According to Polish legend, once upon a time there was a dragon with such fierce eyes that everyone it looked at died. Occasionally, brave young warriors would take up swords and attempt to kill the dragon, but those deadly eyes reached farther than their swords, and they were always slain.
Then an alert young man approached the dragon - carrying not a sword but a mirror. On seeing its own devastating eyes reflected back, the beast fell dead.
We all face our share of dragons - often in the form of lacking something, such as health, money, opportunity, love. When a man from Warsaw told me that legend, I was reminded of something written by the founder of the Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy. It refers to Jesus' healing of an insane man, who languished in the graveyards (see Mark 5:1-20). Jesus is said to have let a lot of "devils" leave the tormented man and enter a herd of about 2,000 swine, which then promptly drowned themselves. "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" says of that biblical dragon slaying, "The Scripture seems to import that Jesus caused the evil to be self-seen and so destroyed" (pg. 411).
Well, that actually indicates a viable approach to modern-day problems. Jesus taught that God is good. God is the source of our life, our ever-present, loving Father and Mother. Jesus knew God didn't make evil or give it power. When he confronted evil as a lie, it destroyed itself.
The first chapter of Genesis contains three important weapons in dragon slaying. The first is the fact that God created us each in His perfect image. The second is that God gave us each dominion. The third is that everything God makes is "very good."
Acknowledging these facts is prayer. And it holds up a mirror of truth, where concepts that are not "very good" can be self-seen as lies, and eliminated.
Prayer is vital to healing. The first chapter of Science and Health is devoted to the subject of prayer. It explains that the prayer of healing includes complete faith that nothing is impossible to God. Also that we can trust our just and honest desires to God. It introduces the idea that we pray not to change God but to bring our thinking into accord with the divine Mind. Then we discern the creator's perfect, harmonious care of us and all our activities. This understanding heals.
Having been healed a number of times by such prayer, I looked to it again when a sty appeared on one of my eyelids. My boss informed me that it would never go away without medical treatment. His comment alerted me to stop ignoring the sty and to shine the mirror of divine Truth on it.
I began thinking about all the wonderful healings that Jesus had performed, and remembered his statement "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also" (John 14:12). I certainly believed that there actually had been someone named Jesus who did all the works recounted in the Bible (and probably hundreds of other healings that never got recorded). And I knew that Jesus trusted God to heal. I could trust God just as Jesus did - the healing of a sty was certainly not impossible.
I prayed to understand my likeness to God - spiritual and perfect - and to see Him as the source of my being. Expectant of physical healing, I persisted in knowing my innate spirituality. As I did this, the sty soon disappeared from my eyelid.
For me, prayer has also healed flu, colds, corns, sprains, bad finances, unemployment - and many other threats. In effect, it has held up the mirror of their own unreality.
The most important thing to remember is that no matter what its guise, or how formidable it seems, evil is not created by God. And God's creation is really the only actual one.
And they shall fight
against thee; but they
shall not prevail
against thee; for I am
with thee, saith the Lord,
to deliver thee.