Praying for peace in Portland

Frustrated and at a loss for how to help unify her community in the face of destructive protests, a woman turned to God. The result was inspiration that brought conviction to her prayers for peace and hope for the future.

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I could hear protesters chanting outside from my bedroom window. They were peacefully demanding justice after the death of a Minneapolis Black man while in police custody. But there were also protests here in Portland, Oregon, that were doing damage to buildings and businesses, and I was upset. The worst thing was that I felt helpless.

That’s when I reached out to God in prayer – that’s what I do when I feel stuck.

As I listened, a message came: “You have a God-given mission to pray for your city, rather than get angry and criticize.”

I knew I had to let go of strong human opinions. From past experience, that’s what steers me in the wrong direction. But listening to God for a more spiritual viewpoint always – in every situation – brings progress.

That day I was struck by something Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, wrote: “Know, then, that you possess sovereign power to think and act rightly, and that nothing can dispossess you of this heritage and trespass on Love” (“Pulpit and Press,” p. 3).

I realized that the ability to “think and act rightly” applies to everyone in my city. Each one is a child of God, created in the image and likeness of divine Love. The Bible says that God’s creation is “very good” (Genesis 1:31). That means each one of us is made to love one another, and to respect and care for each other, too.

No one is too self-centered, too angry, too self-righteous to be disqualified from being God’s child. On the contrary, being God’s spiritual child means we each have the power to think and act rightly. That was my answer: I could support my city by changing my view of others, no matter that they seemed to be on opposite sides.

There is lots more prayer we can all do, and many more steps to take to bring peace in our country. But now I have hope that there can be progress. We are God’s children, and embracing that more fully, we can move forward – together.

Adapted from the Sept. 18, 2020, Christian Science Daily Lift podcast.

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