faltering, prayer breathes new life into these entities and serves as powerful proof that death is never the final answer. Life is ever present, even when everything argues against it. Our job is to demand to see evidence of divine Life, not the frenzy of fear, shattered confidence, or confusion. Divine Life understood provides peace, conviction (not willfulness), and intelligent action. This is also true for those rightfully concerned about their livelihood – from keeping their jobs and feeding their families to planning their retirement. Divine Life cares for all, however high or low on the economic ladder.

The concept of resurrection – which includes renewal and rejuvenation – turns thought away from a fixation on endings to a focus on never-endings. Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy defined resurrection this way: "Spiritualization of thought; a new and higher idea of immortality, or spiritual existence; material belief yielding to spiritual understanding" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," p. 593). In terms of the economy, collective thinking maintains that the constant exchange of money is the lifeline of a healthy financial system. But when we replace this concept with a spiritualized view, economic health can be seen as the constant flow of productive ideas, unobstructed by fear and robust with productivity. A "new and higher idea of immortality" reveals with increased clarity that Life's expression cannot decline or ever be in a state of crisis.

Prophets glimpsed this restorative power. When Elijah met a widow who was preparing to make the last meal for her family and then die, he did a curious thing: He asked her to feed him first. And he said, "Fear not." The widow's obedience saved her family from the threat of death and opened up sources of supply that renewed themselves. Just as Elijah promised, neither her barrel of meal nor her pot of oil became empty "until the Lord [sent] rain upon the earth" (I Kings 17:10–16). Fearlessness, obedience, and willingness to give, became the antidote to death and brought life.

Instead of relying on bank accounts and bailouts for our stability – however much they provide some answers – we can put our trust in the divine economy. Then, what needs to end – such as greed and dishonesty – will come to an end, replaced by revival and stability.

Instead of giving in to predictions of a deepening recession, we can know that our lives aren't at the mercy of fear, but are fueled by Life itself. We can declare with conviction, "The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life" (Job 33:4). All who care deeply about the US economy and its relationship to global financial systems can practice the prayer that destroys fear, trusts God's unfailing provision, and restores confidence in the fact that life and the supply of good have an unshakable spiritual foundation.

Adapted from www.spirituality.com.

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