What Can I Do For The World?

By Sherry Abstein Gordon

What can I do?—for myself, for another individual, or for the world? The answer is always the same: prayer that opens the way for God’s Light to move in and heal.

The world’s ills are many; many changes are needed—in people’s minds and in ways of doing things—but so much of it is entirely out of our control. It isn’t your responsibility to “fix” any part of it but yourself—and even that can seem overwhelming. Yet you can, always, take one supremely effective action to remedy a problem situation: get out of the way and let God handle it.

The word “let” (in any language) is the “open sesame” to God’s store of Power, the active principle of universal Light. Does “let” sound passive rather than active? We need to reconsider our concept of passivity.

If self wants to be in charge, handing over the reins to God does seem passive; and it’s no wonder we feel frustrated at how little we can do to change our environment, all on our own. With self at the helm, we meet with a great deal of resistance to our use of force—trying to force changes large and small in the world around us. If we clear our will out of the way and, using the power of nonresistance, make of ourselves a channel for God’s will, we’re enlivened by being aligned with the source of universal energy.

And make no mistake about it, God does need active channels for healing Light on earth. God cannot just step in to remedy all ills, or free will would be violated. Prayer is critical—it is the invitation being sought to release Power into the world. One person praying alone—if s/he truly sets aside personal wishes, opinions, and prejudices—can indeed “work miracles” (i.e., can make of herself/himself a gateway through which healing may run and a network of effective changes may begin to take place). We may never see the steps that lead to healing; we may never actually see the end result; we may not even fully understand how healing comes about in ourselves—but if we follow through on a simple process we can have faith in its being completed in other hands.

This simple process of letting God balance the unbalanced is in reality a trinity of steps: Call it Good; invoke Light; and give thanks. Utter simplicity.

Calling All Good

We’re taught to distinguish between good and bad, and conditioned to call “good” things good and “bad” things bad. As we all know, a great many of these differentiations are opinions—which change according to personal and cultural perceptions. Still, we do often see situations that we know in our hearts are in opposition to rightness, to the peacefulness of individuals and the world, and we wish to do our part to change them into good.

However, calling these things “bad” only solidifies the badness we think about them. When we surrender control to God, we also must think in terms of getting our thoughts out of the way.

Edna Lister wrote that “every appearance of evil is simply a form of mental malpractice” — retrogressing to self-control instead of remaining aligned with God (“in God-consciousness”). So all those thoughts and appearances of evil represent individual and collective mental separation from alignment with the Source. When we perceive that the appearance is what needs to be dissolved in Light, we’re better able to see the good “underneath” (and our compassion for others will naturally increase).

God is All, and God is Good. If God is all, God is expressing as each of us, as each of everything. When we call people or things Good (one of the names of God), every spark within them responds to its Source—and moves toward alignment, toward syzygy between heaven and earth, toward equilibrium. (Each of us is in need of greater equilibrium; so let’s not hesitate to call everyone good!)

The opening paragraphs of the Old Testament show how God operates: He uses the word “let” (showing us what the Law is for creating: allowing); He first invokes and establishes Light on earth; and He sees/declares that His creations are good. This is what is meant by “speaking the Word”: seeing something as good… and calling it so.

In Matthew 8, a centurion asked the Master for aid for his sick servant. He said, “Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed.” His faith didn’t extend to his own performance of a miracle, but he had faith that He who truly believed in and declared good would make it manifest. …Yet it was his faith, in this good, that opened the way for the healing miracle.

And what we declare good manifests as good; that is, the declaration opens the way for any appearance of badness to dissolve. Edna Lister called this “ignoring the truth of appearances and declaring the truth of reality.”

Though it isn’t necessary for us to see only good for God to use our declarations, we find ourselves seeing the good when we do declare it. Say, “This is Good,” and let the belief in goodness come in its own time. Meanwhile, you can at least believe that God sees the good in any situation and will turn all appearances of negativity into Good in His own way.

Sometimes we do grasp something of what might be inherently good in an evil situation; or at least we see the “silver lining” afterward. Certainly, this is good! But bringing a situation into the Light is of paramount importance. Instead of assuming that we need to see the good for it to truly be good, we can work on getting our egos out of the way and trusting God to handle it. Being anxious about it, as Edna Lister put it, “injects I-ness into the already completed picture”—puts self-induced resistance, or friction, into the smooth working of our prayers. (You couldn’t figure it out yourself, remember?—so don’t allow your limited thoughts to get in the way of unlimited Perfect Mind at work.)

We are not responsible for making things good, only for our own thoughts and, if we will do so, for speaking the Word for Good. And since our thoughts and declarations create in the world around us, we can see that it makes sense to merely glance at evil, not dwell on it (and certainly not fear it or talk about it endlessly). Better to focus our energies on noticing whatever evils come our way…and calling them all Good! (And when we accept the further responsibility for doing this, we are truly on the path of Ascension.)

“This is Good; let there be Light!”

Invoking Light

Calling it Good sets the vibration and opens the gates, and then we ask (as God did) for the Light of the Source to come through into the world.

In our planet’s beginning, God first called Light into the darkness, as the basis for all subsequent creation. He saw that it was good. And then came man — and free choice — which created another kind of darkness, the darkness that is the turning away from natural union with the Light of the Source. This is what cries out for us to invoke more Light! — Light to bridge the barrier, as it were, of man’s free choice that keeps God from “meddling.” Only when called for can Light be sent to dissolve tangles of darkness.

