Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Praying for All in Iraq ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Praying for All in Iraq ; Bringing a Spiritual Perspective to Daily Life

Article excerpt

As the number of violent deaths climbs in Iraq, polls in the United States show an eroding support for the war. In other countries, popular sentiment ranges from staunchly in favor of the effort to outright hostility to it and to the coalition partners.

Whether we support the war in Iraq or not, it's important not to confuse that political opinion with the divine imperative to pray for all involved - coalition troops, Iraqi citizens, and even insurgents. While some observers point to the historical difficulties of maintaining peace in a land where people seem to have been at each other's throats for more than 1,000 years, I still find I can keep my confidence that peace can prevail, and that everyone can return safely.

My confidence isn't founded on wishful thinking, but on my understanding of God. I know that God is greater than the difference between Sunni and Shiite Islam, than between Christian and Muslim adherents, than between East and West - even though those very differences have been the cause of war and resentment over the centuries. Yet understanding the omnipotence and omnipresence of God can help us bridge these differences.

Right now, conflict is raging very close to where the prophet Abraham raised his eyes to the heavens and realized there was only one supreme and infinite God, totally removed from matter. This breakthrough gave us what some call the Abrahamic tradition of monotheism.

So, very close to the sites of present-day conflict is the spot where the worship of one God really took hold and prospered. Here is a point where Christianity, Islam, and Judaism converge - on the all- presence of God. This commonality can serve as a unifying force. My English translation of the Koran reads, "The East and the West is God's: therefore, whichever way ye turn, there is the face of God: Truly God is immense and knoweth all" (Sura II).

Similarly, the Bible declares, "All the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom is the Lord's: and he is the governor among the nations" (Ps. 22:27, 28). …

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