With empirical knowledge and reason who needs prayer?

Some have been up in arms at the mention of prayer at this time of coronavirus crisis, as though it would be a silly distraction from just getting the job done. The intimation is that prayer is a primitive thing and in this day and age, empirical knowledge/reason is the only intelligent rout. However, currently, media frenzy, and bitter politics seem to be leading the way. In the light of this, does anyone think we are in safe hands? “God help us!” is an aware response.

The evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940 provides an inspiring precedent.

The military leaders were resigned to losing 300,000 soldiers, the majority of the British army, trapped in Dunkirk. A silly idea of calling all civilians with boats to the rescue was put forward. The king announced a national day of prayer, and against all odds the soldiers were brought home to safety. A tremendous unified action of the civilians, the cooperation of the weather, even the mysterious stalling of the German offensive, all contributed to bring about “the miracle of Dunkirk,” as it has been called.

Let’s consider for a moment how prayer influenced the outcome of this amazing event. Instead of approaching the task with desperation, fear and even doom, there was a sense of something bigger operating. Churchill himself was not religious but admitted that in times of great danger, he turned to the divine for help. I think it is safe to say that all, at that time, were brought up with Bible awareness. The phrase “I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me” would be familiar to most. A profound positive expectancy, trusting in something higher than themselves, had a lot to do with the success of the evacuation.

Today, we are facing a monumental challenge, not just from the coronavirus itself,  but from the huge economic and social impact, the skyrocketing unemployment, etc. If we assume our medical experts, our financial experts, and our politicians have it covered, we are deluding ourselves. External and internal enemies are chomping at the bit to take advantage of the situation.The world could easily sink into darkness and chaos. Might it not be wise to look beyond ourselves for help, for wisdom and strength?

Prayer is not a trite thing, not like turning on a light switch when you feel like it. Effective prayer has everything to do with the heart, preparing the heart: “Whatever holds human thought in line with unselfed love, receives directly the divine power.” This awesome statement is from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, the opening chapter of which is dedicated to the subject of prayer. I know of no better discussion on the subject, practical and enlightened. Read/listen here.

Andrew W. Kidd