The recent Iraqi concession to readmit teams of international weapons inspectors looks like a positive to some, a negative to others. The concession comes after thwarting inspectors' efforts during much of the 90s, when they were first there, and, more recently, refusing their return once they'd been kicked out.
The positive view argues: Inspections are better than war. Give them a chance. They might actually work. The negative view argues: The Iraqi regime is only months away from producing a workable nuclear bomb. Inspections delay the inevitable and give Iraq time to finish developing something horrific.
For better or worse, inspections perhaps with new teeth in the form of additional UN resolutions promising military action if the inspectors are again thwarted appear, as of this writing, inevitable. Even if only briefly so.
Perhaps there's an overlooked factor that could tilt events toward the "better" and away from the "worse": the prayer factor. This would hardly be the first time prayer played a role in conflict resolution, in uncovering hidden elements that must be disclosed before security can be found.
Prayer empowers the millions of people on the sidelines people of many faiths who care deeply about the outcome but have no direct input to the diplomatic negotiations or military preparations to make a favorable impact. Prayer brings spiritual power to bear that draws threats out of darkness and into light. Then those threats are seen, dismantled.
That's important. Past experience with inspectors in Iraq followed a frustrating pattern. Inspectors, required to give advance notice before entering certain sites, came up empty again and again. The advance notice allowed the Iraqis to back up their trucks and photos from spy planes confirmed that this was what they were doing and haul off any incriminating evidence.
Which brings us back to the prayer factor. Consider this from Christ Jesus: "There is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known" (Luke 12:2). Why not let this spiritual perception fill our prayers? The God who is divine Truth itself is all-seeing, all-knowing. It is the presence of Truth that unveils anything unlike truth. Hidden evils don't stay hidden. Prayer that recognizes the nature and potency of Truth, of Almighty God, has power to uncover, to reveal, to make known, to correct, to protect.
Of course, the nature and potency of Truth are a given, whether we pray or not. Prayer doesn't make God be omnipotent Truth, the all-seeing and all-knowing presence for all issues. But it's better to pray. Then, through our prayerful recognition of what God is and does, we can see the favorable effects of divine power right where we are. We think and act in concert with the Divine. We bring spiritual power to bear on day-to-day events. And the uncovering and protecting aspects of Truth's power take a tangible, practical form in our lives, and in the lives of our neighbors around the world.
An Old Testament encounter applies here. The prophet Elisha, along with his servant, was in the city of Dothan. Enemy forces secretly surrounded them in the cloak of night. Disaster seemed imminent. But then, through Elisha's prayer, not only was the threat uncovered and seen, so was a solution. Best of all, it was a peaceful solution that defanged the threat but caused no harm to friend or foe (see II Kings, chapter 6).
We don't have to view prayer as a substitute for diplomatic or even military action. Why not instead consider prayer as an underpinning to right endeavors? That includes the current right endeavor to defuse the powder keg known as Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. As we increase our awareness of Truth's ever-present and ever-operative action in disclosing and dismantling hidden evils, we decrease the likelihood of devastating conflict.
Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy once wrote, "Let Truth uncover and destroy error in God's own way, and let human justice pattern the divine" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 542). Perhaps that says it best.