Reading the news and taking action

A Christian Science perspective: Praying about the news of the day begins with an understanding of God as Love.

Sitting in my hotel room on a business trip I came across an article about Syrian refugee women who are currently in Lebanon. Some of them had previously been living for years with abusive husbands. Now they have gained legal freedom to separate from those harmful relationships. Their lives have begun to flourish.

After reading this news, I was inspired. I wanted to participate in the progress of all involved, including the women and even the men in those relationships. This meant beginning my support through prayer.

Whether we’re near to or far from events in the news, I’ve found prayer to be the most supportive help. From what I have studied in the Bible, prayer reaches people no matter their distance from us.

The Bible’s accounts of the effectiveness of prayer and my own experience have shown me that God is a universal power that touches our lives. Through understanding God as Love, effective prayer becomes not a personal plea but a recognition that the love of God is available to everyone.

As I began to pray this way in that hotel room, I heard a couple in the room next door to me. Their voices and – from what I could tell – their actions were getting louder and more violent. It was obvious that the woman might be in considerable danger, so I immediately called hotel security.

By the strength of my prayer to understand that Love motivates and governs, I was able to quickly and calmly explain to security what was needed.

When security arrived, I met them outside the door and told them to get in the room. Without any hesitation, they followed all my directions.

It may sound strange that they would follow my directions as if I were the one in charge, but I felt that I was moved by the inspiration of Love.

I then returned to my room and continued my prayer of acknowledging God, Love, as the only power.

The tone of the man’s voice became repentant. Hotel management assessed the situation and calmly separated the couple for everyone’s safety.

After the incident, the hotel staff remarked that I had gone above and beyond anything they expected a hotel guest to do. The gratitude they expressed toward me was deeply felt.

The founder of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, defines prayer this way: “True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us” (“No and Yes,” p. 39).

Today, I continue to pray that the same inspiration of universal Love that moved me to be alert to help the couple next door is the same Love that is present with the women and men thousands of miles away that I have embraced in prayer.

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Dear Reader,

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.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.