By: Joe Strupp
As negotiations continued Thursday for the release of kidnapped Christian Science Monitor stringer Jill Carroll, the paper presented readers with a prayer for her in an article that said the power of such prayers “is at work at this moment not only on behalf of Ms. Carroll but on behalf of every hostage.”
The unsigned piece was published in a space the paper reserves daily for anonymous articles about spirituality and Christian Science, always on Page 18 or 19, according to Monitor spokesman Jay Jostyn. It also appeared on the paper’s Web site.
The Monitor, which is owned by the First Church Of Christ, Scientist in Boston, is not a religious publication, Jostyn noted. But it regularly runs such articles as part of a longstanding requirement by founder Mary Baker Eddy, who started the daily paper in 1908.
“It is our hope that people reading the paper, whatever their religious background, will pray about any issue going on in the world,” Jostyn said.
Today’s article, written in the first-person, explained Carroll’s situation, then went into a lengthy discussion of the power of prayer and how it might help her.
“I ask myself, What will I — an avid consumer of news and a newly minted fan of Jill’s work, but far from the scene of events — do with these remaining hours and minutes?” it stated, in part. “I resolve: I will not squander them. I will not give these moments over to fear, to despair, and definitely not over to anger or vengeance. But can I consecrate these moments to prayer? Yes, I can.
“Prayer has too often proved to be too powerful in my own life for me to neglect it now,” the piece continued. “I can pray, I do pray for every hostage, for their protection while in captivity, and for their safe and speedy release.”
The article went on to reference both the Old and New testaments, as well as a story involving St. Paul as a captive on a ship in stormy waters. “What was at work forwarding Paul’s deliverance? God’s love for His offspring delivered them — delivers us — from hate,” it said. “His benevolence delivers from evil. His mercy from injustice. Wonderful news doesn’t make these already-true facts true. Terrible news doesn’t unmake them. My task is to hew to these facts in prayer. Then these facts, these spiritual truths, reshape events for the better.”
The piece ends with a quotation from Psalms 32:7, “Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance.”
Jostyn said the writers and editor who work on each day’s spiritual piece remain anonymous, but seek to target ongoing issues. “They try to make them as topical as possible,” he said. “What better time for an article like that than today?” He also said each article is syndicated, so other papers could seek to run the Carroll piece if they chose to. But he did not know if any had shown interest or if the paper was planning to request that it be run in other papers.