Are you praying for the American hostage in Iran? Many are. It is unlikely that any two prayers will be identical. Prayer is distinctly individual. One's prayers are always shaped by his motives and concept of God. A right concept of God ensures answered prayer.
Those in positions of authority in government may be seeing a situation that looks politically insurmountable. Some may believe that the wisdom of mankind is not sufficient to solve the problem. Many of these people may be reaching out to God in prayer. Prayer for self-control. Prayer for wisdom. Prayer for justice.
There may also be those who are praying because they are afraid; concerned individuals throughout the world who see an international incident holding within itself the explosive potential to trigger a third world war. Perhaps they have survived other wars but have not yet forgotten the terror, the anguish , the destruction. How they must be reaching out to God as a "refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble."
n1 Psalms 46:1.
Why haven't all these prayers been answered conclusively? Could one reason be that they have been tinged with doubt? If so, the one who prays may need to reexamine his concept of God. He might ask himself: Do I really believe that God is all-powerful? That God loves and cares for all His children? Do I really believe God is all-good? That He governs all? That His will is always to bless and protect, to heal and deliver?
When our answers to these questions are affirmative, we can know our prayers are effective. It doesn't matter whether the problem is a personal one or on a world scale, the requirements are the same: a right motive, a right concept of God, absolute trust in Him.
Before Christ Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, he knew his prayers would be answered. He prayed: "Father, I thank t hee that thou hast heard me. And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe. . . ." Lazarus then came out of the tomb still bound with his graveclothes. Jesus turned to the people and said, "Loose him, and let him go." n2
n2 John 11:41, 42, 44.
Jesus proved his concept of God to be Love. Christian Science gives Love as one synonym for God. Some others are Life, Soul, Spirit, Principle.
Sometimes people resist the word Principle as a term for God. This may be because they do not understand that Principle and Love are synonymous.
Even the barest understanding of God as divine Principle, Love, inspires greater trust in our prayers.
Principle is changeless, irresistible, incapable of being influenced, always available to meet every need.In referring to some of the proofs of divine power recorded in the Bible, Mary Baker Eddy n3 writes, "Even in captivity among foreign nations, the divine Principle wrought wonders for the people of God in the fiery furnace and in kings' palaces." n4
n3 Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science;
n4 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,m p. 133.
Divine Principle is the only lawmaker, the only true government. It knows no opposition, no resistance. It is incapable of being manipulated, disobeyed, or overthrown.
Prayer, then, based on a concept of God as Changeless Principle -- as present everywhere, "even in captivity among foreign nations" -- carries divine authority. It can and does free the captive. It demands, "Loose him, and let him go." It proves even to those standing by that prayer is power and that true prayer is answered. DAILY BIBLE VERSE And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened , and every one's bands were loosed. Acts 16:25, 26