Over the past few weeks, with the earthquakes in Haiti and Chile, the fighting in the Middle East, and the whole list of other things that make us wonder if the world is getting better, it has seemed increasingly difficult to see how I can do anything to help. How can I, a moneyless, resource-less, powerless college student, actually do something to noticeably help the injured, aggravated, or impoverished people of the world?
In the face of this overwhelming need, it is tempting for us to get down on ourselves as “privileged” individuals, and to think so much about what we are not doing that we just end up getting upset. So, what do we do? How can we feel productive and helpful to the world?
Well, we can pray.
Okay, before you roll your eyes, hear me out. When I say, “We can pray” I do not mean that we just turn a blind eye and say that everything is hunky-dory. I also do not mean we necessarily have to devote another hour of study in the CS books on top of our scheduled Principia Quiet Time. What would you say if I told you that just wanting to do good for the world was prayer? Moreover, what if I told you that this desire is prayer and that it will make a difference? In the second paragraph of Mary Baker Eddy’s chapter on Prayer in Science and Health she says, “Desire is prayer; and no loss can occur from trusting God with our desires, that they may be molded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds.”
The first half of this quote alludes to the fact that prayer is a way of thinking (which we do throughout the day). In our active lifestyles, we rarely have long moments when we can sit down with the books and slave over the pages until we find those perfect nuggets that help us see the good in the world. However, we do have moments that happen constantly where we see a need in a friend, in our local community, or in the news. In those moments we have a choice. We can get heavy with grief and think that problems seem to be everywhere, or we can remember one simple truth: God is the only cause, and our world’s unity with Him is the only thing that really exists.
ONENESS! Absolute oneness is the starting point and the only possible outcome. If we go down this second road, the way looks much brighter, doesn’t it? This mind-set doesn’t turn a blind eye to the problems of the world. It is the first step in doing something that will have a permanent effect. That is what the second half of the quote deals with: “…that they may be moulded and exalted before they take form in words and in deeds.” If we allow our thoughts to focus on the inherent good in our world, we have a starting point from which we can be inspired to take action. Our actions could be big life-changing acts, or they could be simple shifts in everyday interactions with those around us. In the end it does not matter what activity you do; what matters is that you start from a place of inspiration, not depression.
What enables us to pray? Do we need to be class-taught or life-long Christian Scientists who eat, sleep, and drink the Bible and Science and Health? No! We have the ability to pray effectively at any stage of our experience. Once more, prayer is something that is so infinite and varied, it can be done through quiet, spiritual contemplation or through vocal and joyful expression. Prayer can take the form of a small, kind gesture to another or a massive gesture to many. It can be dance or music, or anything that expresses the seven beautiful synonyms of God.
Isn’t it a great comfort to know that you can be doing something to heal the world at any moment you please? By knowing that you can prayerfully affect the world as you go through your daily life and do what you always do (express God), you are breaking down those pesky mesmerisms that say, “Prayer isn’t enough. You aren’t spiritual enough…”
There are so many things that try to tell us that we cannot heal the world. The fact of the matter is, we can. We just can. It is possible because we are the world, and understanding the global, universal oneness that we express with everything is the key to seeing and feeling God’s perfection in the world. To close, let us remind ourselves of what our starting point should be for all of our prayers. Mrs. Eddy states on page 275 of Science and Health, “The starting-point of divine Science is that God, Spirit, is All-in-all…” As long as we start there, all the things we thought we could not help will be within our loving grasp. All those things we thought we could not heal, we will heal.