AS Mr. Reagan and Mr. Gorbachev prepare for Geneva, I am increasingly determined not to be left out of the occasion. You don't have to be left out either. It's not that there will be room for us at the summit table. But it's not true either that this is just a two-man show.
There's too much at stake for lives everywhere, when two superpower leaders sit down to talk, to let them go it alone. Nothing less than humanity's survival seems to be at issue, if some news reports are to be believed. And if the situation is that serious, some bold healing, some spiritualization of thought, is in order.
In the Psalmist's day, the people ``cried unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and brake their bands in sunder.'' The Psalmist continues, ``Oh that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!'' 1
Perhaps it's because issues and dangers seem so total, so global, these days that we hesitate to commit spiritual-mindedness to resolving the challenges of the twentieth century. And yet, can anything less be sufficient?
James in his epistle placed no limits on the power of prayer. ``The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,'' 2 he wrote. In order to have been central to Christ Jesus' healing ministry, ``effectual fervent prayer'' must have been nothing short of a radical, regenerative conviction about the very nature of life and being. It must have been infinitely more than a wishful hoping that God would dip into human misery with occasional comforting benevolence. To do the works of the Fathe r, Jesus' prayers must have been anchored in a conviction that there is just one Almighty God, totally good, and that man is no less than His pure and whole likeness.
In the midst of an immobilizing physical condition, one time, healing came when I finally caught a glimmer of what it means to be God's child with all the perfection guaranteed by that deeply Christian, spiritual understanding. For days, fear and pain threatened all I thought and did until prayer began to displace them and my concept of myself drew closer and closer to God's knowledge of me as His image and likeness, perfect and complete. The relief was quick and quite humbling. The immensity of the threatening danger dissolved. The assurance of God's superiority to the circumstance flooded in. It was, it occurred to me, the promise of the Lord's Prayer being made evident in my experience: ``Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.'' 3
And so, perhaps, it is with summit meetings and a world confronting paralyzing troubles. Prayer can open thought to a higher concept of leadership and government in a world that -- in terms of emotion and motivation -- has not changed all that much from Bible times. Prayer can reveal to us where the government of man ultimately and eternally lies -- with God. And our clear sense of this truth can have a healing impact. Why? Because it is truth -- universal, irresistible truth, to which humanity must eventually yield.
Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, says: ``Proportionately as we part with material systems and theories, personal doctrines and dogmas, meekly to ascend the hill of Science, shall we reach the maximum of perfection in all things.'' 4 And she says a couple of pages later, ``In this new departure of metaphysics, God is regarded more as absolute, supreme; and Christ is clad with a richer illumination as our Saviour from sickness, sin, and death. God's fatherliness as Life, Tr uth, and Love, makes His sovereignty glorious.'' 5
Which brings us back to ``effectual, fervent prayer'' and its relevance to the summit meeting next week. The presence of all our prayers just might prove to be summitry of the highest order. 1 Psalms 107:13-15. 2 James 5:16. 3 Matthew 6:10. 4 Miscellaneous Writings, p. 232. 5 Ibid., p. 234.