Faces of Faith: Prayer: Is it still relevant?
We live in troubled times; financial turmoil, war in the Middle East, an immigration crisis.
So how do people of faith approach these issues?
Over l00 years ago, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer and founder of Christian Science, created an international daily newspaper, the Christian Science Monitor.
It was a time of yellow journalism, and she felt the need for a source of news that was factual and balanced. She wanted her Monitor to report news carefully, that looked for solutions to world problems.
Christian Scientists then and today read this newspaper either online or in the print version, to focus on areas most in need of their prayers.
Today most religions urge their followers to pray daily for peace, harmony, brotherhood. The words in the 23rd Psalm are universally recognized as a source of comfort, protection, and assurance of God’s care.
They are especially relevant for people whose jobs require them to travel beyond our borders, as well as people who have relatives in war-torn countries.
A recent series “After Abraham: Judaism, Christianity and Islam” was held on Wednesdays at the Congregational UCC Church on Sanibel. Rev. Dr. John Danner, Rabbi Myra Soifer and Imam Mohamed Al-Darsani, spoke about their faith traditions and shared some of the prayer practices of these faiths.
The Christian Science textbook, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, is full of accounts of physical healing through prayer alone. After attending the Shared Scholar lecture “Muslims in America: Perils and Promise”, I was challenged to apply my own concept of prayer.
Leaving early before the refreshments, and frustrated because I was hemmed in by cars on both sides, I slammed the car door on my little finger.
As an experienced Christian Scientist, I knew to immediately reverse the situation in my thought.
As a loved child of God, a pure idea of Infinite Mind, I hadn’t stepped out, for an instant, from that protecting power and divine love. I was even inspired, for a moment, to reflect on what I had learned from the theological series, that we all worship the same God, by whatever name we use to address Him/Her.
Staying with this prayerful sense of my unaltered, unharmed spiritual substance, I was able to drive home. I continued with this prayer. Within an hour all pain and evidence of the event was gone.
Religious people have relied on prayer for centuries, and know with certainty that our prayers for peace and justice are modifying, to some degree, the world atmosphere of hate and jangling dissonance.
A statement from Eddy in the Christian Science textbook, tells us: “Prayer cannot change the unalterable Truth, nor can prayer alone give us an understanding of Truth, but prayer, coupled with the habitual desire to know and do the will of God, will bring us into all Truth”. So, is prayer still relevant? People of faith would sound a loud “AMEN!”