Take a lesson from Isaiah's playbook. Called by Hezekiah when an enemy army was advancing with intent to decimate a city, Isaiah prayed a prayer so significant, so powerful, that it merited two accounts in separate books of the Bible - II Kings and Isaiah - and with results so effective that they received a third mention in II Chronicles, chapter 32. Prayer stopped the deadly enemy cold.
At the crescendo of Isaiah's prayer was this thundering finale:
"Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the king of Assyria,
He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there,
nor come before it with shield, nor cast a bank against it.
By the way that he came, by the same shall he return,
and shall not come into this city, saith the Lord.
For I will defend this city, to save it, for mine own sake,
and for my servant David's sake."
(II Kings 19:32-34, Isaiah 37:33-35)
In its spiritual signification we can look at the king of Assyria not as a particular person in history, but as any thought or condition that bullies or threatens to wipe us out. Point by point Isaiah explains divine Love's protective power against four specific tactics of the enemy:
It shall not:
- Invade - "He shall not come in"
- Pervade - "nor shoot an arrow there"
- Resist - "nor come before it with shield"
- Persist - "nor cast a bank against it."
Long before the impending battle, Hezekiah battled the threats of the enemy. The enemy king sent a messenger to announce his plans to destroy the city. The intent was, of course, to undermine Hezekiah's confidence and increase his fear. Hezekiah was feeling defeated before the actual battle had begun. So when Isaiah came to his side and declared that God wouldn't allow it - that evil would not take the city - his message was like a good rain to thirsty soil.
The results of his prayer were immediately evident. And graphic.
"And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses."
I learned about Isaiah's prayer when I was suffering from a case of pneumonia that was taking me down fast. I felt invaded and pervaded by disease. The fact that I had been praying for healing for a considerable time and yet the symptoms worsened, was eating away at my spiritual resolve. I didn't understand this resistance to healing and the persistence of my suffering.
When I came across Isaiah's prayer, it almost seemed to arrive too late. The disease had already gotten in. The enemy was well entrenched. Or so I thought.
The following explanations from pages 426 and 427 of Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, were significant to my identifying the real enemy and understanding how to apply Isaiah's prayer to the case.
"When it is learned that disease cannot destroy life, and that mortals are not saved from sin or sickness by death, this understanding will quicken into newness of life. It will master either a desire to die or a dread of the grave, and thus destroy the great fear that besets mortal existence...
"The human concepts named matter, death, disease, sickness, and sin are all that can be destroyed...
"Death is but another phase of the dream that existence can be material. Nothing can interfere with the harmony of being nor end the existence of man in Science."
It wasn't too late to work with Isaiah's prayer. Here is a look into some of my reasoning:
- Fear of death cannot invade my being. I understand my Life to be God, Spirit, Soul, and that I reflect this life permanently.
- Fear cannot pervade me. Fear cannot find effective angles of attack or find in me any weak or vulnerable spot. I am the reflection of perfect, invulnerable Soul, God. I accept that I am Soul-created and Soul-maintained. All the elements of Soul's harmony are mine by reflection. Soul protects me through Her law of indefatigable harmony. I am forever safe.
- Fear of death cannot resist my prayers. Prayer is revealing what God, Life, is and does. Prayer is revealing that the fear isn't real. Death cannot touch - has never touched - Life. And divine Life is the law of my prayers, rendering my every thought of God effective in my life.
- Fear cannot persist. It cannot keep presenting new lines of attack because I see myself out of the battle. I know for certain that there is no fear in God, Life, Love. The battle with fear is not mine. Love conquers fear. The battle is God's, and it is already won.
As Isaiah saw regarding Hezekiah's enemy, so it was for mine. "By the way that he came" (from the nowhere of fear) "by the same shall he return (to the nothingness of fear).
The pneumonia was stopped dead in its tracks. The black cloud of fear that had threatened me with aggressive symptoms dissipated completely. I was well.
Don't be fooled into fighting an unreal enemy. The symptoms are a red herring. Your body doesn't hate you. The culprit is always fear. It's never too late - NEVER TOO LATE - to stop fear and disease cold.