Effecting change

Longstanding issues in the world may weigh on us at times, but that doesn’t mean we should ever stop praying. Through persistent prayer that continually acknowledges God as good and all-powerful, we can witness shifts in thought taking place and contributing to the change that’s needed.

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“Is this ever going to budge?” a friend asked recently about a political situation that was troubling her. She then went on to list a whole series of political issues where there’s either been no change for years, or worse, where things seem to be moving in the opposite direction.

My friend’s question reminded me of my own prayers for change, in which I’d found two examples from history helpful. In both instances, what looked like an intractable political situation had suddenly shifted.

One was the Berlin Wall, which came down after almost 30 years of a division of Berlin, and of the entire country into East and West Germany. The other was the abolition of apartheid in South Africa after 45 years of institutionalized racial segregation.

What caused the changes? There are a variety of reasons why those changes finally happened, but one thing is clear: A major shift in thought took place, and change was the natural outcome. But how does a shift like that happen, when everything seems like it’s at a total standstill?

In my own experience, that kind of shift has come about through prayer: Persistent, unyielding prayer that acknowledges the supremacy of God no matter how long a problem seems to have been going on; prayer that is based on spiritual perception, which makes room for the power of Spirit to move human thought. In her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, writes: “The effect of this Science is to stir the human mind to a change of base, on which it may yield to the harmony of the divine Mind” (p. 162). In another place Science and Health refers to “the leaven of Spirit” which “changes the whole of mortal thought, as yeast changes the chemical properties of meal” (p. 118).

It’s through this kind of prayer that the human mind gives up a false perception of evil as real and powerful for the understanding of God’s creation, where good alone is real and harmony reigns. The first chapter in the Bible speaks of this harmony: “And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). The collective and persistent recognition of God’s goodness and all-power, despite what the headlines report, is an essential aid to bring about human progress. Christ Jesus said that faith the size of a mustard seed would move mountains.

Two friends of mine, one a German and the other a South African, were devoted to praying about the situations in their respective countries that I mentioned earlier. Each one had seen evidence in their own lives of the power of prayer to bring about good. They were Christian Scientists and found hope and guidance for their prayers in the Bible and in Science and Health.

My friends’ prayers were based on a recognition of God as good, as omnipotent and omnipresent. This spiritual reality can be discerned as our thought comes into rapport with the fundamental truth that we are created by God, divine Mind, and that each of us innately expresses our spiritual source. This kind of prayer turns us confidently and expectantly to Mind to receive assurances of the power of God to bring about whatever progressive changes may be needed.

My friends felt that their prayers, along with the prayers of many, were a positive factor in bringing about changes that took place in Berlin and South Africa – evidence that the omnipotence of spiritual good must eventually predominate in practice.

When we struggle with frustration at seemingly intractable political problems, we can remind ourselves of the underlying reality of the infinite goodness of God. Waiting for change to appear on the human scene may take great patience, but together we can trust in the ultimate victory of God’s supreme power. This God-based shift in our perceptions gives us confidence that good really exists and predominates. As that happens, we can expect to witness God’s love and all-power operating increasingly in our lives and in the world around us.

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“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.”

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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.

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