Citizens of all countries want the best for their country and its inhabitants. I’ve come to find that one valuable way for each of us to support our individual nations and the world is through prayer that helps us get less caught up in what politicians are (or aren’t) doing and have more awareness of God’s presence and power.
In particular, I have been helped by a prayer called the “Daily Prayer,” written by the founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy. It reads: “ ‘Thy kingdom come;’ let the reign of divine Truth, Life, and Love be established in me, and rule out of me all sin; and may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind, and govern them!” (“Manual of The Mother Church,” p. 41).
Just 36 words – but oh, so powerful!
“Thy kingdom come” is a quote from the one prayer that Christ Jesus spelled out to his immediate followers, the Lord’s Prayer. Following this phrase, the “Daily Prayer” helps us see what that kingdom looks like and can mean for us in practice. If we let ourselves be governed by the reign of divine Life, Truth, and Love (which are synonyms for God, who is wholly good), we cannot be governed by traits such as greed, hatred, or fear. They have no place in God or in our true identity as God’s spiritual creation.
So being a good citizen begins with each one of us letting God guide us, enabling us to help set a high standard – to live more consistently with the spiritual reality of God, good, as supreme. “Rule out of me all sin” speaks to me of the humility that makes us honest and unselfish, and is inherent in everyone. These characteristics make for good citizens and peaceful cooperation.
The writings of Mrs. Eddy also make clear that divine Life, Truth, and Love meet every human need, and spiritually understanding this provides us with the stability and strength to branch out and bless others. God’s kingdom isn’t limited to certain groups, or “citizens.” You don’t have to be privileged, rich, or well connected to live there. Moreover, no one is in God’s kingdom illegally, no one is unwelcome. In fact, God doesn’t know any of us as mortals of a certain race, class, political affiliation, or any other label. He only knows each of us spiritually, as the loved, individual reflection of Himself, divine Spirit.
I also find another part of this “Daily Prayer” particularly helpful when thinking about politics: “may Thy Word enrich the affections of all mankind....” To care about the enrichment of everyone’s love is to work to ensure that no one is left behind. To me, this has meant acknowledging the spiritual fact that despite how it may seem, no one is overlooked – God’s Word reaches all, touching us with His infinite love, enriching us with His healing presence. By letting God’s Word, His law of good, govern us, we are impelled to reach out to others, even those who might seem like strangers to us, which contributes to the reign of peace in our world.
Praying this way has enabled me to feel less mesmerized by, or caught up in, disagreements between people on different sides of the political spectrum – be they lawmakers or neighbors. I get less hung up on individual decisions or laws I disagree with, and I look at government from a less personal and more open-minded perspective.
Does this kind of prayer make a difference? I believe it does. Instead of focusing our thought on personal opinions about what various politicians are doing, it allows us to support good government and lawmaking in our communities and worldwide – and that is in everyone’s interest.