Making a difference through prayer

A Christian Science perspective: A response to the Monitor's View editorial, 'Fearless Guatemala's lessons for Latin America.'

When caring individuals are driven to make a difference, it can take many forms – everything from marching in a rally, to writing a letter to a political leader, to boycotting a product on the grocery store shelf. For the young Guatemalan activists who peacefully protested for more honest and transparent government, their efforts propelled the country’s president into resigning and bringing about governmental reforms that could “inspire an entire continent” (see “Fearless Guatemala's lessons for Latin America,” Their inspiring actions made a difference.

If we, too, have felt a deep desire to make a difference where reformation is needed, I have learned that we can contribute to a cause – wherever we are – through the powerful impact of prayer. In her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, speaks of prayer as its own type of protest – a spiritual protest: “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).

Mrs. Eddy devoted her life to explaining the laws – the divine Science – of God, Spirit, that make prayer effective. The kind of prayer that makes a difference requires unselfishly setting aside time and mental resources to humbly rid ourselves of personal opinion and judgment and acknowledge divine Spirit’s power, presence, and allness. It requires mentally stepping away from the material picture and seeking God – omnipresent, omnipotent Love, who is all good. This is not a blind faith petitioning an uncertain God, however. This is scientific prayer that requires an understanding of God as Principle, governing His creation harmoniously and justly.

Several years ago, a friend asked me to pray with her about the organization where she worked, which had put an individual’s safety in jeopardy. We made deep and conscientious “protests of Truth” that affirmed the spiritual reality that no selfishness or dishonesty could overthrow the eternal government of God, good. We prayed with many statements throughout Science and Health and the Bible that discussed God’s government and power, including “power belongeth unto God” (Psalms 62:11). As we prayed over the course of several months, our hearts were filled with gratitude as issues were exposed and the administration courageously made needed adjustments in policy.

It is empowering to know that we have the potential to be a catalyst for good right where we are, this very minute, through spiritual protests of consecrated prayer based on the divine Truth that heals. It makes a difference.

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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.

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