Facing nuclear fears with prayer

Drawing on his experience in the US Navy during the Cold War, a former nuclear weapons training officer reflects on the value of prayer in helping meet challenges and shares inspiration that has fueled his prayers in the face of nuclear concerns today.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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As concerns about the possible use of tactical nuclear weapons rise, world powers are working to avert this possibility. Must we stand by and watch in fear? Or is there something we can each do to support safety and progress?

“No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper,” says the biblical prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 54:17), who lived during the seventh and eighth centuries BC. Clearly, the threat of powerful weapons to coerce or dominate is not new. But this promise from God points to a powerful basis for hope. As Christ Jesus came to prove several centuries later, safety comes from leaning on the power, intelligence, and love that reside in the Divine, who is entirely good.

That was how I approached a hazardous duty I had as a junior officer and a pilot in a United States Navy attack carrier squadron deployed during the Cold War. In addition to my pilot duties, I served as the nuclear weapons training officer in our squadron, working up close with tactical nuclear weapons. We were expected to be trained and ready to deliver nukes if directed by national command authority. To be clear, this was not a mission any of us wanted to have to conduct.

Fulfilling this role safely required constant watchfulness, along with peak readiness. Having been raised in Christian Science, I leaned on spiritual solutions and prayed regularly. This provided an atmosphere of calm and confidence in good that was equal to any challenge that arose.

During those times of prayer in my stateroom, I was particularly helped by studying the Bible-based synonyms for God given in the textbook of Christian Science, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” by Mary Baker Eddy – especially the idea of God as a consistent and good Principle.

One attribute of Principle is alignment, and the effect of this Principle is to bring our thoughts into alignment with the infinite intelligence of the divine Mind, God. We can count on this alignment of the human with the divine to further harmony, not conflict.

Also, there is no place in this infinite Principle for one ego to negatively influence another. Rather, we are influenced by God’s angel messages, or inspiration, coming not just to some of us but to everyone, everywhere. The divine Mind is the source of every legitimate thought and idea, and what Mind creates is good. As the Apostle Paul reassures us, “In him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28).

We don’t have to be at the diplomatic table or in a war room in order to ponder how these spiritual facts apply to the fears and anger that could lead to conflict. They provide solid footing for our prayers, making us more receptive to God’s infinite possibilities for good. Then we can say, “Peace, be still” (Mark 4:39), as Christ Jesus did with an authority that stilled a threatening storm­, to the notion that fear, hopelessness, or conflict – nuclear or otherwise – is inevitable.

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