We're generally educated to believe that if some sickness is ''going around, '' we can ''catch it.'' Of course, we don't want it; but we may think that we don't have a whole lot of choice in the matter!
But we do. Many people are finding that enlightened prayer is an effective defense against contagion. If this sounds unusual or even unrealistic to you, it may be that the kind of prayer you are thinking of is the kind I tried as a little girl. It was dubiously addressed to ''Somebody up there,'' who I hoped was listening. ''Please don't let me be sick,'' I pleaded. Although it was sincere and innocent, there was little understanding of God in that prayer. But at least I knew I could turn to Him.
Since that time I've learned so much more about the nature of God, about His all-inclusive goodness and the healing and protective power that comes from it. God, divine Love, could never make or permit disease. That divine Love could afflict or allow affliction is unthinkable. The Bible assures us: ''He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. . . . There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling.'' n1
n1 Psalms 91:1, 10.
To realize and experience this protection, we need to commune with God on a regular basis. Through such prayer we can feel His closeness - indeed, our unity with God, whom Jesus called ''Father.'' Our spiritual sense, transcending a physical view of life, equips us to listen to God, to listen for His pure, healing thoughts.
Spiritual reasoning is another form of prayer. It starts with something true of God - His allness and goodness, for example - and then applies this truth to the specific need confronting us. We might reason that if God, good, is all-inclusive, He is ever present, and therefore sickness, fatigue, pain, cannot be here; sickness does not originate or have a place in all-inclusive good. Contagion could never enter the atmosphere of divine Love. There is no God-constituted power called contagion. Therefore no one can be victimized by it!
Is this reasoning just words? Just trying to talk yourself out of being sick and into being healthy? That's not the method Christ Jesus taught. True prayer isn't simply positive thinking. Only divinely inspired reasoning, deeply felt, can lift us up above the frail capacity of the human mind to a perception of what God, divine Mind, is and knows. This Mind is omnipotent Truth - and it is Truth that protects and heals. ''Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free,'' n2 the Master assured us. And in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mary Baker Eddy n3 says, referring to God, ''Truth handles the most malignant contagion with perfect assurance.'' 4
n2 John 8:32.
n3 The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science.
n4 Science and Health, p. 176.
Prayerful spiritual reasoning helps us transcend our fears and the fears of others, and enables us to feel God's goodness. Words alone, of course, won't do this; but enlightened faith will.
Christian Science nurtures enlightened faith to a scientific conviction of the power of spiritual truth over physical beliefs - including the belief that we might become sick.
My prayers now include sincere listening, spiritual reasoning, and scientific conviction. Such prayer has helped me progress in my grasp of God's power and love, and I am much less prone to feel I can be victimized by contagion.
In past years, every winter, colds passed around the family. But in recent years we've had barely a sniffle. And a while ago, my children were exposed to a common childhood disease but developed none of the symptoms. On another occasion , when my son had symptoms of an illness reported at his school, he was healed within a few hours when we prayed to get a deeper understanding of God's love for every child in the school.
Predictions of sickness are not occasions for fear, but times to grow in our understanding of Love's all-inclusive goodness and the power of prayer. Our trust in God's omnipresence defends us from the seeming power of sickness and the fear of being liable to it.
Man, as God's child, is susceptible to good only. Knowing this is a powerful defense! DAILY BIBLE VERSE Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: there by good shall come unto thee. Job 22:21