Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Praying for Ourselves and the World

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Praying for Ourselves and the World

Article excerpt

THE troubles of the world are so varied and multitudinous that it's difficult, sometimes, even to want to pray for solutions. We may feel so overwhelmed with wondering where to start, that we may be tempted to ask ourselves why begin, and then simply dismiss the difficulties as "someone else's" problems. It can seem as though just being willing to pray for the world is quite an accomplishment! I know I should pray more diligently for the world. And I find that when I'm reluctant to turn to God for answers to national or global difficulties my reluctance to pray is often based on false judgments. Are we accepting, perhaps, the assertion that a particular country deserves its dictator or repressive system of government? Or that famine, lack, or disaster are inevitable? Purifying our thought by removing these prejudices helps us dissolve selfish motives and opinions. Then we're not only capable of prayerfully helping our neighborhoods and the world, but we find ourselves eager to do so. That's why I sometimes find it easier to begin praying for the world by praying for myself. When we dissolve even a little inharmony within our own experience, that helps destroy inharmony within the world as a whole. I can then expand my prayer to include my neighborhood and even the world. In my prayer I strive to purify my own heart so that I have more of the spiritual compassion for others that's essential for seeing where help is needed. Praying in this way naturally leads me to look out beyond myself to my neighbors. The same spiritual compassion that benefits me and my neighbors is also essential to our prayers for "neighbors" on a larger scale--be they neighboring countries or neighboring continents. In this larger, global context, prayer helps me plant my thought in God, good, which helps me see that everyone in God's world is in His hands, is loved and protected by Him. …
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