“Prayer and politics in Congress.” This was the headline of a noteworthy Monitor article published on Sept. 17, 2016. It’s about a weekly breakfast where US congressional members – from both political parties – get together to pray and share inspiration.
“Participants ask for prayers, and prayers are given,” says writer Francine Kiefer. “Praying together over a marriage that’s dissolving, a child’s drug problem, or an ailing parent, or listening to a person’s faith story, ‘really does begin to break down barriers,’” according to a senator from California, who continues, “‘You realize everyone’s the same.’” While members of Congress – or any of us – may take opposing sides on an issue and argue strongly against one another, prayer can unite us on a deep level.
This kind of activity reminds me that each and every one of us can turn to God in prayer that moves the heart, brightens perspectives, and even heals. Christ Jesus, who had an incomparable record of effective prayer, showed us the basis for such prayer. He affirmed, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Christian Science teaches that God is unchangeable, intelligent, loving, perfect Spirit. The loving nature of divine Spirit determines our true identity as God’s spiritual, whole, untarnished offspring (see Psalms 100:3). Prayer that affirms God’s care for all of us engenders a trust not in human personalities, but in a divine presence that loves everyone infinitely and equally.
In God, there are no hidden agendas, grudges, or self-serving motives. Without limits or conditions – knowing us to be His own spiritual creation – God loves all of us, has always loved us, and never will cease loving us. As we acknowledge and, through prayer, come to better understand God’s unending and wise care, trusting God becomes easier. The Bible says, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). We can’t see the wind, but we know it’s there through the movement of leaves in the trees.
Likewise, as our understanding of and trust in the all-present Love that is God grows, we start to see God’s gentle care evidenced in equitable resolutions to challenges. A friend of mine, upon starting a new job, quickly realized that she’d also jumped into a deep pool of office politics. Her role was in sales, and in her first month she earned more in commissions than any of her colleagues had before. The response from her co-workers was jealousy. Supervisors were jealous, too. The woman returned home in tears after learning that management had cut her commission rate by more than half.
Through her anger, she began to make room in her thoughts for prayer. She decided that her primary motive in her work there would be to serve God – not only during every contact and interaction with her customers, but with her fellow employees, too. She acknowledged God’s presence, and prayed to see others’ inherent goodness, and even perfection, as God’s spiritual children.
This kind of scientific, Christian prayer, affirming everyone’s true identity as God’s likeness, opens thought to the authority and power of God, good, enabling us to experience healing. Jesus showed us the way. In “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer of Christian Science, says: “Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God’s own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy” (pp. 476-477).
It took diligent prayer for my friend to stick with these truths, but the result was lessons in character development and unselfish service she wouldn’t trade for anything. Not long afterward her base salary had been increased in a way that compensated for the change in her commission rate. Most of all, she just loved the opportunity to serve God through her job.
Whether we’re a member of Congress, salesperson, student, head of a household, or something else, each of us – anywhere and anytime – can turn to God in prayer. We can devote ourselves to following Jesus’ example, prayerfully acknowledging and expressing the active, divine law of good that heals and transforms. It’s a joy to experience, little by little, the wonderful healing power of such prayer.