I have friends in Algeria. None I know personally. But a whole lot of people with whom I identify.
Most of them are Muslims, and I am a Christian. Most are Arab, and I am Caucasian. But we have something important in common - our hearts wail when we hear the latest news about massacre in Algerian villages. And we respond by praying to the Deity whom I call God, and whom they call Allah.
I don't know too much about how my Algerian friends pray. But I can feel their prayers for release from the nightmare of fearing who may fall next - or when, or why - at the hands of brutal violence.
To those dear friends, and to all who care about the crushing situation in Northern Africa, I want to share with you some of how I pray every time I hear the name Algeria linked to the term massacre, as happens so often at present.
I pray to see things differently. I pray that all of us - distant onlookers and those in the middle of actual devastation - will perceive these situations in a new light. I pray that right where our thoughts seem logically taken up with woe and grief and death, with destruction and unbelievable human callousness, we will instead bear witness to the opposite. To the pure, unadulterated, divine Life that I've learned is God.
Seeing things differently may seem like wearing rose-tinted glasses. But many years' practice of this kind of prayer has helped me so much. It's shown me reality more clearly. It's healed me of illnesses doctors couldn't cure. It's given me security and protection in threatening situations. It's convinced me that how we understand things to be makes all the difference.
What I would call spiritual seeing, or spiritual discernment, involves pausing before we automatically accept as real the evidences we take in through physically seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, or feeling. It further involves mental acknowledgment that we can pray to improve human circumstances by looking at things in a way that is not physical. It's a way of looking at things that acknowledges the spiritual, or divinely scientific, view of life. This is God's view of His creation, in which all men, women, and children express Him. Express Life that is wholly good, never bad, never a mix of good and evil.
Praying long enough to discredit the evidence of the physical senses, and to take in God's view of life, makes a practical difference. It is prayer anyone can use, anywhere. Even in or for Algeria. Everyone can unite with the people of Algeria in understanding that they are divinely created to celebrate and demonstrate God, immortal Life. Because of this fact, they - as we - are truly immune from death and destruction.
Christ Jesus, whom Christians accept as their Saviour and whom Muslims regard as a great prophet, showed the ascendancy of life over death. He once walked through a hostile crowd trying to slay him. He was even resurrected from his grave by his profound understanding of Life. Jesus proved that the thoughts and motives that seek to slay are powerless in the presence of thoughts that drink in the spiritual evidence of eternal Life, God.
The textbook of Christian Science by Mary Baker Eddy explains, "The fact that the Christ, or Truth, overcame and still overcomes death proves the 'king of terrors' to be but a mortal belief, or error, which Truth destroys with the spiritual evidences of Life; and this shows that what appears to the senses to be death is but a mortal illusion, for to the real man and the real universe there is no death-process" ("Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures," Pg. 289).
The intolerable situations that have taken root in Algeria are, ultimately, illusive, the outcome of evil agitating for acceptance in all our thoughts. But through consecrated prayer, which Christian Science explains reveals the law of God and His power, we can progressively refuse to accept the reality of anything that denies Life. To the degree this is done, practical evidence of peace and good must follow. Then our friends in Algeria will be found celebrating Life, God, and not fearing death.