A blog reader asked why some healings through prayer take longer than others. I will respond from the heart and from my own experience, which is the only way I can see to answer such a sensitive, and often angst-filled, question. A few months back someone asked if I thought healing through prayer is going on as readily and rapidly as it did in Christ Jesus' day or even a hundred years ago. This prompted me to list for myself, on paper, every major healing I have had. In the end I had quite a number - from walking pneumonia to broken bones to a growth in one breast. In all, there were 53 major healing events listed. I left off the small stuff - the bouts of flu, or colds, or family arguments - that evaporated quickly after prayer. Although I suppose a healing of a bad cold in five minutes, for example, could rank as a fairly influential healing...
Reflecting on these experiences, I realize there are two ways one could tell their life-story. One is the history of the catastrophes encountered, large and small, and how they have been overcome. The other involves by tracing the thread of spiritual growth and revelations of God's goodness that have unfolded through daily experiences with prayer. I believe that what we focus on as our storyline speaks directly to this question of "Why is my healing taking so long?"
In every one of my personal healing experiences, prayer has brought about a perception shift. Healing prayer involves looking at life from a divine perspective and working out from this new point of view.
Prayer develops spiritual sense - the capacity we all possess to understand and see divine reality without the encumbrances of fear, pain or doubt. When one understands that what he sees and feels through spiritual sense is his actual state of being, consent occurs, evidence changes, and we call this change a healing.
To my sense, Paul gives a good explanation of what occurs in healing prayer: He says, "that ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness." (Ephesians 4:21-24)
However long or short the period of time for the shift, healing is never a mind game or magic event. The time required for a healing is also never problem-driven - that is to say, one problem is not inherently more difficult or time-consuming to heal than another. Healing is the result of a perception shift, spiritual growth and progress in putting what we know into practice - the three most natural things in life.
I had a longstanding relationship problem during which I worked with a number of practitioners to resolve the problem through prayer for a number of years. Then one day, when my thought was occupied elsewhere, the healing came. I was mad. Why now? Why was this healed on a day I had been praying about something else (in fact, praying for someone else)? Why hadn't my first prayers been enough? I posed these questions to the last practitioner I had worked with. She suggested I ask God and await an answer. Six months later, I knew why. It took that full six months for me to let go of my life-story as one long line of relationship troubles and to see that, in fact, my perspective had been steadily growing more spiritual, less self-centered, and my heart had been opening, more and more, to forgiveness and love. The subject of my prayers had very gently shifted from my problem to one of exploring what God really is and does. The day of my healing, I saw, felt, and accepted, God's total goodness and the fact that blessedness is the only true state of God's man. And this view apparently washed me clean of a lot of longstanding problems, the relationship issue included.
The healing didn't occur over time. It occurred out of time, or rather, when I took myself off the mortal, limited timeline of humanhood with its ups and downs, and consented to ever-present blessedness and the divine state of God's man.
The healings that have had the deepest impact on my life have brought with them some of the most significant life-lessons. Yes, many of these have taken time. But the time element fades when weighed against the spiritual growth and the increased capacity to help others. When Jesus' disciples struggled to heal a problem that had gone on a long time, Jesus healed it by rebuking the devilish, "faithless and perverse generation" of questions, "How long has this gone on?" "How long will this continue?" that weighed on the case. Then he spoke of the power of mustard seed faith. (See Matthew 17:14-21) Mustard seeds seem small and insignificant. To me, Jesus teaches us not to be distracted by the size or length of time - or any other mortal measure - of a problem. We are to get off the problem entirely and plant our prayer-seed in God's all-powerful present Christ. The message of Christ is that an understanding of God through prayer, and a life lived consistently with that prayer, moves mountains.
Christ Jesus was right. Prayer and fasting (persistence in daily living) does move mountains.
Speaking of Christ-healing, Mary Baker Eddy - the discoverer of Jesus' method of healing prayer - wrote from experience: "There is nothing difficult nor toilsome in this task, when the way is pointed out; but self-denial, sincerity, Christianity, and persistence alone win the prize, as they usually do in every department of life." (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p.462)
Don't be cornered by the clock or a mortal timeline. Don't let a problem be to you a fixed, stationary mountain. Don't think of your faith - and the power of your prayer - as too small. Your life-story and healing potential is infinitely greater than that. Pray. Persist. Grow. Express. You won't miss out on your healing. It is unfolding outside of time.
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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