Community work – with prayer

A Christian Science perspective: When we are working with others, a truer, spiritual view can bring harmony to meetings.

Many years ago, I was invited to be part of a community group endeavoring to replace our town’s seriously aging library with a new one. I agreed to go to the first meeting, but hesitated to make a commitment beyond that because of an experience I’d had a few days previously with a different organization where ego and rivalry reigned. In preparation for this meeting, I devoted some serious time to praying for harmony and thoughtful decision-making in pursuing this project.

From my study of Christian Science, I’ve learned to understand God as infinite Mind – infinitely good, intelligent, wise. I’ve also better understood myself (and everyone) as spiritual – as the child, or idea, of this one Mind. In practical terms, I’ve found that prayer to perceive divine Mind’s governance in any situation can lead to better, more selfless decisions that have a unifying effect.

When I went to the library meeting, the gathering was full of harmony. As I drove home I realized that this group had one goal, which was to bless the town with a new library. There was little or no ego in the way people had come together. We were more interested in doing good than making ourselves great.

While it wasn’t always easy to come to decisions, everything was going smoothly in the meetings that followed. Then we learned that the police station was also desperate for a new facility. For me, this seemed like a critical moment: Would we be rivals or partners?

Some committee members confided in me that they, like me, were praying about the right decision for the town. A number of us prayed earnestly about this. In my own prayer, I turned again to the one Mind, divine Love, which always communicates the reality of the inherent oneness and unity of all of God’s children, who express and are governed by this Mind. Very quickly the decision was made: We would work together with the police station committee for the common good.

For me, this united effort illustrated a statement from the Bible: “Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous” (I Peter 3:8). It was that singular “mind of Christ” (I Corinthians 2:16), the Mind that is reflected in selfless love, that unified us. Trusting divine Mind to guide our own thinking can help bring inspiration to projects we work on – projects of our own, as well as projects that involve others.

In her book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy writes, “When we realize that there is one Mind, the divine law of loving our neighbor as ourselves is unfolded; whereas a belief in many ruling minds hinders man’s normal drift towards the one Mind, one God, and leads human thought into opposite channels where selfishness reigns” (p. 205).

I prayed with this idea throughout the remainder of the project, and I know others were reaching out to God in prayer in their ways as well. I knew I could trust God with the outcome, whatever it happened to be, and that in some way there would be a solution.

Prayerfully trusting the goodness of God in this way can help in many different contexts. It frees us from the common belief that there are many minds and human wills, each one with its own agenda, sometimes reconciling, sometimes not. Such prayer helps to alleviate rivalries wherever we are – in families, businesses, and even in governments.

Each time we pray, holding faithfully to the reality of the one all-good and all-intelligent Mind, we are relying on God’s perfect government, which is always intelligent and good. This prayer opens the door to solutions, reconciliation, and harmony.

I know what praying in this way, and trusting God, did for our town. Today, when I drive by the library and the police station, I always remember the oneness of heart and mind I felt as the committees worked together, and the love for our neighbors that helped make these new facilities possible.

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