As Zimbabwe heads into presidential and legislative elections this Saturday, March 29, many believe that fraud may prevail and that the voice of the people will not be heard. Reports that the government printed thousands of ballots over and above what's needed for the voting reinforce people's fears that the outcome will be rigged.
Zimbabweans are currently saddled with the highest inflation rate in the world – so severe that a Z$10 million note (40 cents US), once worth enough to purchase a chicken, will buy only a few eggs.
Whether we're located in or near Zimbabwe or in another part of the world, our prayers can make a difference, right now. The Discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, believed and was able to prove that prayer transcends physical separation. She wrote in "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures": "The 'still, small voice' of scientific thought reaches over continent and ocean to the globe's remotest bound.... It is heard in the desert and in dark places of fear" (p. 559).
The Bible echoes this idea, speaking of God's omnipresence: "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? ... If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me" (Ps. 139:7, 11).
This spiritual light shows each individual that God is divine Principle, the source of all true law. God's government is good, but it is also just. It is compassionate, but it also brings reformation. Another aspect of this infinite Principle is divine Love, which cherishes the people of Zimbabwe from the simplest peasant to the most important politician. Love doesn't value these individuals in terms of their political or socioeconomic status. To Love, each has a purpose in the divine scheme of things. None can be dismissed as ignorant, apathetic, or cynical.
In our prayers for Zimbabwe, it's legitimate to affirm that divine Principle is at work in that beautiful country, and that Christ, God's loving presence in each heart, can be felt by all people. Christ speaks always of our spirituality, our likeness to Truth and Love. This helps eliminate any attraction of greed, immorality, or lawlessness. These elements of mortal thought have no place in infinite Principle.
One way that those elements ensnare individuals is through bribery. News reports indicate that the government is giving large gifts to certain people, especially chiefs, who "pay" for the gift by delivering their people's votes. Such misguided arrangements tend to stifle individual choice and reinforce apathy and cynicism.
Understanding the goodness and order that come through obedience to God as divine Principle can do much to free people from negative influences by revealing the temporary nature of good gained from bribes. Love of country and a desire for it to prosper can transcend apathy and cynicism. The stability that comes with the legitimate rule of law can be gained through prayer that leaves aside the influence of personalities and takes the longer, more spiritual view of helping citizens and the nation.
The beauty of Principle is that it is another facet of Love. So the order and stability Principle brings aren't just cold and lifeless. They are filled with energy, strength, and joy. And this can be the attitude during the election as well as afterward. Fear and frustration don't need to influence citizens or candidates. Instead, peace and joy can prevail as a sign of divine Love's empowering presence.
No matter how near to or far away from this election we may be, each of us can pray for the safety of the candidates, the citizens, and their country, trusting that Love will protect everyone and lead the election to be peaceful and honest. Reports of the steadfastness of ordinary citizens show that great courage is already present. Our prayers can support this courage and the intelligent outcome of the elections.