Knife crime has become a serious problem in London where I live. There have been some heart-rending murders of promising teens. An amnesty organized by police throughout Britain netted almost 100,000 knives, from pen knives to machetes.
The lead on knife crime in the Association of Chief Police Officers said: "The amnesty is certainly a step in the right direction and I hope it will prove to be a catalyst in changing the culture of routine knife possession, minimising the opportunity for the serious harm that can follow from the violent use of a knife" ( www.blackukonline.com).
Changing the culture from a desire to possess knives involves the need to change people's thought from believing they need the protection and respect that knives are believed to offer. In this regard prayer can help because it can support individual and collective changes in perception.
In particular, prayer that perceives the divine Mind, God, as a source of protection uncovers a consistent sense of security that no material method can afford.
A friend proved this awhile back. She'd just left an inspiring church service and was joyfully pondering who she was in relation to God and how all people are God's children and therefore brothers and sisters. Exiting an Underground station to catch a connecting bus, she was approached by a young man who drew a knife and demanded money.
As my friend explains it, because of the inspiration in her thoughts, she didn't feel afraid, alone, or helpless. Instead she felt calm, knowing that God loved her and her attacker and was looking after both of them right at that moment and always.
She said, "You really don't want to do this." He looked at her and then at the knife and said, "No, no, I don't." He turned and walked off. He didn't run or look back; he left without a fuss. My friend didn't feel scared or shaken, but felt, as she put it, grateful and uplifted by God's love and protection.
To me, my friend's experience was proof that we don't need to fear that we live in an unpredictable environment fraught with danger. Her spiritualized thought had evidenced a place in the environment of God's presence, which you could call a present heaven.
In "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy interpreted "heaven" spiritually as "harmony; the reign of Spirit; government by divine Principle; spirituality; bliss; the atmosphere of Soul" (p. 587).
To me, this describes the true "location" of everyone – the spiritual state of true being. The Bible records the Apostle Paul as saying to the Greeks, "In him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring" (Acts 17:28).
My friend's account indicates to me how we make this haven practical in our experience: by lifting our thoughts, through prayer, to a consciousness of this holy state where God governs all and by seeing ourselves as already in this heaven.
This view protected my friend, and it also supported the better instincts of the young man. It helped him find his freedom from committing a crime and find true respect – the self-respect that comes from being and doing good.
Whether for the safety of loved ones or for the sake of those tempted to threaten others or protect themselves through carrying knives, a prayer to see the heaven of God's love present where danger seems to be can make a difference.
Thou shalt not be afraid
for the terror by night;
nor for the arrow
that flieth by day....
For he shall give his angels
charge over thee,
to keep thee in all thy ways.
Psalms 91:5, 11