The stillness of prayer: The starting point for peace and progress

Today’s contributor explores the idea that anchoring thought in God’s love brings peace, healing, and courage even in the midst of tumult.

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Immigration, equity, identity, and honesty in character and in politics – these were just some of the topics that came up at a meeting I attended with a small group of individuals from Brazil, France, and the United States. It was clear to us all that a lot of healing is needed in these areas, and others, in our world.

Yet what most struck me during that meeting was the group’s conviction that effective, systematic prayer can reach those hearts hungering for stability, peace, and progress. Indeed, I’ve found that when there is a great sense of being overwhelmed by an angry sea of circumstances, we can become mentally still in prayer and anchor our thought in God, the timeless Principle, divine Love, which brings peace and healing.

After the meeting, a theme from the Bible’s book of Isaiah came to my thought: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you” (43:2, New Revised Standard Version).

From the biblical era until today, many conflicts in tumultuous times have been brought to the point of transformation by yielding to God. This can break through the mesmerism of fear and move thought to purposeful action.

Central to the Bible is the life of Christ Jesus, who knew that God’s power is not just bigger than tumult; it is the only power there is. Thus Jesus proved that human conditions are never beyond God’s control. His deep well of spiritual conviction not only gave him calmness and conviction in the midst of tumult, but it also impelled him to take decisive actions. For instance, faced with a crowd of those who hated him and wanted to do him harm, Jesus was able to walk through that crowd unharmed. The hostility was unable to divert him from his mission of healing others (see Luke 4:28-40).

We too can experience the deep and rejuvenating power flowing from the all-gracious, all-merciful God that comes from knowing our inseparable relation to God, divine Love. It is in communion with God that our peace, equanimity, and unshakable poise are revealed. In her book “Retrospection and Introspection,” Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, writes, “The best spiritual type of Christly method for uplifting human thought and imparting divine Truth, is stationary power, stillness, and strength; and when this spiritual ideal is made our own, it becomes the model for human action” (p. 93).

Truth cannot be silenced, and Love is not overwhelmed. And even when the human condition seems to be contorted and reactionary, “the kingdom of God” that Jesus said is within us (Luke 17:21) remains untouched; it cannot be disturbed.

Letting this spiritual reality inspire us, being governed by God from within, we will be in a position to help bring out needed harmony. Even if our contribution toward a better, more harmonious world is modest, we are moving beyond feeling we have to (or can) do it all on our own without God. Divine Love is working in and through us, giving us the courage, rest, intelligence, compassion, and fortitude that revive us and bring a spark and an impulse to the larger world’s progress toward improved human conditions.

Adapted from an article published on sentinel.christianscience.com, Nov. 26, 2018.

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