Prayers for Yemen
Today’s column explores how an understanding of everyone’s identity as the spiritual creation of the Divine can inspire our prayers for peace even in the most unyielding of situations.
“Don’t forget Yemen’s awful war” was the Monitor’s headline for an extensive quote sourced from an editorial in an Indian paper (The Christian Science Monitor Weekly, Dec. 18, 2017, p. 32). The editorial said: “Till now, the international community has largely looked away. It cannot continue to do so.”
Humanitarian organizations, selflessly working in and outside the country to bring comfort and relief, are a most welcome part of the answer to the needs of the Yemenis. But I also take this as a call to prayer.
In particular, I’ve found that praying for a deeper perspective of everyone’s true identity can bring healing and inspire efforts to help others in a way that nothing else can. The Bible provides that deeper perspective, giving profound insights into the nature of our identity as the spiritual creation, the very expression, of the Divine. Time and again, through divine grace, individuals in the Bible grew morally, surpassed limitations, and accomplished good because they glimpsed something of their actual eternal nature.
Sometimes this discovery happened suddenly, as in the case of Paul (then Saul), who saw a blinding light and changed from persecuting others to following Christ Jesus in living and teaching about God’s love. Other times it was a gradual transformation, as in the case of Jacob, who, after a dispute with his brother Esau, later bravely reconciled with him, seeing his face like the face of God (see Genesis 33:10).
As Jacob had the capacity to see his brother in a new, more spiritual way, each of us has a higher spiritual sense, a spiritual intuitive capacity, that’s natural for us to exercise. That spiritual sense aids us in seeing that as God’s loved child, everyone – including those in a situation with the complex geopolitical factors Yemen faces – has safety, inherent worth, and infinite value. Within every person – including the sick and hungry, or those heartbroken from loss of a loved one or their home – lies the profound truth that we are each the spiritual reflection of divine Love, and so infinitely loved. Cultivating the conviction that every individual is infinitely valued as the child of God also inspires practical ways to respond to needs.
Every individual shines as this perfect and safe individuality created by God. Holding in prayer to this fundamental spiritual fact about the general population, decisionmakers, and military interveners doesn’t ignore or excuse wrongdoing. Rather, it gives one a solid basis from which to pray for wrongdoing to be eliminated, to denounce it as unacceptable because it is not part of anyone’s true being.
Taking this mental stand for true identity as free from evil or harm, and for the rightness of peace and harmony, is effective as we ourselves sincerely strive to live up to this ideal, as we are spiritually minded, loving, compassionate, and peaceful. Living those and other Godlike qualities in our daily lives gives authority to our prayers for peace and brotherhood in Yemen and beyond.
As recent progress in Northern Ireland and Colombia has shown, no situation, no matter how seemingly intractable, is beyond the reach of divine Love. Christian Science discoverer Mary Baker Eddy writes in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power” (p. 192). Doing this is prayer that purifies motives and buoys individuals and families, bringing out courage, hope, and comfort. We help neutralize fear and hatred in the world to the degree we let God’s peace fill our own thoughts and express God’s all-embracing love.