Prayer that helps and heals

A Christian Science perspective: On the power of Christly prayer.

When we come up against a challenge in our lives, it can be tempting to feel helpless or discouraged, as if there’s nothing we can do. I, for one, have felt that way before. But I’ve also seen, time and time again, that we’re never truly helpless. In fact, there’s a powerful tool each and every one of us can turn to at any moment: prayer.

If God were not entirely good, or only had limited amounts of good to dole out, praying might seem like a wishful, even futile, plea for a special favor. But the Bible tells us in no uncertain terms that God not only is good, but is so at every moment: “The goodness of God endureth continually” (Psalms 52:1).

What’s more, God has made us in His very own image (see Psalms 100:3). Since God is good continuously, and we are made in God’s spiritual likeness, it follows that the spiritual reality is that we, His beloved children, can never be subject to anything but good.

These are astoundingly potent truths to inspire our prayers! Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes, “God is not moved by the breath of praise to do more than He has already done, nor can the infinite do less than bestow all good, since He is unchanging wisdom and Love” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 2). We don’t need to ask God to do something “extra” for us and hope He comes through. Instead, prayer helps us see that He has already given us all we could ever need.

The genuine desire to better understand God is itself a deeply powerful prayer. As we nurture this desire, we become more conscious of and begin to glimpse more of the infinite magnitude of God, good. And we find that seeing evidence of God’s goodness in our lives is a very natural result. Science and Health explains, “Prayer cannot change the Science of being, but it tends to bring us into harmony with it” (p. 2).

Through his countless healing works, Christ Jesus demonstrated for all mankind the healing effect of prayer that acknowledges God’s supreme goodness. He taught those who would follow in the path he pointed out how to pray, too, promising that humble, heartfelt prayer is rewarded “openly” (see Matthew 6:6).

I’ve seen this in my own experience. For instance, several years ago I injured my finger, which became swollen and painful, and was bleeding in several places. As I washed the finger, I also did what I’d previously found to be so helpful when challenges arose: I prayed.

The situation seemed to imply that man’s health and wholeness are vulnerable, that sometimes harmony can be interrupted or taken away. But I knew, from my study of Jesus’ teachings and of Christian Science, that this could never be true for God’s spiritual creation, which includes all of us. I quietly prayed to understand this better, and the idea came to me that there is no power greater than God. He is All (see Isaiah 45:5), and His goodness is the spiritual reality, the only reality.

My concern about the finger, which hadn’t stopped bleeding and wouldn’t really bend, disappeared as I realized that man, God’s own image, can never be separated from God’s abundant goodness. Nothing can deprive us of it, not even for a moment!

When I next looked down, the bleeding had completely stopped and the swelling had gone down considerably. The pain had disappeared altogether. By the end of the day I was able to fully bend the finger, and in very short order the wounds had fully healed, without any scars or other traces of injury.

Testimonies of the healing power of Christly prayer have been published in The Christian Science Journal and the Christian Science Sentinel for over a hundred years, from testifiers around the globe who have found help and healing in situations including illness, financial trouble, natural disasters, and family inharmony. Every one of us can turn to God in prayer that helps and heals. As we affirm that good is limitless and let the yearning to better understand God inspire our prayers, we’ll increasingly see evidence of God’s infinite goodness for us, His treasured children, unfolding in our lives.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

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