A while ago I began to have troubling dreams, even nightmares. I wasn't starting each day feeling happy and hopeful, as I always had.
As I thought about it, I realized that for several days I'd come home from work and watched the news on television. But whereas I would usually have prayed about the things I heard, I'd only been staying longer in my comfy chair, channel surfing. I guess I was sort of hypnotized by what I was watching.
I asked myself, was there a connection between the bad dreams and loss of joy and my reaction to what I'd seen and heard when watching the news? Was I negatively fascinated - caught up in troubling, often morbid details, and then in turn being troubled?
That's when I realized I was letting myself be part of the problem instead of the solution. I wanted to be constructive - to be a healer, not just an onlooker. I needed to get back to praying about the news. Our prayers for the community and for the world are important. And the state of our consciousness influences everything in our own lives, including our health. Individual and collective welfare stems from what we each think - good or bad.
We can improve our own and others' lives through prayer, which helps us trust God to govern. To correct, redeem, and heal us. Christ Jesus showed the effects of thought on human experience and taught the importance of "mental climate." For example, after advocating the expression of certain good qualities, explained in what are known as the Beatitudes (or beautiful attitudes, as you might call them), Jesus spelled out the specific rewards of this expression (see Matt. 5:3-12). Those who think mercifully will "obtain mercy"; those who are meek will "inherit the earth"; "the pure in heart" will "see" - know - God.
Many individuals who strive to follow Jesus have found that as thought is purified - filled with awareness of the truth he taught - much good happens from day to day. Health is improved. One translation of Jesus' words reads, "How happy are those who know their need for God, for the kingdom of Heaven is theirs!" (J. B. Phillips, "The New Testament in Modern English," Matt. 5:3). It's as we grow spiritually as individuals that we will improve the collective experience of mankind.
In responding to what we see and hear each day, we can focus on materiality. Or we can strive to see ourselves and others as God's children, as always cared for by Him, as expressive of His nature. Prayer that invokes the healing, saving power of God works in each troubled situation to heal it.
You and I are created to express God and need not allow anything to deter us from this. Do you want to be alert, watchful, willing to help others? God will help you stay on this path. If you don't want the community's problems to dictate your thoughts, you can turn daily to the Bible for direction.
Will this make a difference? It's a fact that many people have found personal happiness, success, and fulfillment beyond their greatest hopes through learning to put Bible teachings into practice daily. Think of starting your day with this wonderful assurance: "The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore" (Ps. 121:7, 8). Recognizing in prayer that this promise applies to all God's children, we improve the atmosphere of human thought. This is the very activity that ended my bad dreams and brought me peace.
Consider this from the Christian Science textbook, written by Mary Baker Eddy: "Sickness, sin, and death, being inharmonious, do not originate in God nor belong to His government. His law, rightly understood, destroys them. Jesus furnished proofs of these statements" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Pg. 472).
It's possible to maintain a clear understanding that God is all-power and to keep His law of love uppermost in thought. It's comforting to know we have the right to be victorious over, not victimized by, sickness and crime. We can see ourselves as God has created us - pure, wise, honest, peace-loving, spiritually strong. This prayer will lift us up, as it did me. It will expand happiness and increase hope. It will bless the world.