As tensions in Turkey rise, the need for supportive prayer grows stronger. So far Turkey has detained 49 people as a result of an investigation into reports that a 2003 military plan, called Sledgehammer, was intended first to sow chaos and then to overthrow the current Islamist-leaning government.
Turkey’s Constitution dictates that the nation remain secular, and the military has overthrown four governments in the last 50 years to maintain this orientation. Some see the alleged plot as a move in that direction. Others claim that the alleged evidence is merely plans for war games, which all military services engage in from time to time. Another view is that the arrests are instigated by the government to reduce the military’s influence and thus to enhance Turkey’s candidacy for admission into the European Union.
Whatever the human cause of the troubles, prayer can help reveal a divine solution – one that will uncover whatever needs to be corrected or removed, including wrongdoing and malice. As this process goes forward, everyone can be kept safe, and the nation’s peace doesn’t need to be disturbed. The Bible declares, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn” (Isa. 54:17). This promise is given to the “servants of the Lord.” And I like to think of them as servants of Truth and Love, which Christian Science uses as other names for God.
Nehemiah’s experience as recounted in the Bible is a good example of how even in the midst of enemies and plotters, trust in God can be a protection. At the time when he was rebuilding the wall of Jerusalem, Nehemiah was constantly harassed by conspirators and liars aiming to stop his progress and to terrify him and his helpers. What kept him going was his conviction of God’s guidance and protecting presence. Even when the traps became very tricky, he was able to escape them, and in the end he succeeded in his task.
This same God, who is Truth, is available to the people of Turkey – those in the military and government and the citizens who are watching and praying for their nation. That Truth has far-reaching effects is made clear by this statement in Mary Baker Eddy’s book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Truth is an alterative in the entire system, and can make it ‘every whit whole’ ” (p. 371). Our prayers can support this work of Truth as the revealer of all that is good and true, as well as the eliminator of malice and wickedness.
Mrs. Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, also wrote of Truth’s omnipotence and of the need to let divine Love govern our thoughts, actions – and governments. These two facets of God drive out hate-motivated thoughts and actions. “Human hate has no legitimate mandate and no kingdom,” she wrote. “Love is enthroned” (p. 454).
When we can see that hatred in whatever form has “no legitimate mandate,” we’ve made a huge contribution to our individual communities and the world. Some of this begins first in ourselves – making sure that we aren’t cherishing hatred toward another racial or ethnic group, or a grudge against a neighbor. As we become freer of such feelings, and are better able to see all people as children of God, our prayer for others will become clearer.
Sometimes human hatred grows out of history and politics or distrust of another ethnicity. To the degree that we see ourselves and others as spiritual and pure, not burdened by a material history, we are able to put off these mistaken influences. This is a tangible contribution toward enthroning Love in our lives and ultimately in the world.
It is a spiritual fact that Love, not hate, is the foundation of God’s creation, of which we are all a part. Proving this to be the case and uncovering the actual truth in Turkey or in any other tangled situation may take significant prayer. But supporting peace and stability in this nation won’t bless only its people, important and precious as they are. It will also forward peace and stability for the world.