Praying for ourselves and mankind

THROUGH my study and practice of Christian Science I had seen the effectiveness of prayer. I had experienced the results of God's loving control, brought to light through prayer, in the healing of sickness and a variety of personal troubles. But now I found myself doubting the potential effectiveness of my prayers in a particular instance. Like those around me, I was concerned about the drought, economic conditions, and starvation in Africa. I wanted to pray about these. Yet recurring concerns about t he enormity of the problem apparently kept me from setting aside the time to pray. Then one day, while mentally kicking myself for not praying, I remembered a recent experience. I had been healed instantly of severe flu symptoms through the clear, insistent realization of God's, Love's, allness. This had obliterated the sense of disease. This healing stood out to me, not only because it occurred so quickly, but because it left on my consciousness a lasting impression of God's unmistakable power. This assurance of divine power was what I needed in order to reject the notion that some troubles are too big to pray about. I realized it was not so much a sense of the enormity and complexity of the famine in Africa that had ``stumped'' me as it was a failure to apply what I had experienced of God's all-power to my understanding of the situation. I had proved, to a degree, in my own life that disease and lack are not the immovable realities they seem to be but are falsities, having no existence in God' s sight. The realization that no pain or suffering could exist in a universe controlled by divine Love--in the actual and only universe of God's creating--was exactly the starting point I needed in order to pray for those around the world in dire want. When faced with suffering that appears the result of complex social, economic, and natural conditions, we're not helpless. We can turn to God for the understanding we need in order to pray effectively. The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, writes, ``When man is governed by God, the ever-present Mind who understands all things, man knows that with God all things are possible.'' 1 It is God's own infinite nature, as divine Principle, as Life itself, that makes His law of good comprehensive. When understood and appealed to, this law meets every human need, as the Master, Christ Jesus, so clearly proved. As we consistently yield to the operation of divine law in all areas of our lives, we can begin to understand how this law undergirds all true social and economic reform and provides an enduring, spiritual basis for mankind's health and well-being. Resolving personal situations through prayer (whether the need is for more intelligence in our work, more harmonious family relationships, or better health), we gain confidence in the scope of God's power to care for every human need. Recognizing a corresponde nce between spiritual solutions to personal difficulties and the spiritual facts that apply to widespread problems, we are enabled to pray more meaningfully for mankind. For example, as we more consistently express God's love in daily living, we gain a clearer sense of divine Love's deep, impartial caring for all its creation. The generally held concept of man as an unimportant speck in a universe of uncaring forces, coupled with human indifference to out-of-sight segments of humanity, may underlie the phenomenon of mass suffering. Prayerful realization of the worth of each individual, based on his genuine status as Love's cherished spiritual offspring, can improve the a tmosphere of human thought, paving the way for more intelligent ways of meeting mankind's needs. Paul said, referring to God, ``In him we live, and move, and have our being.'' 2 The realization of Love's omnipresence and ever-available care helps set aside the belief that man can lack care, can be deprived of the unlimited resources that God is always providing for His offspring. As we persistently seek God's guidance in our own lives, and receive more evidence of His loving control, we gain increasing strength for the sustained prayer that situations of large-scale human suffering may require. The more we experience God's healing power, the more certain we become that this power is available to solve the world's problems. We only need to apply it. 1 Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 180. 2 Acts 17:28. 30{et

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