Like many, I've read about the people taken hostage in Iraq. And while I've felt that such actions are deeply wrong, and have often prayed, the concept itself was always abstract.
Until today, when I found out that a journalist I'm familiar with had been kidnapped while in her car in Iraq. Suddenly, it wasn't an abstract concept anymore.
Prayer is still the best weapon in my arsenal, and so I plan to use it on her behalf, and for all other hostages.
In the world today, many innocent people have been violently taken by others in the midst of conflict. History shows that the spiritual faith that some have had has produced remarkable results both sustaining them during and in delivering them from captivity.
One story I find especially meaningful in the context of this recent kidnapping is the account in the Bible of how Peter was released from his shackles by an angel and led out of the prison to freedom. He thought it was a dream - until it became inescapably apparent that he was free (see Acts, chapter 12).
An interesting aspect of the account of Peter's experience is that members of the church were praying for him. For me, this is just one of the many examples throughout history of the fact that prayer for others makes a difference for them. It isn't just an intellectual exercise that makes us feel better in the midst of anxiety. It has results.
Mary Baker Eddy, who founded the Monitor, was well acquainted with the power of truth to transcend time and space. A healer who followed in the footsteps of Christ Jesus, she knew that prayer was effective, even for those who were far away.
In her landmark book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," she wrote: "The 'still, small voice' of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe's remotest bound. The inaudible voice of Truth is, to the human mind, 'as when a lion roareth.' It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear" (p. 559).
That voice of Truth provides comfort to those who are kidnapped and "in dark places of fear." It provides comfort to those of us who love them and who know that only the touch of the Christ - the love of God that Jesus exemplified - can be there with them.
This love is powerful and sustaining; it gives a strength that nothing else can provide - for us and for them. We can trust it, no matter what the outcome.
The power of Truth is always active, and it is always on the side of good.
The original version of this article is found on www.spirituality.com.
He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence.
He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday....
Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.
For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
Psalms 91: 1-6, 9-11