Light “magnetizes” all that has been realigned by its being called Good; it is then drawn “Home”—back into alignment with the Source. Light begins the process of absorbing all that is old and hardened and establishing a new pattern of expression, and all touched by this Light are “caught up in a high state of consciousness by the magnetic Power of God.”

Light doesn’t so much combat darkness as penetrate it (as a single lit candle does a dark room) and change it, call it back into Itself (the expression of God that is the Light that comes before the rest of creation).

“Let” demonstrates that you’re not in control—that you are allowing God to be in control of a situation. Bringing the declarative word “let” into prominence in your vocabulary is a simple way to practice “getting out of the way”—and a method of insuring that you are acting in accordance with Divine Law.

“This is Good; let there be Light.” Edna Lister said that “when we say, ‘Let there be Light,’ we are saying, ‘Let God be here as Light’”…to dissolve and transform all darkness (whether we see it or not).

Giving Thanks

Gratitude is rejoicing in what you have (in what you have been given). When we declare something Good and make possible the pouring of Light onto a person or group or situation, giving thanks seals the miracle of healing that is taking place (in God’s way and in God’s time)…because gratitude releases power.

When we pray in gratitude rather than merely asking, we are demonstrating that it is so; we’re not waiting to find out whether or not it will be. When we give thanks, then, we are declaring the truth of reality—the reality that God is Good, that God is All, and that therefore all is Good. Further, with our gratitude for what is, we accept God’s way of following through on our prayers…and keep ourselves out of the way of healing in the universe.

The power of thankfulness is more than a second method of saying “so it is Good.” Edna Lister said, “God is the substance and the law in which you live, move, and have your being” (God is all)—and that “gratitude is the first law of increase. All growth comes under the law of appreciation or gratitude.” Not only does thanking God “turn up the heat” on our prayers, it increases all that is good in our lives—and this can only increase our connectedness with God, and our effectiveness as openers-to-Light. Gratitude is a win-win virtue! —and it teaches us further about the authenticity of Goodness.

Besides which, thankfulness feels good! (And that which truly feels right is indeed the truth of reality.)

“This is Good; let there be Light! Thank you, thank you, thank you…for this healing and for all the Good there is.”

What can you do? Say…

“This is Good.

“Let there be Light.

“Thank you, Father!”

And is there anything else? Yes: Anticipate a dividend.

Anticipating Dividends

Saying “This is Good. Let there be Light” is a wonderful habit to get into! There’s no reason not to say it often, with or without a specific reason.

Most of our prayers calling forth Goodness and Light, though, are in response to particular persons, places, things, ideas, feelings, etc. Shall we leave it at that?—or shall we take advantage of the principle of compound interest and ask for a dividend?

In any specific situation, we can gather in more darkness for the Light we invoke to act upon—we have only to think more broadly.

Your supervisor is an alcoholic who is always cranky and making all around him uncomfortable; you are moved to say, “Steve is Good; let there be Light; thank you, Father!”—and this is a triumph! There are, however, at least thousands of cranky bosses, and hundreds of thousands of alcoholics in the world.… So there is still a prayer vacuum to be filled. You don’t know who all those people are… but you can ask for Light to touch them anyway. Use Steve as a focal point: “And let all people like him be filled with Light now!”

If you develop this other habit of moving outward from the specific to the general when you pray, you will turn a “fifty dollar prayer” into a “million dollar investment”—at the cost of another few seconds of your time.

And if you have more than a few seconds to spare, let the anticipation of dividends move you through layer upon layer of needs. The first instance can be like a stone dropped into a pool—if you follow the rippling rings outward, you may run into five or ten more needs (the workers; the bosses’ children, their also-alcoholic parents, all people addicted to alcohol, all who are addicted to anything, all who are blind to their own responsibility for their thought patterns creating their problems)—and can ask for them all to be bathed in the Light of the Source.

The more we think about opening wider, the more effective we are as instruments for Divine Will. Edna Lister said, “Every thought we think and word we utter is Divine Substance. Prayer is Divine Substance in action. Make every thought a prayer.” We all misuse some of the substance that is allotted to us.… Lift it all into the Light—yours and others’—and “kick it up a notch” by adding, “and when it is returned to me [or to her/him], let it be used only in Thy service.”

“This is prayer without ceasing,” Edna Lister said, “and making every moment pay a dividend in the Life of God. Pray for each television actor or announcer you see, surround them with arms of Light and lift all detriments. Pray for the world while you watch or hear the news…” We can open wider at all times, looking for more and more to pray Light into, to lift into the Light that we invoke!

“You limit God if you ask for only one or two miracles. Our asking for miracles is proof of our love, faith, and gratitude. Ask for miracles for the world. How many miracles can you ask for today’s quota? You can’t ask for enough. God can’t run short of power or substance. So speak the word for healing. Thank the Father for everything, all the time, and for more ideas to weave into miracles. Thousands of unborn miracles are waiting out there for us.”

You can do so much! Call all Good; invoke Light; give thanks; and anticipate dividends. Push the miracles out ahead of you as you move through the world!

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Edna Miriam Lister
The original Pioneering Mystic,
Christian Platonist philosopher, American Idealist, Founder, Society of the Universal Living Christ, minister, teacher, author, wife, and mother.

Edna Lister


The Holy Bible. King James Version (KJV).