Has as an attendee at your lectures ever asked you if you ever had a failure in healing, and why did that failure occur?
Yes, I was asked that at a recent lecture. And interestingly I had just had a case that taught me a valuable lesson. While visiting a family member, she had asked me to treat her for a migraine. I agreed to take the case, but I remained physically there with her in the same room as I tried to pray. Distracted and mesmerized by her suffering, praying was difficult as I focused more on her symptoms rather than God’s law as I prayed.
Effective healing prayer involves starting with the truth about God and His creation and working out from a spiritual premise, rather than starting with disease and the symptoms of disease and working up to a spiritual answer. (Read an article I recently had published on this important subject.) Although I felt great compassion and wanted to be helpful by remaining by her side, I was so drawn into the problem that my prayer treatment never got off the ground, and I failed to heal the case.
Had I simply left the room, I might have had a better possibility of treating from the right basis. But my personal sense of attachment to the patient held me there, kept me floundering over the fluctuating phenomena of material symptoms, and rendered my prayers quite ineffective.
Under the heading of “Steadfast and calm trust,” Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy offers helpful instruction for effective healing prayer, “When the illusion of sickness or sin tempts you, cling steadfastly to God and His idea. Allow nothing but His likeness to abide in your thought. Let neither fear nor doubt overshadow your clear sense and calm trust, that the recognition of life harmonious — as Life eternally is — can destroy any painful sense of, or belief in, that which Life is not. Let Christian Science, instead of corporeal sense, support your understanding of being, and this understanding will supplant error with Truth, replace mortality with immortality, and silence discord with harmony." (495)
This instruction was helpful two weeks later when I received a call from this same family member asking me to heal her of another physical problem. Aware that I had been tripped up by a sympathetic focus on symptoms, I was alert to turn and cling steadfastly to the truth of God and of God's perfect image and likeness. This time my prayer was quick, incisive, inspired, full of authority, and overflowing with a pure faith and confidence in good as the only power. I felt the power and presence of Christ – the true idea of God and man – wrapping us both in God’s care. And she was quickly healed.
The problem in the first case wasn’t my physical proximity so much as my lack of spiritual focus. I needed to do what was necessary to get and to keep that spiritual focus on God and His law. This was where I failed. When accepting a case to heal, practitioners should pray for themselves that no sin (no distraction, personal sense, fatigue, pity, human will, personal opinions, dishonesty, pride, ignorance, malice, etc) enter into and disrupt their cases through their own thoughts and lives. Patients deserve the best, most effective, care that we can give. I am grateful for the lesson.
Not surprisingly, a quick search through my blog posts shows I have written a lot on the subject of getting unstuck when a case isn't being healed. For further thought on the subject, you may wish to read one or more of these:
During "Christian Science. What it is and how it heals" webinars, some questions I get to and others don't catch my attention until the hour is past. This "What say you?" series will address some of the leftover questions. These remarks are not meant to be exhaustive, but should merely serve as thought-starters for your own further research. One way to think more deeply about these questions is to ask yourself: "How might I answer?"
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