A Christian Science perspective: How can our prayers make a difference in the world?

It waits for a new year, a better day, another option. The world waits for stability, hope, health, and peace. People in the world are seeking help, relief, and a way out of so many challenges. These people may be our friends or they could be strangers to us. How will we respond to their needs?

Our distance from those in need may suggest there’s nothing we can do. But we can make a difference through prayer. Prayer that seeks to understand God’s presence and power can have a meaningful impact on the world. We don’t need to go any particular place to pray, and we don’t even need to speak our prayer out loud. Prayer that is effective involves listening to God, divine Love, who is imparting to every man, woman, and child His wisdom at all times. God’s love is not doled out to select people. It’s like the air we breathe – available to all, unconditionally. Divine power that speaks to every heart is the Christ presence that Jesus so exemplified; it anoints and empowers each of us to understand who we are as children of God, good, as explained to us in the Scriptures.

Effective prayer seeks to better understand God, divine Mind, and His creation – man and the universe. It sees that all of God’s creation is governed by divine intelligence, which delivers us from challenging conditions. As a line from the Lord’s Prayer reads, “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13). Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper and the Discoverer of Christian Science, offers a spiritual interpretation of this line: “And God leadeth us not into temptation, but delivereth us from sin, disease, and death” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 17).

I have seen the power of this type of prayer as a Christian Science practitioner. There was a day when I received a call from a patient who was asking me to pray for some slight physical problem. Although there was no emergency mentioned, I felt an urgency to pray when I listened for divine Love’s wisdom. In my prayer I sought to know God’s true nature as a strong guiding Father and strong watchful Mother that protects, nurtures, and keeps His/Her children safe. Then, various citations in the Bible and Science and Health came to thought. They dealt with the topic of divine government, God’s presence and His allness.

The spiritual truths I found in those citations gave me the needed message that God’s power is the only true law that reigns. I came to understand what the governing action of divine Love is, and its practical effect. At that point the patient called back. The patient explained that not only was the physical problem healed, but that in a separate incident, her child was protected when someone who came to harm her little one suddenly had a change of heart.

Like the sun’s rays reaching everything they shine upon, prayer reveals that the divine power and presence is not limited to just those who pray but includes everyone and everything we are reaching out to. We want to make a difference in our world, and prayer enables us to do this. Man is not caught in a web woven by causes outside his control. God, divine Truth, is present, and His loving control is provable. Answering humanity’s call with our humble, heartfelt, and persistent prayers, we will find our own peace and health as well as begin to meet the world’s needs.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.