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Prayer with ‘signs following’

From The Christian Science Journal - September 2, 2014

When I began studying Christian Science many years ago, I was unfamiliar with the Bible. Yet as I prayed with the weekly Bible Lessons in the Christian Science Quarterly I grew to love the Scriptures, especially the Gospels. Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to have heard Christ Jesus preach! Each Bible section is paired with passages from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. As I studied those passages, too, and began to read Science and Health from beginning to end, I thought how inspiring it must have been to hear Mrs. Eddy speak, or to have been a student in one of her classes.

In both the Scriptures and Mrs. Eddy’s writings there are so many accounts of healing. The book of Matthew notes that Jesus healed “all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (4:23). The Gospel of Mark also reports that Jesus’ disciples “went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following” (16:20). I love the idea of “signs following”: proofs of the power of God, demonstrating dominion over sickness or disease. If God did not create any inharmony—and He didn’t—then it can’t be part of our true being. Mrs. Eddy wrote that one part of the revelation of Christian Science is “the proof, by present demonstration, that the so-called miracles of Jesus did not specially belong to a dispensation now ended, but that they illustrated an ever-operative divine Principle” (Science and Health, p. 123). Recently I had an opportunity to see that “present demonstration” for myself.

My family was looking forward to hosting some weekend guests and meeting their one-year-old son. I was busy cleaning the house and making it “baby-proof,” putting away breakable items and little things he might be tempted to put in his mouth. Getting everything ready meant taking many trips up and down the stairs. The day before our guests were to arrive there was still much to do, and I was feeling a bit concerned that I would not check everything off my to-do list.

As I was climbing up our driveway to the mailbox, I suddenly felt a sharp pain on the bottom of my foot. I could not put any weight on that foot and had to hop over to a nearby lawn chair. No one was around to help me, nor did I have the Bible or Science and Health within reach, so I just began to pray, to be still and listen. The Bible speaks of a “still small voice” (I Kings 19:12); this voice of Truth comes to us every moment, assuring us of God’s ever-present love for His children. I love the story of creation at the very beginning of the Bible, which describes how God made man in His own image and likeness, like the reflection in a mirror, and that God’s creation is “very good” (Genesis 1:31). Mrs. Eddy includes seven synonyms in her definition of God in Science and Health: “Principle; Mind; Soul; Spirit; Life; Truth; Love” (p. 587). I prayed about each of these. My prayer started something like this:

I love the idea of “signs following”: proof of the power of God, demonstrating dominion over sickness or disease.

God, Principle, is the Lawgiver, causing the law of ever-present good to operate in my life. Since God fills all space, His law is everywhere and I cannot be separated from it. My day is filled with order.

God, Mind, is the only intelligence. There is only that one Mind, and, therefore, as Mind’s manifestation, I can be aware only of what God knows to be true about me. I could never be less than what He knows about me.

God, Love, surrounds me with tenderness, joy, and strength. I naturally reflect that Love, and my efforts over the past few days to get the house ready were a way of expressing unselfish love. They couldn’t result in any sense of stress or strain. This thought also reminded me of another passage that has helped me many times: Mrs. Eddy’s spiritual interpretation of the 23rd Psalm (see Science and Health, p. 578). This interpretation is filled with references to God as divine Love, caring for us as faithfully as a shepherd cares for his sheep. It concludes with a promise: “I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [Love] forever.”

As I prayed, it suddenly dawned on me that as a student of the Gospels I am, in a way, a disciple of Jesus; and as I learn more about Christian Science, I am also one of Mrs. Eddy’s students. This means that I can apply their teachings and expect “signs following.” 

With that thought I stood up and walked to the mailbox without any pain or discomfort. The problem had vanished, and the rest of our preparations were done with such joy and freedom. At one point I felt a twinge of pain from my foot, but I prayed with this statement from Science and Health: “In Christian Science there is never a retrograde step, never a return to positions outgrown” (p. 74). My prayers had been effective, and that step in my spiritual growth could not be reversed. There was no return of pain.

By the time our guests arrived, the house was in order—and my spiritual “house,” or consciousness, was bright and shining as well. Praying with the synonyms for God always brings fresh new views of reality to any situation, and a healing solution to whatever challenges we may be facing. How comforting to rest assured that I can apply what I’m learning about God and expect “signs following.”

Candace Lynch is a Christian Science practitioner living in Elsah, Illinois.

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