THE severe drought in the southeastern United States has been a cause for concern, and many people have endeavored to help by sending hay, volunteering time or equipment, or giving money. If we don't feel we can aid in these ways, we can certainly pray. That may sound impractical, but the Bible gives many examples of people who turned to God in prayer and were helped in time of need. For instance, the Israelites in the desert were ready to perish of thirst when Moses looked to God for direction, and a water supply was found.1
Christ Jesus proved most thoroughly that relying on God is the surest way to solve a problem. Referring to God as the sole source of his ability, he declared, ``I can of mine own self do nothing.''2 His prayers, so completely imbued with divine power, reached into people's lives and saved them. He stilled storms, fed thousands with limited supplies, healed the sick, raised the dead.
When his disciples asked him to teach them to pray, he gave them the Lord's Prayer.3 This prayer can be the model for our efforts to help the world. Its first words--``Our Father''--bind us together with all mankind before the one God. The petition ``Give us this day our daily bread'' surely applies to those who rely on the harvest of southern farmers and to the farmers themselves. To recognize that God is in fact the source of everyone's ``daily bread'' unites us under His care.
In giving the spiritual sense of the Lord's Prayer, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, interprets the petition for daily bread: ``Give us grace for to-day; feed the famished affections.''4 In a sense, we could say that the haylifts and other expressions of love toward the farmers have been feeding those affections. Television interviews have shown vividly how much these efforts have meant to individuals who thought they were facing the crisis alone. This outpouring of love is making a difference, and our prayers can play a vital role in forwarding a complete resolution of the problem.
Prayer in its most profound sense embraces a recognition that God is all-powerful and only good; that as our divine Parent He loves us. And this love is evidenced in practical, tangible ways through the healing influence of Christ, which Jesus embodied and which is with us always. Our prayer is a powerful help when it includes a realization that our real nature, as Jesus proved, is spiritual, totally free from the limitations of matter. The restrictions posed by a few loaves and fishes meant nothing to Jesus, who understood that man lives in Spirit, not in matter, and therefore is not subject to material conditions.
Through applying his teachings, we can help prove that the same power which fed five thousand people with so little can provide today what is needed, whether this be rain, a job, more hay, or some other solution.
As God's spiritual offspring, all of us are under His care and are endowed with all good from our divine Father-Mother. Our heritage--including the farmers'--can't be lost, because it is spiritual and not material.
We shouldn't be surprised if our prayers for the world change our lives. Seeking to love all as God's children brings with it the inevitable recognition that we ourselves are spiritual. We may find ourselves being more patient, more loving, more joyful. The love we express has a ripple effect--it touches those toward whom we are more loving, and they in turn are perhaps more loving to others. Our recognition of God's love for all, our desire to be obedient to His will, and our trust in Him, begin to increase. And we find more good coming into our lives.
Will these ripples reach the farmers? Well, think about all the good that has come from the haylifts and the love that was expressed. Then consider that God is omnipotent and that His love is limitless. That love is right with those farmers--and with us--and we can expect it to pour forth more than ripples to quench the drought-parched earth and to feed those ``famished affections.''
1See Exodus 17:1-7. 2John 5:30. 3See Matthew 6:9-13. 4Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 17. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE The Lord shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought . . . Isaiah 58:11