Prayer that defeats economic darkness

A Christian Science perspective on daily life.

As the credit crisis goes on and people look for ways to deal with the recession, threats to venture capital – which funds innovation in places such as Silicon Valley – are acting like a spreading drought.

To read those reports and stop there would be to buy into an uncertain future, a dark economic path. But that's not a road we need to take. We can rest assured that salvation is at hand. The Christ, God's saving message for all people, can help every individual, nation, and government seeking a way out of these troubles.

We can take advantage of that help by following the disciple Peter's path. Peter was a fisherman, and as sometimes happens, he and his crew had worked in vain. Having caught no fish, they were washing their nets one morning, maybe thinking, "Now what?" Then an itinerant preacher asked to preach from Peter's boat, to the people who had come to hear him. Peter accommodated him by pulling his boat out a little bit and waiting till the preacher had finished. Then, clearly grateful for Peter's help, the preacher suggested that Peter go into the deeper water and let down his nets.

Something in this preacher's words touched him, and he replied, "Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net" (Luke 5:5). The catch that resulted nearly sank his ship, not to mention his partners'.

A bleak morning transformed by one word: nevertheless. What if today's spiritual thinker read the news of uncertainty and disaster, and replied with that word? What if he or she recognized that even in the midst of trials and deep troubles, the Christ is here, willing and able to fill the nets of those who listen to its message?

The premise of this net-filling is not to get material goods, wealth, power, or prestige. Rather, it is to accept the presence of divine law, restoring harmony to human perception and adjusting whatever needs adjustment and correction in human systems. It is a new birth. It brings to light a clearer vision of what is actually true – that God is with all men, women, and children, and that no one can be cut off from the good He intends. This Christ, speaking to the human consciousness, lifts us above material systems and beliefs.

Mary Baker Eddy wrote: "The new birth is not the work of a moment. It begins with moments, and goes on with years; moments of surrender to God, of childlike trust and joyful adoption of good; moments of self-abnegation, self-consecration, heaven-born hope, and spiritual love.

"Time may commence, but it cannot complete, the new birth: eternity does this; for progress is the law of infinity" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896," p. 15).

"Self-abnegation, self-consecration, heaven-born hope, and spiritual love" may seem like unusual partners in the restoration of economies. But the metaphysical fact is that the human expression of these four agents is able to effectively remove the evils of egotism, pride, and self-seeking, while simultaneously opening doorways into progress, unity – and genuine joy.

It may be difficult for some to leave behind the past with its material glitz. But today's demand includes the cleansing effect of spiritual progress – "the law of infinity." In this, the only route is one that leads forward. And the Christ walks that road with each one, a sure and steady guide.

As governments and financial markets come to grips with what needs to be done to restore stability, our prayers are essential to their work. At every report of looming disaster, we can declare, "Nevertheless, divine Love is still the ultimate power, and the court of divine law is the ultimate arbiter."

Progress, not despair, is law to this and all circumstances. This law has no need to wait for passage. Its work can't be delayed or hampered. It has been present since God first said, "Let there be light." Our prayers, through the Christ, reveal that light.

Adapted from the Christian Science Sentinel.

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