Christian Science practitioners provide prayer upon request with the expectation that quick healing will follow. It is both a spiritual ministry and a professional practice.
In my practice, I’ve sometimes been asked to fix a monthly retainer fee in case the treatment should go on for a while. Of course, to such questions, I can only speak for myself. Each practitioner comes to his or her own conclusions regarding billing and the professional relationship with patients, working under the guidelines provided in the Manual of The Mother Church and Mary Baker Eddy’s other writings. But I consider taking a case on retainer to be inconsistent with my practice because it burdens a case with the assumption that prolonged treatment is necessary.
Christian Science prayer does not follow any medical treatment model. One disease is not more difficult, more time consuming, or more complicated than any other, to heal through prayer. Prayer moves away from symptom management to the healing Christ, the powerful message of health that God is always giving us. Spiritually clearer views of God and His healthy creation are always the subject of healing prayer. Symptoms of disease don’t dictate the prayer nor do they influence the treatment time. Spirituality, never time, is the condition for healing.
Health is an entirely spiritual phenomenon and is found to be permanent when sought through spiritual means. Mrs. Eddy indicates certain pitfalls of drawing conclusions about cases from symptoms. She writes: “Health is not a condition of matter, but of Mind; nor can the material senses bear reliable testimony on the subject of health. . . . Any conclusion pro or con, deduced from supposed sensation in matter or from matter’s supposed consciousness of health or disease, instead of reversing the testimony of the physical senses, confirms that testimony as legitimate and so leads to disease” (Science and Health, p. 120)
In the fourth chapter of Exodus, Moses illustrates that a focus on God in prayer does more toward healing than does a preoccupation with the fluctuating phenomena of material conditions. Moses prayed, listening for God’s voice to help him overcome fear. Suddenly his hand turned leprous. Did the alarming symptoms take over his prayer? No. He didn’t even pause to draw a conclusion about whether his case was better or worse. He simply listened and followed God’s direction, and both the aggressive symptoms and the original fear were healed.
My experience has shown that an understanding of God sought through prayer, coupled with the expectation that this understanding can be obtained immediately, speeds progress on cases. An entirely spiritual, God-centered focus gives a high expectation of healing and helps move a case beyond comfort care or coping with distracting symptoms. This produces better outcomes.
It is always a joy to pray for others. Christian Science practitioners are dedicated to giving all the care and attention necessary to prayer on each case. But as wonderful as it is to engage in this work, we stay poised to go off a case. To be “fired” because of healing is always the best news.