For almost forty years, there has been no world-scale war. Who is not grateful for that? But who is not also saddened by the persistent smaller wars? Loving people feel compassion for those who suffer from armed conflict.
Yet ''ordinary citizens'' who deeply desire to help end the agonies of war may feel there is not much they can do other than perhaps write a letter to an elected official or newspaper, or donate time and/or money to an organization working to end war. But there is more we can do. We can pray. Christ Jesus promised, ''If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.'' n1
n1 Matthew 17:20
A simple prayer of petition, anchored in faith, can be effective. ''Dear God, please soften the hearts of those who war and lead them to peace'' expresses a touching desire that can help heal the ugly passions and fears that cause war.
Other prayers can be even more helpful in bringing to light the reality of God's perfect government. Humble, earnest, scientific prayer, as taught in Christian Science, is an example. Such prayer includes an affirmation of the universal spiritual truth of perfect God and of man in His likeness, and an inspired denial of all that is unlike Him.
Man, as God has created him, is not what he appears to be. He's not a limited , sinful mortal, a mixture of both good and evil. Rather, as Jesus illustrated through his healings, man's true being is God's perfect expression, the manifestation of the infinite good that God is. Because God is Love, as the Scriptures teach, man is loving, and overflowing with pure goodness. Because God is truly the one Mind, man manifests intelligence and wisdom. And because this is the actual nature of man, there's no ultimate reality in what St. Paul refers to as ''the old man,'' the sinful materialistic sense of man - though clearly this needs to be proved step by step.
In divine reality there's no brooding, vengeful, malevolent man, no pitiful mortal driven by fear, selfish ambition, or compassionless zeal. Nor are there other mortals frustrated and disgusted by the qualities they feel they see in those who make war. To God, Love, perfect man is the only man.
To pray from this standpoint may seem odd, because this view of God and man is certainly not supported by what we see and hear around us. But didn't Jesus himself hint at these radical spiritual truths when he said, ''Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect''? n2 And isn't it possible that the scourge of war continues because we have not yet learned well enough to deal through powerful prayer with the basic false concepts of God and man that promote war?
n2 Matthew 5:48
The five senses would have us resist the true God. They argue that only material seeing is believing. But there is infinitely more to life that is beyond the five senses, which are crude in their discernment. Maybe we intuitively feel this. Though we may not know it, we all have the unutterably pure spiritual sense that is aware of the reality of perfect God and man, though this sense may seem, temporarily, to be buried beneath layers of materiality.
Yet as we meekly listen to this spiritual sense through prayer, we gain the childlike conviction that good is the reality, even though it may not be widely apparent. Our fear of evil and belief in it diminish somewhat. Above disgust or even sympathy we come to feel deep compassion through which we perceive everyone to be the treasured child of the one infinite God, who is good. We discern that hatred, jealousy, fear, revenge, and so forth, have no actual basis. Such spiritual seeing, such prayer, does contribute toward peace because it helps awaken us and others to God's supremacy and to His will, which is always good.
The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, ''One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man; ends wars; fulfils the Scripture, 'Love thy neighbor as thyself;' annihilates pagan and Christian idolatry, - whatever is wrong in social, civil, criminal, political, and religious codes; equalizes the sexes; annuls the curse on man, and leaves nothing that can sin, suffer, be punished or destroyed.'' n3
n3 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 340
Humble, fervent prayer to God can cross national, cultural, and religious lines to touch the true holiness in everyone. It can purify human motives and acts. There is much each of us can do to help end war. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16.