WHEN I was in my first year of college, I was unhappy about the school. The answer appeared to be clear-cut: transfer to another college. But, frankly, I didn't have any idea where I would go. Obviously, this wasn't an earthshaking problem, but it seemed pretty major at the time. So I asked a friend, a Christian Scientist, to pray for me. Before long, my concerns diminished. Outwardly, the campus, the people, were the same. But I found myself enjoying the classes and warming up to the people around me.
One might feel this adjustment would have taken place with or without prayer. Yet I've had many other proofs of the effectiveness of prayer in harmonizing circumstances, sometimes difficult ones. The solution hasn't always been the same. But each resolution has pointed clearly to God's unchanging goodness and to the power of divine law to adjust what needs adjusting. This has applied to the healing of physical difficulties as well.
But how can prayer change the conditions that are giving us trouble? Maybe the answer is best indicated in the Psalmist's prayer ``Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.''1 Prayer in its truest sense isn't a matter of asking God to manipulate circumstances. Rather, it's an opening of our eyes, an opening of thought, to the good that He has eternally provided for His creation.
The Bible makes clear that God is Love, that He is totally good. And Christ Jesus' healing works vividly illustrate that fact. They show that harmony is natural, the will of God, and that prayer serves to bring to light the true nature of what God has created, including the spiritual perfection of man as His image.
Human experience, of course, is anything but perfect. Crime, oppression, poverty, disease, don't vanish simply by our thinking positively. But neither do these troubles represent what God, good, has truly created. We can work toward their healing, then, through prayer to the one God -- through realizing that genuine existence is spiritual and ideal, and through applying our understanding of that fact to whatever situation confronts us at the moment. The results of this work are most readily seen in the healings that take place in individual lives, healings that point to the possibilities in the global arena.
Through prayer we're able to awake somewhat to the harmony of divine reality, in which man is the spiritual likeness of God. We gain new views of ourselves and others, views that open the way for Christ, the divine healing influence, to dissolve the obstructions that a material sense of things would, by its very nature, place in our way. As Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, observes, ``Our false views of life hide eternal harmony, and produce the ills of which we complain.''2 And she says reassuringly, ``As mortals gain more correct views of God and man, multitudinous objects of creation, which before were invisible, will become visible.''3
Clearly, more than a superficial shift of human thought is needed to heal the severe ills that face so many. What's needed is Christian regeneration, which includes a humble yielding in prayer to the power of God and His Christ. What's needed is a willingness to let our views of reality be shaped by divine Love and not simply by appearances; a willingness to accept the possibility that true existence is wholly good because it's the outcome of God, and that change for the better can come about on that basis.
There are wonderful views of God and man to be glimpsed by all of us. They are views that lead to healing.
1Psalms 119:18. 2Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 62. 3Ibid., p. 264.