Praying about world leadership
Prayer can lift our thinking out of negativity and frustration about world leaders and contribute to a broader transformation of thought that supports healing change in the world.
I have endeavored to include our world leaders in my daily prayers. But when I realized recently that I was thinking negatively about certain leaders, I saw that I was actually working against my own prayers. In order to pray to support better, more just solutions emerging to national and global problems, I felt I needed to gain a clearer sense of what was spiritually true about all leaders.
In Christian Science, a starting point for prayer is understanding that there is but one Mind, one intelligence, which is God. However, the negative thoughts I was contending with meant I was believing in many minds and conflicting personalities instead of seeing the truth of this spiritual fact.
The discoverer of Christian Science, Mary Baker Eddy, wrote in “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “The spiritual sense of truth must be gained before Truth can be understood. This sense is assimilated only as we are honest, unselfish, loving, and meek” (p. 272).
I was not keeping my thinking honest, unselfish, loving, and meek. Instead I was allowing myself to be tempted by all the negative news and conversations around me. I needed to see everyone – without exception – as God’s child, made in His image and likeness, as stated in the first chapter of the Bible (see Genesis 1:26).
I thought, too, about the story of St. Paul’s transformation as recorded in the Bible. As Saul, he really believed he was doing the right thing in violently persecuting the followers of Christ because he saw them as a threat to his religion. But when he encountered the Christ, he made a complete turnaround. And, as the Bible account shows, his transformation was so significant that “straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God” (Acts 9:20).
Mrs. Eddy writes in Science and Health, “Saul of Tarsus beheld the way – the Christ, or Truth – only when his uncertain sense of right yielded to a spiritual sense, which is always right” (p. 326). This woke me up to realize that unless I was striving to base my views of each leader on a spiritual sense – an understanding that each person is truly made in the image of God – I had only an “uncertain sense of right,” which is no more helpful than any opposing human views. Our views are the right ones only if they are based on what is true of God and His wholly good creation.
I find it helpful to remember that even though there were few Christians at the time of Saul’s persecution of them, it’s likely that despite their fears some of them must have been praying to see their persecutor in a more spiritual light, as Jesus had done when he forgave his persecutors on the cross. These collective prayers must have supported Saul’s openness to a shift in consciousness, which allowed the light of the Christ – defined in Science and Health as “the true idea voicing good, the divine message from God to men speaking to the human consciousness” (p. 332) – to shine in his heart and make a 180-degree change in his outlook.
Similarly, each of our prayers is needed and effective to open hearts – maybe even our own – to the healing message of the Christ. Gaining more spiritual views of others, including world leaders, can support a broader transformation of thinking and make a difference in our world.