As soon as I heard about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I sent this e-mail message to a friend of ours there:
Dear friend Nitaro and your family:
Our church members are praying for all of you in Japan. We are using Psalm 46, especially the first verse: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.’
With love in Christ to you and your family,
In a moment of anxious despair and desire to help, I turned to God sincerely. This other verse from that psalm came to thought with such reassurance: “Be still, and know that I am God.”
It was good for me to “be still,” to be calm and quiet, not engage in fear and helplessness, but to know that God is supreme, ever present, always available to anyone who turns to Him for help and guidance. It was comforting to realize that the very sense of God’s presence and power that came to me was also available to anyone, anywhere, to feel and experience.
The television news reported an almost overwhelming response from viewers asking how they could help. The station gave a website that told people where to direct their contributions. Those individuals, organizations, and nations who come to the rescue strive to be aware of precisely what is needed – food, clothing, drinking water, shelter.
In addition to the monetary contributions and daily supplies, what kinds of specific prayers can we send to those in need? If we are to “be still, and know that I am God,” what can we know and realize in our prayers that will meet specific needs?
We can know that God, divine Love, is always present. That no one can be separated from His tenderness, provision, assistance, and comfort. That divine Love is equal to the demands put upon it. That divine Love is immediate and fully capable of supplying whatever the need is when one reaches out to God for help. The book of Isaiah says, “Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear” (59:1).
We can know that the comfort and help of divine Truth and Love are practical, not just theoretical or theological. When those in need came to Christ Jesus for help and healing, they received tangible, practical blessings. The hungry were fed; the storms were stilled; the sick were healed; the lame walked again; the sorrowing rejoiced in feeling the tender, loving touch of the Christ, Truth.
We can know that God as divine Mind is intelligence, giving right ideas about finding what was lost. That divine Mind gives clarity to thought, decisiveness, self-reliance, and intuition about what steps to take to resolve serious issues. That divine Mind is not frustrated or hampered by the need for multitasking or quick action. That divine Mind can give to those affected by the disaster right ideas about where and when to look for whatever assistance is available. The Christian Science textbook by Mary Baker Eddy says: “The ‘divine ear’ is not an auditory nerve. It is the all-hearing and all-knowing Mind, to whom each need of man is always known and by whom it will be supplied” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 7).
We can also know that God is divine Principle, giving structure, harmony, and order to existence. One of the hymns in the “Christian Science Hymnal” includes the phrase, “In beauty, grandeur, order,/ His handiwork is shown” (Frederic W. Root, No. 329). In spite of the calamities that have occurred, divine Principle can bring restoration, repair, renewal. Divine Principle expresses law, natural harmony, structured action, and purpose.
And in our prayers, we can know that God, as Soul, is present to heal despair. Soul comforts, reassures, and gives an inner peace and tenderness that negates and nullifies material conditions, no matter how severe.
When people drop money into a collection kettle to help the poor, they may never know who is being benefited, but they do it anyway. They trust the love they are expressing to reach the recipient in just the right way. We may not know the people our prayers are reaching out to help, and even if we do, we might not get a response to acknowledge any benefits received. But we can still send those loving, heartfelt, and generous prayers every time we hear about damage that has been done, and every time we feel the desire to help and heal our world.