Prayer and Safety

A FRIEND shared his experience with me. While he was serving in Vietnam, his unit was assigned to lead the inhabitants of a village to safety. The night before they started the march, a chaplain came to the remote camp to pray with the troops. My friend joined in the prayer. The following day during the march my friend's unit was ambushed. Just seconds before the attack, although no one was close enough to touch him, my friend suddenly fell to the ground as though he had been pushed from behind. A tracer bullet narrowly missed hitting him. The entire unit and village were also safe, and nobody was injured in the attack.

As my friend thought about the experience, he felt it was natural to connect his safety at that moment with the prayers of the previous evening. He knew that he had experienced God's guidance and protection. This realization had a profound effect on him. It was the beginning of a life lived closer to God, a life more committed to loving and helping others. Prayer had not only saved him; it had changed his life for the better.

Countless individual lives have been saved and redeemed through prayer. Prayer, even in the midst of battle, can help people feel the reality of God's power and presence. The Bible assures us that God is Love. He is infinite, incorporeal divine Love. And man is His spiritual image and likeness. As such, man can never be separated from the power and protection of his creator.

Christ Jesus helped people understand more clearly man's unity with God. He explained God as the universal Father and man as His much-loved spiritual child. As God's spiritual child, man is embraced and protected in the Father's constant care. Jesus' certainty of God's power and willingness to preserve and protect His creation is expressed in words that encourage his followers 209>encourage us 209>to feel God's sheltering presence. He said, John's Gospel tells us: "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.''

Some might think that prayer in the midst of war is fruitless. Often war seems inevitable and, without the better insight given by spiritual understanding, it's easy to believe that life is strictly material and that man is mortal, subject to deprivation and death. Within this mental framework, the notion that such things as material wealth or political power are desirable objectives that can be gained through warfare seems plausible.

The teachings of Christ Jesus, however, give mankind a more spiritual viewpoint. They show us that permanent good is not based in matter or material considerations. True goodness, that which genuinely blesses mankind, is spiritual and has its source in God, divine Love. Man's oneness with divine Love is the source of health, harmony, peace, and fulfillment. It is the source of true and abiding riches. And spiritual understanding, gained through prayer, reveals ways to solve humanity's problems peacefull y.

Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, "God is Father, infinite, and this great truth, when understood in its divine metaphysics, will establish the brotherhood of man, end wars, and demonstrate 'on earth peace, good will toward men.' '' In the midst of war, my friend experienced God's presence and was safe. He is now devoted to helping others understand that with God as man's real Father, all men are indeed brot hers. This is the spiritual basis of peace and helps to foster the goodwill that ends war.

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