How we perceive earth, and those that people it, influences how we pray and often what we pray for. A positive worldview feeds prayer with a healthy, progressive expectation of good. Whereas, a negative worldview can tend to leave one feeling cornered by problems and can sink prayer in a sea of hopelessness.
The truism, "One rotten apple spoils the barrel," is a good reminder to watch the influences you let in. But I think that, as it it relates to prayer, the apple or influence that we need to be most concerned with is our own! I remember a friend sharing her take on apple theory. She said, "You can't be a good apple in a barrel of rotten apples!" This always reminds me that if I see myself as an isolated island of good in an evil world, I am sunk - and so are my prayers.
In the chapter "Prayer" of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy explains, "The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, — a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love. Regardless of what another may say or think on this subject, I speak from experience. Prayer, watching, and working, combined with self-immolation, are God's gracious means for accomplishing whatever has been successfully done for the Christianization and health of mankind." (p. 1)
Christ Jesus said, "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." To me, this points back to the apple theory - Don't fear what the bad apple can do to you, pray for all the apples that your influence may improve the barrel! (Matthew 15:11)
In other words: Be the influence, don't be influenced.
The teacher didn't ask for qualities. She asked for a description. And yet not one child pictured their parent a certain height and weight, or having a certain color of hair or eyes. Not one described their parent by their job, lifestyle, personal interests or by whether or not they were having difficulties during the recession. They naturally pictured their parents in quality - and consequently they saw them at their highest and best.
I wonder what a similar approach to describing the world might have on shaping the world, and shaping our prayers?
A few days ago, blog reader Kevin commented on a post titled "I know what you are thinking." The post highlighted the influence of negative thought on the world around us. Kevin wrote, "I've been thinking for a while about the connection between greedy, wasteful, selfish thoughts and climate change. Is the world heating up because our greed and uncaring is leading to a hotter atmosphere of thought due to our hot-heads, which is reflected in a warmer climate? Interesting to think about."
Kevin's comments have merit. We need to be mindful of the contribution our thoughts have on earth and the environment. The question becomes, what can we do about it today? We can actually start cleaning up our world and turning down the heat - simply by praying unselfishly FOR the world and by exchanging a mortal view of a destructive, fractured, ugly, greedy, consuming creation for the one God actually made and maintains.
God isn't stupid. And yet He loves us all!
That has got to point to a lovable earth and a humanity worth praying to know.
Mrs. Eddy asked, "Have you ever pictured this heaven and earth, inhabited by beings under the control of supreme wisdom? Let us rid ourselves of the belief that man is separated from God, and obey only the divine Principle, Life and Love. Here is the great point of departure for all true spiritual growth."
Want some prayer MOJO today? Pray for the world. Picture heaven and earth as it really is, as God made it. And just see how you like dem apples.
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