Volunteering in this election – to pray

Wanting to feel that he’s doing everything he can to support the upcoming U.S. presidential election, an experienced political campaign staffer and volunteer has committed himself to being a “prayer volunteer.” The result? Less feeling “churned up” by politics and an inner peace and love that have led to notably improved interactions with others.

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Have you ever had a job where you work 16-hour days, seven days a week, for months on end, racing toward a looming deadline? It’s stressful, to say the least, but can also be very rewarding if you’re dedicating yourself to a cause that you believe is helping make the world a better place.

That appeal is part of what drew me to political campaign work some years ago, serving as a volunteer as well as a staffer on U.S. presidential and midterm election campaigns. Now, here we are in another election, where both sides are suggesting that the stakes couldn’t be higher, and I find myself wanting to roll up my sleeves and jump back into the scramble so that I can feel that I’m doing everything in my power to help.

But this time around, I have felt inspired to engage in a different way – to prioritize appealing to a higher power. I have committed myself to being a prayer volunteer.

To me, this is not stepping back and avoiding work, but rather is stepping up to the challenge with renewed dedication. Prayer in Christian Science is very active. It isn’t simply reciting words and hoping for something to happen, nor is it asking for a certain candidate to win. Prayer is learning more and more about God as absolute, infinite Love, and letting the light of divine Truth shine on all aspects of my life – especially where I encounter division, injustice, tumult, and evil. And even simply in reading election news or political commentary on social media, there is no shortage of opportunities to let the light of Truth shine through.

Part of my “volunteer prayer work” includes reading a weekly Bible Lesson, which is found in the “Christian Science Quarterly” and includes passages from the Bible and “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science. Early on in my prayer work, a particular passage from Science and Health stood out to me in a new light, and it has since become a central point of my prayer:

“Human sense may well marvel at discord, while, to a diviner sense, harmony is the real and discord the unreal. ... We may well be perplexed at human fear; and still more astounded at hatred, which lifts its hydra head, showing its horns in the many inventions of evil. But why should we stand aghast at nothingness?” (p. 563).

Discord, fear, and hatred are, unfortunately, not uncommon reactions when it comes to politics. But rather than getting caught up in the whirlwind of conflict and anxiousness, we can pray to see that the whirlwind itself doesn’t actually have the substance it seems to have. The true, entirely spiritual world of God’s creating includes only goodness; anything else is a suggestion that God is not absolute. Christian Science explains that God fills all space, is all-powerful, and is good itself. The spiritual reality, then, is that there are no dueling powers of good and evil; there is no other legitimate power than the one and only, supreme and infinite God, good.

The Bible explains the quality of God’s creation, saying, “God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good” (Genesis 1:31).

This doesn’t mean we just bury our heads in the sand when politics get ugly. It means acknowledging that God, the divine Mind, governs all of creation, including every single one of us – and therefore we have a God-given ability to not give in to the temptation to react in fear or hatred. When I pray in this way, I no longer find myself churned up by the political scene. Instead, I feel a deep assurance of inner peace and love for all, which informs my interactions with others about politics and any other issue.

As the electorate casts ballots for this U.S. presidential election, perhaps you will join me – wherever you live, and whatever your nationality – in pitching in together as prayer volunteers! Science and Health urges, “Let us rejoice that we are subject to the divine ‘powers that be’” (p. 249). No matter the outcome of this election, or the next, we can always let divine goodness, rather than hostility, inform our response.

Some more great ideas! To read or listen to an article in The Christian Science Journal on God’s true government of people and nations titled, “Rising above partisanship,” please click through to www.JSH-Online.com. There is no paywall for this content.

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About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“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.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

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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.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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