Prayer and Healing

SOMETIMES when people find out that I'm a Christian Scientist they ask me why I rely on prayer for healing. To them it seems like an unusual thing to do. To be honest, when I first learned about Christian Science, I thought its talk about healing was unusual too. I had become interested in Christian Science because it seemed to be a good way to learn more about God. Mary Baker Eddy's book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, gave me many helpful insights into the Bible's spiritual meaning, and this was what I was interested in. Spiritual healing didn't seem that important.

But as I studied, some questions arose. If Jesus' point was merely to give us a better sense of God, why would he have needed to heal people, I wondered. Was there really a relationship between understanding God and healing? And why did Jesus tell his followers that they should also be healers?

As I learned more about God, I began to see that spiritual healing and one's understanding of God are related. As this point became clearer, healing came into my life in a broader sense than I had first known it. Discord and trouble with relationships began to be healed. And my health improved also.

When Christ Jesus told his followers, ``I can of mine own self do nothing,''1 he wasn't merely being humble. He was saying that without God's power behind his work, he could never have done the great deeds he accomplished. But he was also pointing to the actual spiritual fact that all aspects of our lives relate to God and that by understanding this point we will have the health, peace, satisfaction, and joy that we need.

How is this possible? It comes from understanding that we really are God's offspring and as such, our nature derives directly from Him. For instance, if we think of God as Mind, then it follows that as His children, we should express intelligence, wisdom, wit. And conversely, if God is the source of these qualities, then we cannot do without Him.

The qualities we express, have their basis in God. Since these qualities are wholly spiritual, it follows that in truth we also are spiritual. And these qualities of God that we express are our true identity. They are an innate part of our true being, and we can never lose them. We become better at discerning them and seeing their depth as we strive to live more spiritually. And we do this through the help of Christ, God's spiritual message of love to man. Through Christ, we come to know our actual inseparability from God.

Yet this knowledge of itself could seem abstract, something that doesn't have much to do with the rest of our lives. This, I found, is where healing comes in. As I began to rely on God for healing -- whether of the relationship kind or for illness -- God became much more of an active presence in my life. Instead of seeming distant, even forbidding, He became known to me as divine Love. Mrs. Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health, ``Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need.''2

That's more than just a pleasant thought; it's a very practical description of how God's care works in our lives when we let it. And an understanding of God's care has healed me of a heart attack, leg injuries of various types, illnesses such as colds and influenza, and many other troubles. It has also brought much happiness to my life.

This healing influence of Christ began by showing me that there is a spiritual solution to every problem. If the problem wasn't solved, it was because I hadn't yet seen -- or wouldn't act on -- the solution. I also learned that living spiritually requires us to give up the belief that we are primarily material or a mixture of matter and Spirit. We need to live spiritually and to endeavor to be Christly in the small and large things of daily life.

At first, it may seem difficult to challenge materiality, particularly when we are having problems. When the body is sick, materiality seems potent and troublesome. If there is trouble at work, anger or frustration may feel much more real than love and peace.

Here the mental and spiritual self-discipline that Christ Jesus' example so beautifully illustrates is our guide. At this stage of our lives, we may not feel anywhere near as certain of God's healing power as Jesus did. But if we take small steps at first, it becomes easier to take the larger steps later. The more we trust God, the more we see evidence of His care. And this trust is what enables us to take the bigger steps when they are needed.

When I first looked into Christian Science, I didn't understand the emphasis on healing. But I do now. The healing Christ is what makes God a real, living presence in my life. It is available to all people -- whether or not they call themselves Christian Scientists. It is available to you.

1John 5:30. 2Science and Health, p. 494.

BIBLE VERSE: Is any among you afflicted? let him pray.... Is any sick among you? ...The prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up.... Pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

James 5:13-16

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