When reading this week’s cover story, I was struck by a sense of new purpose and hope for Colombia. In what was once considered a failed state by many just 15 years ago, the government is now on the brink of signing a final peace accord with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia.
I was particularly encouraged to learn that many in the country now feel safer than they did a decade or more ago. In order to support the progress of peace, I have found prayer to be an important way to help establish a true sense of safety for all. Prayer that recognizes the ever-presence and omnipotence of an all-good, all-loving God has a healing effect. “The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, – a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love,” writes Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of this newspaper (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 1). In faithful expectation of peace, we help contribute to its progress through our prayers.
This understanding helped me when my husband and I lived in a South African city known for its violent crime. Most houses had alarms, and iron grates over the windows and doors, and they were surrounded by concrete walls 10 to 15 feet high, topped with another 2 feet of electric fence or razor wire. My husband traveled often for work, and I was at home alone. Not knowing that the common practice was to make sure your home’s walls weren’t the shortest in the neighborhood, we had rented a house with only 7-foot-tall brick walls and no electric fence or razor wire. According to prevailing wisdom, we were the easiest target for several blocks, and since we were renting, we were not in a position to increase the physical security of our home.
One night, shortly after moving in, I was alone and unable to sleep. I had a very strong urge to pray about safety, and I stayed up all night praying to gain a clearer understanding of God. I felt inspired by the fact that God is all-good, all-powerful, and ever-present. I had an absolute faith that God was protecting me and my neighbors, and I better understood that the perfect man of God’s creating – which we read about in the first chapter of Genesis – can only be made to do good instead of harm. I also cherished Psalm 4:8, which reads, “I will both lay me down in peace, and sleep: for thou, Lord, only makest me dwell in safety.”
I finally went to bed feeling peaceful. There was no incident that night or any other time during the remaining three years of our residence. I attributed all of this to my prayers that long night and my continued prayers every day thereafter.
My experience further proved to me that prayers for safety are an important and needed way for us to promote the progress of peace. An understanding of God enables us to witness the power of good over evil and the allness and goodness of God.