Commentary A Christian Science Perspective

An expanded view of prayer – that heals!

Today's column includes an exploration of how prayer can – and did – bring quick and complete physical healing to a woman suffering from the flu.

  • Mark Swinney

When a friend of mine was suffering from the flu, she made a decision that might seem counterintuitive to some. Having found prayer to be effective during many other challenges, she turned to God in this situation, too.

Prayer can mean many things to different people. My friend’s approach was not to plead with God for Him to fix her material body, but to turn to God with gratitude for what she understood she had already received from God: an identity that is actually spiritual. This meant to her that she reflected God’s goodness, including the harmony that is always His nature.

This approach to prayer can seem like a big leap, but I’ve found it effective for healing. It’s based on the teachings of Christ Jesus, as explained in Christian Science, through which I’ve learned that we all are so much more than the mortal beings we appear to be. God, divine Spirit, is our creator, an entirely nonmaterial and purely good presence and power; and the creation of Spirit must naturally be spiritual also – wholly spiritual, in fact.

So when we’re facing illness or injury, it’s helpful to begin with seeking to understand God’s nature and essence. In understanding what God is, we discover our true identity. Jesus, who is recorded in the Bible as healing so many people, recognized that infinite Spirit is our only originator and that, in all ways and at all times, regardless of the material picture, our true identity remains as God’s spiritual reflection. “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit,” Jesus observed (John 3:6).

In the case of my friend, through this understanding of her spiritual nature she realized that repairing Spirit’s creation isn’t necessary, since this creation already continuously expresses God’s perfection. Her realization was more than a mental exercise. You could say that her prayer had the backing of the living God. That is, her desire to better know and understand her true, spiritual identity was impelled by God’s authority and presence, and it became clear to her that neither God nor God’s creation could have the flu or any other illness. With that, all thought of suffering left her. She quickly was free of the sickness and feeling like her regular self again.

This indicates how prayer can become to us the power of divine Truth, another name for God, working in our thoughts, helping us to recognize our real being as God knows us – spiritual and free. In one of her works, “Rudimental Divine Science,” Monitor founder Mary Baker Eddy explains: “Health is the consciousness of the unreality of pain and disease; or, rather, the absolute consciousness of harmony and of nothing else” (p. 11).

When your or my prayers stem from a desire to humbly see what God has actually created and is revealing of His love and perfection, and we strive to express these qualities, there is no place left for sickness to take root in our consciousness and experience. As we acknowledge, understand, and even cherish God’s ever-presence, we gain fresh views that transform our perspective and outlook, and our beautiful, perfect, and completely spiritual identity shines forth. And this brings needed healing.

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