The phone rang, and it was a good friend. She wanted to tell me that she had been healed. She said she was calling all the Christian Science practitioners who had helped her over several years as she prayed about a persistent physical condition, because she was so grateful for each step of the healing. The call was full of joy and gratitude. And, as I think about this call some time later, I’m struck by the fact that all of my friend’s time praying—even times of struggle or tears—wasn’t being remembered as a series of failures or stalemates or inadequate efforts. She was seeing times of great value and meaning and progress.
Christian Scientists “strive to demonstrate by [their] practice, that Christian Science heals the sick quickly and wholly” (Mary Baker Eddy, Church Manual, p. 92)—and healing often does happen quickly in Christian Science. But there may also be times when we need to pray over a longer period. We love the joy and light of quick healings. But what about the not-so-quick ones? Does the time praying in these cases represent less successful prayers? Do we think of these times as dark times?
Our answer may depend on what we’re looking at. If we’re only looking at matter to gauge success, our conclusion may be that our prayers are abstract, irrelevant, or unlikely to succeed. This is because material sense (which observes the situation through the physical senses) can’t see spiritual activity and may assume that nothing is happening.