A Thanksgiving prayer is a powerful tool we can bring to heal the fractious bickering that threatens to break our nation apart. Not the kind of prayer that pleads for "my" side to win. Not the request, "Oh, God, please make the government do this or that." The prayer that's needed is more like, "Dear Father of us all, show us the goodness and wisdom and courage in each other."

That is not so easy when one is taking a very strong stand one way or another on an important issue. But that healthy respect for the way God's characteristics manifest themselves in every one of us can open avenues and solutions to what might seem an impossible quandary.

How does this work?

I like to hearken back to that powerful statement of being in Genesis 1, that God created us in his image, with dominion over the creeping things, and the assurance from Malachi, that we all have one father. So we have God-given dominion over contentiousness, greed, fear, self-righteousness and dishonesty that would creep into and undermine the decision-making process. We can ask God to give us the strength to see him at work, to seek out and cherish and use his gifts of wisdom, honor, respect, benevolence, inspiration, intuition, attention to detail. The mental activity of affirming those qualities in prayer frees up the possibility for those traits to manifest themselves, even becoming a catalyst for a shift in consciousness.

It requires work, but it's a worthwhile tool to bring to the decision making table. In her profound work on spiritual healing, "Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures," Mary Baker Eddy puts it like this, "One infinite God, good, unifies men and nations; constitutes the brotherhood of man."

This Thanksgiving time is an opportunity to be thankful for those gifts and to discover their power.

Sandra Webb,