Considered by Western standards, the recent elections in Afghanistan were flawed, but the mere fact that they happened at all is historic. Many of those familiar with that part of the world expected the threats of violence, fraud, and intimidation to prevent people from voting.
Yet despite the threats, vote the people did.
Others cynically suggest that the voting will make no difference. They ask how democracy can be thrown on a region that has known only authoritarian rule. Is it even possible for Afghans to find a stable government that will help increase citizen participation and bring even the most ungovernable areas into a unified whole?
Perhaps there is a deeper issue here. The last question really asks whether there can be a people so removed from God that His blessings of peace, stability, and prosperity are forever denied them. Yet no one can actually be excluded from God's goodness, because each one is God's creation, the outcome of infinite Love.
Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, wrote in a letter: "God is universal; confined to no spot, defined by no dogma, appropriated by no sect. Not more to one than to all, is God demonstrable as divine Life, Truth, and Love; and His people are they that reflect Him – that reflect Love" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896," p. 150). All people can do this because it is natural for us to reflect Love whether we think of ourselves as believers or nonbelievers. God's impartiality is clear: He loves all His children. Not one ethnicity can be excluded from this divine radiance of Love.
Another question might be, does God's impartial Love really have an effect on governance? Is the realm of the spiritual so far above human experience that cultural practices and historic hatreds can mask or even impede the effects of God's love? To me, these words from the book of Isaiah express the conviction that God's government can be experienced: "Behold, the Lord God will come with strong hand, and his arm shall rule for him" (Isa. 40:10).
The thought of God's rule being established right there in the presence of an insecure government and the nearly lawless interior of Afghanistan is very comforting for me, as my son currently prepares for his deployment there. My wife and I are no strangers to the concept of praying for those in war zones, as our son has already served two tours in Iraq, and our son-in-law, who is deployed there now, recently returned from Afghanistan.
We pray for all concerned. Not just for the troops, but for all the innocent civilians who are caught up in the turmoil, and for all who are striving to establish a stable and peaceful government.
Prayer that firmly establishes a conviction of God's all-power quiets fear. It benefits those we keep in our thoughts. People of all faiths recognize this, and some can point to instances of protection they experienced when others intuitively responded to the impulse to pray for them.
Consistent prayer, affirming that God is good and ever-active, will raise the general atmosphere of thought. As we insist that God exists as the one Mind, and that He loves humanity, decisions – whether those of a marine on patrol, a tribal leader unsure of the next move, or a politician in office – will be more likely to result in choices that help establish security and promote peace.
Praying for the world is doing our part as people of God and as global citizens. As we pray for God's government to be increasingly expressed in human actions, we will see stability and peace coming not only to war-torn regions but everywhere.