How can we pray about government?
By Elaina Simpson, C.S.
Normally I post Mondays at 9 PM EST, but I wanted to share this sooner with the upcoming inauguration and events this week.
___ Police cars from neighboring states raced into Washington DC. I drove on the bridge overlooking the Capitol as rioters continued to flood the building. Having once been in a building under threat, I felt great compassion for those inside.
I pulled over. Like others I’m sure, I prayed; Listening for inspiration from God, our governing power of Love that’s ever-present.
Distraction: Why isn’t this under control already? No. Listen.
The stillness revealed that our government started with an idea. Although it is wrong to trespass, invade or vandalize, I could consider a higher view of what was going on. As an idea, nothing could touch, reach, or intrude on my righteous idea of government. One could enter a building, scatter papers, and shatter glass. But our nation’s idea of government, our values still stood strong in the thoughts and hearts of people all over the country.
In prayer, I considered government in a deeper, spiritual sense—God's government. This is described in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, defining “heaven” in a Glossary, offering a spiritual interpretation of biblical terms. Using three synonyms for God—Spirit, Principle, Soul—it says, "HEAVEN . Harmony; the reign of Spirit; government by divine Principle; spirituality; bliss; the atmosphere of Soul." (Mary Baker Eddy)
Christ Jesus said this kingdom of heaven is 'at hand' (Matthew 10:7), meaning with us, in consciousness. It’s the “reign of Spirit,” “government by divine Principle,” ruling in our thinking that brings to light a harmony that’s always ours, no matter what ‘kingdom’ or country we reside in, or whatever’s going on.
I was saddened. But still taking it seriously, I didn’t have to give this news permission to trespass on and rummage through my thinking, making me feel helpless or anxious. The kingdom of heaven is at hand, right there, in consciousness. In prayer God, Good governs our thinking and actions. The Bible articulates the triune of how God governs, including judiciary, legislative, and executive branches. “For the LORD is our judge, the LORD is our lawgiver, the LORD is our king." King, meaning ruler or sovereign. (Isaiah 33:22) . In reality, only God fulfills these positions. When applied in prayer, our actions, decisions and thoughts are pure. If peace-of-mind or our ‘heaven’ is dependent on what people are doing or not doing, one might feel threatened. But as we acknowledge God governing our thought and experience, we feel peace.
Events can take us aback. It wasn’t always ‘roses and butterflies’ for Jesus either. Challenges are an opportunity for growth. Spiritual study helps us glimpse this ever-present heaven of true, spiritual harmony and divine government as uninterrupted, undisturbed. Instead of ruminating about what seems to go wrong, it helps to spiritually consider the ways God is governing and protecting right now. We each have the ability to express peaceful, heavenly qualities no matter what. A an experience I had helped me better think about prayer and our government. A politician angered me every time he spoke in the news. When a family member mentioned they had an in-depth conversation with him on a flight, I thought, “Don’t you know the immorality he stands for?” Days later while parked temporarily, I noticed he was standing next to my car, waiting for his security detail. No longer a distant character on TV, just an ordinary person, another child of God. Feeling Love governing my thinking, I was out of anger’s reach. With a more open thought, I later heard of his pivoted decision for morality, even when that put his security at risk. God’s government included both of us, which shifted my perspective and brought ‘bliss.’
Eddy’s words give us a guide to prayer for all nations, which specifically mentions US institutions; “Pray for the prosperity of our country, and for her victory under arms; that justice, mercy, and peace continue to characterize her government, and that they shall rule all nations. Pray that the divine presence may still guide and bless our chief magistrate, those associated with his executive trust, and our national judiciary; give to our congress wisdom, and uphold our nation with the right arm of His righteousness” (Christian Science versus Pantheism 14:10–18). This impersonal prayer stands the test of time. There’s unity and common ground in shared desire for righteous government.
A recent article covering the riots, (‘Citadel of democracy’ under siege: A reporter’s view inside the Capitol,” Crista Case Bryant), concluded with a helpful thought, similar to what resonated to me that day. "[Our government] ...is greater than any building. It lies in a shared commitment to ideals of liberty and justice for all." Government is an untouched idea. We too are untouched ideas of God, peaceful and unshaken. Eddy writes, “Truth not error, Love not hate, Spirit not matter, governs man.” (SH 420:3)
When praying about our government, we are fully supported by the pillars of divine understanding. It is a strong defense when in need, and brings to light a peaceful promise of God’s reign, blessing the world. We will all be praying this week.
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