Can prayer bring lasting freedom from chronic pain? As a woman experienced firsthand after recurring back pain came to a head, the answer is yes.
For too many, it can seem that pain is an inevitable part of day-to-day life. While there seem to be options that may offer temporary relief, many are asking the question, Is there a way to find permanent freedom?
I was faced with this question a number of years ago. As a runner, for years I experienced pains in my back on the mornings after a run. At the time I sort of accepted it as “understandable,” and because it wasn’t that bad, I didn’t give it much thought.
Then one day I woke up with my back completely out of whack. For a week I could barely walk or sit and had trouble lifting anything. I had to find some relief and, in my experience, that always starts with prayer.
To help me pray, I opened a Bible-based textbook on spiritual healing written by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of The Christian Science Monitor, that methodically explains everyone’s real nature as created by God in the only way God, infinite good, could create us – spiritual, flawless, and good. It also outlines how to heal discordant situations by understanding this.
This book, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” has always been a great resource for me in finding permanent solutions to all kinds of challenges – physical, emotional, and professional – so I knew I would find answers there. Mrs. Eddy discovered in her Bible the basic understanding that shifted her entire way of thinking about health: We are not damaged mortals, but created in God’s spiritual, perfect image, and nothing can ever alter that fact. This understanding brought permanent healing from the chronic pain and other health challenges she had experienced, and is at the core of Christian Science.
God is an ever-present help and the ultimate healer. The Psalms promise that it is God that “heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction” (103:3, 4, New King James Version). Christ Jesus proved this, showing that any type of sin or illness can be washed away by the all-loving God, when the pure heart turns to God for help.
Starting from this higher standpoint, where we acknowledge our spiritual nature and right to experience health, we don’t so readily accept pain as inevitable or even legitimate.
Well, that day, I did question the legitimacy of this pain. I read a thought-provoking statement in Science and Health that completely changed my thinking about this difficulty. It speaks of an important decision that we each need to make when confronted with a health challenge: “Before deciding that the body, matter, is disordered, one should ask, ‘Who art thou that repliest to Spirit? Can matter speak for itself, or does it hold the issues of life?’” (p. 181).
Suddenly the whole notion that some body part could dictate the terms of my existence seemed preposterous to me. It dawned on me that my body didn’t have the power to reply or talk back to infinite Spirit, God, who is the true source and substance of our life. God, who is also divine Mind, governs us and our activity in a perfectly ordered way – not just in some situations, but in every instance. My back could no more decide to be out of order than it could decide of its own volition to go to the grocery store.
With this new conviction of my natural spiritual poise, I rejected the notion of that painful condition as part of me. Freedom and strength settled over me. I was completely free of pain within the hour, and I have never had a problem with back pain from running, or for any other reason, since.
How important our self-image is – what we accept as truth about our life – and our understanding of what God is and does. Letting God and the understanding of our spiritual well-being alone inform our thoughts about self is incredibly liberating, and opens up the possibility of complete freedom from pain or incapacity.
New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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