How can we pray for our environment?

Today’s column explores how an understanding of God’s care for His universe helps us become more open to solutions to environmental issues.

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Earth’s largest landfill can be found in the ocean. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, as it’s known, is a swirling mass of mostly plastic debris. Divided into an Eastern and Western Patch, it is estimated to be larger than the state of Texas.

European nations have led the way in recycling efforts to stem environmental catastrophes such as this. We’re also seeing more retailers banning plastic bags in the United States. These and other global efforts for our environment are certainly steps in the right direction. But there is more we all can do to bring a healing light, rather than discouragement, to large problems.

The Scriptures have inspired my prayers for the environment, as they emphasize God’s tender care for all that He has made. In Nehemiah we read, “You alone are the Lord; you have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and everything on it, the seas and all that is in them, and You preserve them all” (9:6, New King James Version). God, divine Love, would never leave its creation in disrepair.

Rather than give up hope or let consumption and greed continue, we can do our part to witness the true beauty and harmony of God’s creation and become more open to healing solutions through prayer. Prayer helps us see more clearly the true nature of God’s creation as spiritual, made and maintained by divine Love. Being more aware that what really exists is created by divine Love, we find ourselves seeing our world in this more spiritual light. We cherish what this world represents. We become less me-focused and more God-focused. And more unselfish.

As our thinking changes, sincere action follows: “The test of all prayer lies in the answer to these questions: Do we love our neighbor better because of this asking? Do we pursue the old selfishness, satisfied with having prayed for something better, though we give no evidence of the sincerity of our requests by living consistently with our prayer?” asked Mary Baker Eddy in her textbook on Christian Science (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 9).

I have attempted to answer these questions by viewing the environment as I might view my neighbor – with a spirit of care and spiritual understanding. As a result, I’ve become a more conscientious consumer and my family and I make concerted efforts to recycle more than half our household waste, among other things.

If our actions are truly filled with the spirit of Christlike love and the confidence in God’s care and control of His universe, then we will regard our environment – and our neighbor – not through a lens of fear or worry, but with the love that heals and transforms. “For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands” (Isaiah 55:12).

Originally published as a Christian Science Perspective article on June 27, 2016.

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