"The morning of November 25, , the day on which the first Monitor was published, was dark and foggy, but [Mary Baker] Eddy announced to the assembled members of her household: 'This, in truth, is the lightest of all days. This is the day when our daily paper goes forth to lighten mankind' " (Robert Peel, "Mary Baker Eddy: The Years of Authority," p. 312).
Mrs. Eddy was a global thinker and pathfinder. But her interest in the news wasn't primarily intellectual or political. Her conviction that prayer could cross international boundaries and help suffering humanity was vital to her own thoughts about healing, and also to the mission of this newspaper. As she said during an address in 1897, 11 years before the paper's first issue, "From the interior of Africa to the utmost parts of the earth, the sick and the heavenly homesick or hungry hearts are calling on me for help, and I am helping them" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 147).
With its daily coverage of the world, first in print and now more and more on the Web, the Monitor provides readers with articles that can inform their prayers and awaken them to topics they may not have considered praying about. Thus, reading the paper can be more than an intellectual exercise. It can be an opportunity to engage spiritually with the world, if the reader wishes to do so.
What does it mean to pray for the world?
From the standpoint of Christian Science, it means approaching the human condition with the knowledge that there is a God and that God is good. Thinking of God as the one divine Mind, infinite and all loving, helps "unpack" tangled situations that seem to defy solution. It lifts thought above the "he saids/they saids" to the spiritual fact that God loves all of His children, and that He provides harmony, not discord. If there is only one Mind, then there can be unity of purpose within that Mind. However complex a particular human situation may be, the oneness of Mind will open the way to a solution that will work for all.
Prayer for the world also means recognizing that man (meaning both men and women) is spiritual and has an unbreakable relationship with God. Everyone has this unity with divinity, whether or not they realize it. This prayer, then, includes recognizing that God is present, is the one divine Mind, and that man is God's child, inseparable from Him and able to hear divine direction. Dwelling within the one Mind, each of God's children includes intelligence, love, truth, wisdom, goodness, strength, and other spiritual qualities. This is who and what His children really are.
That doesn't mean that all global troubles will be solved instantly – as by the wave of a wand. Rather, it demands deep, consecrated prayer over many weeks, months, or even years. For example, many people, not just Christian Scientists, prayed about the troubles in Northern Ireland. While there are still some issues today, that country is no longer embattled. The Berlin Wall came down. And closer to the newspaper's home, Monitor reporter Jill Carroll was freed after being held captive in Iraq for several months.
Each time someone spends a few moments (or longer) affirming that God is present, even in the darkest places, the world becomes just a little bit brighter. This is possible through Christ, God's message speaking to humanity that Jesus taught and lived. He said of his mission, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).
In essence, this is the heart of prayer: to enable those in trouble, pain, distress, fear, or mental or physical darkness to feel, even to a degree, the truth of God speaking to them individually no matter who they are or where they are. In its pages, the Monitor strives to point out those places where prayer will provide comfort and healing. Having done that for the first 100 years, it's ready to continue doing that for the next 100.