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)
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: