Recently, members and regular attendees of First Church of Christ, Scientist, Athens, came together in prayer for one another and for their country. As news media around the world have reported for months, Greece is struggling with a staggering national debt that is threatening its stability and place in the eurozone. I was one of the attendees at the meeting, and found it both helpful and inspiring.
With frequent public protests in Constitution Square just a few blocks away, I couldn’t help thinking this meeting was our own moment of mental protest. What were we protesting? We were protesting for the recognition of God, good, and against the belief in evil outcomes. We were protesting for everyone’s right to live in harmony with God’s law of progress. We dedicated ourselves to daily demonstrate that God, divine Love, is present to meet the needs of humanity in every hour and in every situation.
Peaceful protest by any community is a precious right. But surely the mental protest of prayer brings out the divine right each of us has as God’s child to be governed by His omnipotent care. Christ Jesus used this kind of prayerful protest effectively. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, made clear, however, that human will or appeals to the belief in a changeable deity were not the basis of Jesus’ prayer. She wrote in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “It is neither Science nor Truth which acts through blind belief, nor is it the human understanding of the divine healing Principle as manifested in Jesus, whose humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, – of man’s likeness to God and of man’s unity with Truth and Love” (p. 12).
Through humility, our mental protests based on God-inspired prayer purify thought. True prayer causes us to relinquish the belief that we are separated from God, Spirit. It shows us more of the truth that God and the man and woman of His creating are one in quality. It reveals our spiritual nature in Christ and therefore our ability to express wisdom, compassion, foresight – all the qualities of our Father-Mother, God.
Prayer changes the way we think and act; it has a profound and healing effect on our lives. Inspired by Truth, prayer transforms character. It replaces self-righteousness with humility, dishonesty with honesty, and fear with confidence in divine good. What society wouldn’t benefit from such mental restructuring? St. Paul explains the healing power of these mental changes in his letter to the Romans, “Be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (12:2).
For help in every spot around the world where confusion and uncertainty appear to be, we can appeal to God, divine intelligence, to bring correction and stability. Our prayers acknowledge that in His holy presence, human will, arrogance, and fear must dissolve. The true understanding of God as the divine Principle of the universe reveals also the true sense of His creation. God’s children must be understood and proved to be God’s own reflection – as perfect as their creator. To think that God’s creation is without integrity is to accept default on moral obligations as inevitable. To say there is no way out of perceived impending economic doom is to discredit God. Let us give full credit to the power of God as able to adjust all things according to His law of balance and order.
Our protests are prayers of deep communion with God to humbly know Him as “a very present help in trouble” for each individual and every nation. As in the healing of sickness, so, too, the healing of economic and social issues is a natural outcome of the operation of Christ, Truth, in human consciousness. Our prayerful protests may be silent, but they are effective. With God at everyone’s side, how could anyone or any country be helpless?
At the end of our meeting in Athens, we prayed together the Daily Prayer that Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “ ‘Thy kingdom come;’ let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!” (“Manual of The Mother Church,” p. 41). What a perfect prayer of our commitment to God’s healing law within us and to His loving embrace of our world.
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