The World Health Organization (WHO) announced on June 11 that the swine flu virus, also called H1N1, is now circling the globe and, in their opinion, cannot be stopped. I'm grateful for their alertness about this potential scourge, because their warning also reminds all who pray to take up their own mission as first responders. Our collective prayers, rising from our homes and churches, can and will have a global healing effect.
In a letter written to members of a church in Atlanta, Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science and founded the Monitor, said, "The silent prayers of our churches, resounding through the dim corridors of time, go forth in waves of sound, a diapason of heart-beats, vibrating from one pulpit to another and from one heart to another, till truth and love, commingling in one righteous prayer, shall encircle and cement the human race" ("The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany," p. 189).
Such a circle of prayer can be an effective defense against contagions of all kinds, including swine flu. WHO predicts that this pandemic will hit less-developed areas of the world hardest, and specific prayer for those areas is especially important.
The call for prayer is more than wishful thinking or a petition for deliverance. As I've learned through my study of Christian Science, understanding prayer is the confident affirmation of divine Love's ever-presence, glorifying God as the almighty Creator, who will permit no evil in His creation.
It's useful to return to the pattern of prayer Jesus gave the world in what has since been called the Lord's Prayer. This prayer, which can be found most completely in the Gospel of Matthew (chapter 6, verses 9–13), begins with a powerful evocation of God, as "our Father." It speaks of the Father of all as residing in heaven, in the perfect harmony that includes all of His children.
This does more than set a tone; it firmly establishes in thought the reality that God loves each of us – He is our Father, caring for each individual in all parts of our world. As we see the all-presence and all-power of God as being a spiritual fact that makes a difference on the human scene, we have a scientific basis to refute every threat and fear of disease.
This mental combat involves standing up to the reports of disease and recognizing that sickness was never created by God and thus has no foundation. As children of God, none of us is vulnerable to disease or liable to be influenced by reports of its spread. Each of us is held in divine Love's care, always. Our prayers can nullify disease, including pandemics, with the truth of God's omnipotence. They can strengthen us with the joyful knowledge that the light of this divine power destroys the darkness of any adversity.
At one point, Jesus sent his faithful disciples into the countryside, expecting them to heal every difficulty they encountered. They returned successful, and he gave them this blessing: "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you" (Luke 10:19).
This divine power and authority are available to all who pray in the way Jesus taught, affirming that good is real and all-powerful. This allows no place for evil. Certainly there are individual healings of sickness when this prayer is employed, and we can expect global healing as well.