As a lawyer and someone who studies the Scriptures, I have cultivated a deep appreciation for the role of law depicted in the Bible. In contrast with the type of human law that is created through legislatures and interpreted by courts, the law to which I refer in the Bible is a divine law, whose authority, reliability, and enforceability are spiritual. I have learned that as I pray to act in accord with this divine law, God’s just influence is shown more clearly in my experience.
The Psalmist describes the practical effect of this law in the following words: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Psalms 19:7, 8).
It may seem as if divine law doesn’t apply in the face of human laws that appear to be antagonistic to what is right, contradictory, or unwise. But praying to understand the presence and operation of God’s laws – which are right and just – can have a healing influence that helps uplift the laws of the land to express more of the rightness inherent in divine law.
My prayer about harmonious law recently led me to the Bible story of a lawyer asking Jesus which law was greatest. Jesus responded: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” I found it significant that Jesus didn’t stop with the idea of just the importance of loving God. He went on to say that the Second Commandment, loving our neighbor, is “like unto it,” and on equal footing to the command of loving God (see Matthew 22:35-40).
To clarify who our “neighbor” is, Jesus gave us a parable of the good Samaritan. In the parable, a man who was traveling in Israel was robbed and injured by thieves, and left on the side of the road in pretty bad shape. Two people of respected Jewish religious hierarchy, a priest and a Levite, encountered him and passed by on the other side, not wanting to get involved. But a man from Samaria – a region historically at odds with the Jews – subsequently came upon the man and showed compassion toward him, binding up his wounds and taking care of all of the injured man’s immediate needs without any questions asked or expectation of reimbursement (see Luke 10:29-37).
According to Jesus, the ideas of loving God and loving our fellow man coexist in harmony with one another. Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, expressed the importance of understanding that “all men have one Mind, one God and Father, one Life, Truth, and Love. Mankind will become perfect in proportion as this fact becomes apparent, war will cease and the true brotherhood of man will be established” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 467). This statement leads to the realization that our love of God necessarily includes a recognition of God as man’s creator. As such, if we aren’t loving God’s creation, we aren’t loving God with all our heart.
The understanding of these spiritual laws brings about practical results. In my experience, active prayer along these lines has been a catalyst to bring human laws and conditions more into harmony with what is just and wise. The type of prayer to which I’m referring isn’t a pleading or petition to God, but rather, an affirmation of spiritual fact – a deeper awareness of God’s omnipotence under which each of us is governed. Like tuning in to your favorite radio station, becoming conscious of these divine laws brings a spiritual clarity that directly impacts events around us.
This form of prayer can have a broad influence. It can soften or even dissolve divisive human opinions and bring to the forefront of thought the unity of God, the divine Mind, whereby we all humbly and meekly work together for wise solutions. Prayer along these lines can bring about true healing and harmony in our communities in a way that benefits everyone.