Beyond positive thinking: thoughts that heal

When today’s contributor prayed for his injured dog, he experienced how God’s thoughts come with a power that brings tangible healing.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
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Years ago, I had a job delivering newspapers. Sometimes I would let my dog come with me on my paper route, because he liked to run alongside my bike as I threw the papers onto people’s doorsteps. As we were almost finished delivering one day, I inadvertently ran over my dog. He was limping the rest of the way home.

The next morning, he was still limping. In the past I had found prayer to be an effective way to deal with challenges, so I began praying for him. The night before, I had said aloud to my dog that God loves him and that he was going to be OK. Those were nice thoughts, and I am sure my dog had felt the love in my voice, but I realized I needed to do more than just say the words or think something positive. Being positive certainly is better than being negative, but I had learned in my study of Christian Science that it’s discerning God’s thoughts that gives real strength to our prayers.

How do God’s thoughts answer our prayers? They help us see things from a different perspective, from a divine viewpoint. We come to understand how God knows and made His creation: not as confined to a physical body, as seems to be the case, but as spiritual, without flaws. Time and again I have seen that when we’re open to God’s thoughts, they change our thinking – which, in turn, affects what we experience.

As I considered this, I turned to the Bible, where I often find inspiration for my prayers. I came across a part where Christ Jesus says, “When thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light” (Luke 11:34). What we give our attention to in our prayers, in other words, permeates what we do and experience.

And here is what I realized: the “light” that Jesus is talking about isn’t our own thoughts or willpower. It is actually the thoughts of God that we receive as answers to prayer! Hungering for this spiritual perspective deeply and permanently affects our experiences. Doing so even heals. Only the thoughts of God, divine Truth itself, are truly potent and valid. It’s not the power of the human mind, but the power of God, that can transform and cure.

So I became more still mentally, open to God. Then, in that quietness, the thought came to me that God brought my dog into being and nothing, including an accident with a bicycle tire, could change God’s work. This was just the inspiration I needed! I realized that God, who is completely good, creates everything spiritually – including our pets – and no events can interfere with or harm any spiritual creation of God.

With this realization, I felt the authority of God behind my prayer, bringing me such a sense of certainty as I heard myself declare aloud: “My dog truly is spiritual. He remains safe as God’s unchanged, perfect work.”

The next day, my dog was running normally and happily right alongside my bike, with his ears and tongue flapping away.

Speaking of how Jesus’ disciples recognized him through his words, The Christian Science Monitor’s founder, Mary Baker Eddy, says in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” “The divine Spirit, which identified Jesus thus centuries ago, has spoken through the inspired Word and will speak through it in every age and clime” (p. 46). The inspired Word of God – the thoughts of God that come to each of us as we pray – are permeated with God’s love and continue to transform people today. I’m so encouraged by the idea that anyone can follow Jesus’ example and, through prayer, see more of what God knows, declare it in our hearts, and let it transform and heal us (and our pets!) today.

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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.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.