Healing and prayer

IN recent years I have talked to several people who are sympathetic with the idea of healing disease through mental means. But they question the need to involve God in the healing process. They recognize that disease can have a mental cause and so conclude (contrary to the Christian Scientist's view) that the source of cure can be found in the human mind. Usually I tell them that sooner or later the human mind will find it is not equal to overcoming its own belief in disease, whether the disease is thought to have a mental cause or a strictly physical one. This is one reason why the Christian Scientist sees a need to yield to the illimitable harmony of God, the one divine Mind. As Paul said, ``Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.''1 Turning to God for healing requires prayer. Through prayer we seek to affirm our love for God and our unity with His purpose, to feel God's love, and prove God's, Love's, control. We do bear witness to that control when prayer results in healing. The Christian Scientist, then, sees spiritual healing not only as the most reliable means of ensuring his well-being but also as a form of Christian worship. Spiritual healing, like prayer, has a holy purpose; for it affirms the presence of God and illustrates His nature as all-caring and omnipotent Love, as the actual Life of all that He creates.

When we pray, are we asking God to get rid of evil circumstances that apparently He has already permitted? Or does evil appear only in the material view of creation--the perspective from which it would seem that the control of the universe is at the mercy of material law? In harmony with the Scriptures, Christian Science teaches that God sees His creation as spiritual and perfect, as the expression of His own nature, and that man in God's image is the actual selfhood of everyone. When, through prayer, we yield to this truth, discern it as the reality of our being, the harmony that characterizes our true being is brought to light. Healing occurs.

Often people have trouble grasping the thought that what they have always regarded as objective reality may actually be just a material sense of reality. The challenge here is not that matter really is the solid, enduring substance that it seems to be but that the physical sense of existence is by nature misleading. Disease and other forms of evil appear to be solid, unquestionable realities. Many people have had dreams or other experiences that have illustrated to them the hypnotic nature of illusion. This understanding of the nature of illusion, coupled with the realization that it is not the responsibility of the human mind to make an ungodlike illusion go away, can free us to yield to the presence of the divine Mind, in which there is no illusion, no discord, of any sort.

The undependable nature of physical evidence was brought home to me some time ago when I began to feel very ill. While praying for divine guidance, I suddenly realized that the evidence of disease did not represent concrete reality but was a deception because it wasn't created by God. Now I saw how I could put into practice a statement by Mary Baker Eddy2 from the Christian Science textbook: ``We apprehend Life in divine Science only as we live above corporeal sense and correct it.''3 As I continued through prayer to challenge the nausea and other symptoms with spiritual truths of Science, I was healed.

This healing wasn't a question of ``mind over matter,'' because from the standpoint of limited, human thinking the symptoms were very real. But when I yielded in prayer to divine Mind's harmonious control over all its creation, the contradictory evidence of disease could only be seen as illusory--and so it proved.

We can understand prayer as a realization of the spiritual unity that eternally exists between God and His children. And one of the fruits of answered prayer is a reaffirmation of that unity, of man's relationship to God, which we can always trust.

1Philippians 2:5. 2The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 3Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 167. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I am the Lord that healeth thee. Exodus 15:26

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