What makes the healing prayer taught in Christian Science distinct from other types of prayer for healing? Mary Baker Eddy devotes an entire book - Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures - to this question. Specifically, page 12 clears up some of the fog and mystery surrounding Christian Science prayer. Interestingly, the discussion begins with a statement of what it is not. The healing prayer practiced in Christian Science is not a human “mind over matter” blind faith-cure method.
Mrs. Eddy writes, “‘The prayer of faith shall save the sick,’ says the Scripture. What is this healing prayer? A mere request that God will heal the sick has no power to gain more of the divine presence than is already at hand.”
If we use prayer something like a balloon or emergency flare we send up, - “Hey, I could really use some help over here on my problem,” - where is God in this prayer? Circling around somewhere outside the problem, needing our help through prayer to find it and fix it?
Holding sickness at the center of a case and bringing God to it indicates a misunderstanding of the Everpresent One. Spiritual healing involves correcting misperceptions of the who and what and where of God. God is the infinite All – the one reality, power, presence. If we are holding onto a problem, or a disease, to be one fixed reality, which we hope another reality, our God, will come to heal – this is a human “mind over matter" blind faith-cure attempt.
Sometimes faith-cures have positive physical results and sometimes very negative. It all depends on the strength of the human will of the healer acting through his blind belief. But whether the results are good are not, there is no guarantee they will be permanent. And if one’s spiritual understanding of the one reality as God, or Good, isn’t growing, the case can be left in a worse state than before, vulnerable to any new belief – regardless of the appearance of a physical improvement.
As Mrs. Eddy says, "The common custom of praying for the recovery of the sick finds help in blind belief, whereas help should come from enlightened understanding. Changes in belief may go on indefinitely, but they are the merchandise of human thought and not the outgrowth of divine Science."
When it comes to the healing prayer taught in Christian Science, Mrs. Eddy makes an important distinction between a blind belief - holding limited human thoughts about God - and the total yielding to divine Principle, to the Science of God and man, in the human understanding. Mrs. Eddy puts blind belief completely outside of the practice of Christian Science when she explains, “It is neither Science nor Truth which acts through blind belief, nor is it the human understanding of the divine healing Principle as manifested in Jesus, whose humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, - of man’s likeness to God and of man’s unity with Truth and Love.”
There we have Mary Baker Eddy’s statement of what constitutes the Christian Science practice of healing prayer, “the human understanding of the divine healing Principle as manifested in Jesus, whose humble prayers were deep and conscientious protests of Truth, - of man’s likeness to God and of man’s unity with Truth and Love.”
Jesus’ theology of the perfection and spirituality of man as the likeness to perfect Spirit who is God, and of man as inseparable from Truth and Love, heals. When one protests for, affirms with well-reasoned understanding, the truth of God and man, healing is the natural outcome. Health is the outward evidence of an inner truth. Prayer doesn’t change reality, or exchange one form of reality for another. It is the confirmation of Truth’s, God’s presence and the permanence of health in God’s creation. Healing prayer affirms what is real and true, and physical, mental, emotional and spiritual healing confirms the truth.
Jesus said, “To this end was I born… that I should bear witness unto the Truth.” (John 18:37)The same goes for each one of us. Healing is normal to the Christ. It is not a special talent or unique dispensation given to some and denied to others. Christian healing – Christian Science healing - is the natural confirmation of God’s presence and power – His Christ - here and now reflected in us.
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This post was published online by the Christian Sentinel and can now be read on the JSH online website.
I have practiced Christian Science professionally in
some form since 1979.
But my journey with
Christian Science started
in a Sunday school
where as a young child
I was taught the Scriptures and some simple basics
of Jesus' method of
scientific Christian healing.
A significant experience
at the age of twelve
opened my eyes to
the great potential
of this practice.
After impaling my foot
on a nail,
I prayed the way I had learned
in Sunday school.
the pain stopped
and healing began.
By the next morning the wound had disappeared completely.
the great potential
of Christian Science,
there would be no