Oil spill: prayer's effective response

A Christian Science perspective.

Many are watching with increasing concern the difficulties workers have faced in trying to contain the growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, which resulted from an explosion and fire on an offshore rig in Louisiana. This week Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour said, “It’s a real difficulty in trying to determine what defenses will be effective.”

For those working day and night to contain the oil and keep it from reaching the powder-white beaches and idyllic setting of the Gulf Islands National Seashore, and other seashores, choosing the right means of defense is crucial. And for those who have lost family members and are dealing with the shock of the explosion along with the aftermath, prayer is especially needed.

Naturally, we tend to think in terms of what can we do humanly. And while human actions are necessary and helpful, spiritual steps are also needed. In fact, our human response can result from our prayer. Rather than relegating the issue to the authorities and decisionmakers involved, we can pray for God to supply each individual with the right idea needed at the right time.

Looking to the Bible for inspiration, my thought goes to the prophet Elisha’s experience, as recorded in the second book of Kings. The sons of the prophets desired to build a larger meeting place. As they were building, one man lost the ax he had borrowed when it fell into the water. Distressed, he asked Elisha for help. Elisha took a stick and threw it into the water. The ax floated and was recovered. The so-called laws of nature were shown to be in submission to the law of God.

The laws of nature may outline just how the oil is going to flow, or what place it should touch by what time and what day. But the law of God, the divine law, is higher than the law of nature and governs it. It is not beyond God to govern the current, wind, and animal life to bring about a safe and complete solution to this issue. God’s law governs all, and affirming this truth in prayer is our effective defense, and an effective defense for those on the scene.

We can pray and spiritually understand that each of us, as God’s children, hear the guidance and command of God. It follows that each individual involved with the efforts to contain the spill can be guided in what to do, and when and how to do it. Each one can be open to the right ideas flowing to their thought from divine Mind, God, as Elisha knew what to do. Spiritual receptivity opens the thought of all involved; is not obstructed by egotism, politics, or fear; and cannot result in any misstep or paralysis. God’s will, which is always good and right, can prevail. To ensure this we can daily and hourly pray for God’s good will, the only divine will there is, to be accomplished and unfolded through His creation, inclusive of marine life.

For those who have lost loved ones or who are struck with a sense of shock or in the aftermath of this event, we can pray that they, too, are hearing and feeling the nurturing guidance of divine Mind. God’s love surrounds each one. And each is embraced in God’s goodness and power. God is both willing and able to help each individual involved and to help their loved ones. He gives strength, courage, knowledge, power, ability, capability, comfort, confidence, and trust. It’s divinely natural that His creation – His children – feel His power and guidance, and that all creation reap the rewards of His care.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of the Monitor, wrote, “The divine Love, which made harmless the poisonous viper, which delivered men from the boiling oil, from the fiery furnace, from the jaws of the lion, can heal the sick in every age and triumph over sin and death” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 243). Not only can divine Love do all these things, it can also triumph over this disaster.

Christ Jesus assured us that God can and does take care of each one of us. He said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9). Today, we can pray for God to unerringly guide everyone involved in this incident.

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