Thousands of lobbyists have headed to Washington, D.C., to speak on behalf of the healthcare reform bill (see Monitor, "How Washington's lobbyists peddle power," Sept. 28). That's not counting the other "regular" lobbyists who also work on Capitol Hill. In this pressure-cooker kind of atmosphere, elected officials and their staffs can benefit from our supportive prayers as they try to discern the best path to follow.
One famous account of a prayer for discernment is Solomon's request of God for an "understanding heart," or as a more contemporary version of the Bible quotes him: "Please make me wise and teach me the difference between right and wrong. Then I will know how to rule your people. If you don't, there is no way I could rule this great nation of yours" (I Kings: 3:9, Contemporary English Version).
Prayer for government can claim this kind of humility as a spiritual quality for all who are involved in making decisions for the United States and those in other nations as well. Considering the divisiveness of issues such as healthcare, it seems especially important to recognize each individual's spiritual nature, and the qualities such as intelligence, patience, strength, integrity, and honesty that it includes. Expressing these qualities can help anyone to more effectively sort through complex issues.
It's also helpful for each one of us to turn to God as the one divine Mind, whose infinitely good purpose is a sure guide. Instead of trying to balance the opinions of many different conflicting minds, what's really needed is to seek the harmonizing nature of the one Mind, which leaves no one out and meets every need. Such prayer can maintain calm for the many people who are fearful about how legislation will affect their lives.
Under God's loving government, blessing is actually the only option for anyone. Whether or not legislation is passed on any given issue, no one can truly be deprived of good because, in an ultimate sense, God is the one and only source of good.
In her book on spiritual healing, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy wrote, "Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need" (p. 494). In prayer on behalf of all citizens and officials, we can declare that divine Love will prevail and that no one will be left out of Love's care.
The Psalmist made a similar point when he wrote, "I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (37:25). To me, this means that God cares for us all the way, and in all ways. We can trust Christ, the divine influence that is speaking to each of us all the time, to uplift and strengthen the thoughts of our leaders and the hearts of those who are concerned about the issues at hand.
In the final analysis, a God who is known as infinite Love and who empowered Jesus' healing works, is a very good companion to have on this spiritual journey. Under His care, each of us will be blessed.