How Can Prayer Heal?
HAVE you heard of healing through prayer but really don't know much about it? Maybe you know a Christian Scientist at the office or in your neighborhood but have never talked with him or her about spiritual healing. If so, the story of a colleague at my office who asked about the subject and was healed might be of interest. This woman had been ill for over a week, and she told me on a Friday afternoon that she would not be able to attend a planned course the following week. She knew that I relied on prayer and asked me how I would handle a situation like this. I told her that I would turn to God for healing. Then I briefly explained to her something of how Christian Science had helped me.
The woman listened with interest and asked me to pray for her. Then she went home. She was soon free of the illness and was able to attend the scheduled course the following week.
To me, there were two remarkable things about this healing. The woman was healed without taking medicine. And she couldn't recall the exact moment when she was healed.
She didn't think of her trouble until the morning after our conversation, when she suddenly realized that she was completely well. Then, she told me, she became aware of the fact that she had slept all night. ``I had simply forgotten about it,'' she said.
How could this woman forget about her suffering? Her thought had been so touched by the spiritual truth of man's unbroken perfection as God's likeness that the illness disappeared. Without overlooking the spiritual regeneration that actually impels spiritual healing, we can state, in simple terms, that sickness vanishes as we grasp the truth of man and his relation to God. Prayer makes us conscious of man's existing spiritual nature as God's own image. It brings to light, through healing, the fact that our real selfhood expresses God's goodness and wholeness.
So what is sickness? To a mistaken, materialistic sense of things, it's a solid reality. But to a higher, spiritual view of life it is no part of anyone's true identity.
We don't have to be the slaves of traditional thinking. Disease is not an unrelenting reality, because God never made it. And on this basis it can be healed through the power of prayer.
Christ Jesus understood the supreme power of God and the spiritual reality of man. Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered and founded Christian Science, observes: ``Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick.''1
My friend was healed when she accepted the spiritual fact that man, as God's creation, expresses a natural state of spiritual wholeness and perfection. Her receptivity to this powerful truth prepared her and made her ready to be healed.
Her experience shows that prayer, though profound, is simple. Prayer does not depend on many words or a deep intellectual understanding of religious theories. It does not follow a set pattern. Prayer is individual spiritual discernment of what God and man really are. It is loving God and thanking Him for the perfect spiritual reality He has created. And this heals.
1Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, pp. 476-477.
Healing through prayer is explored in more detail in a weekly magazine, the Christian Science Sentinel.