The phone rang at 4:30 in the morning. On the other end was a panicked mother who said that her daughter, clear across town, was standing at the kitchen sink with a bottle of sleeping pills in her hand. She had called her mom to say goodbye permanently.
The mom went on to ask if I would pray. (I was brand new at the healing practice of Christian Science, and she had chosen Christian Science treatment to help her deal with this problem.) I assured her I would and hung up the phone.
Then something akin to terror set in. I was so groggy from being awakened that I didn’t think to ask the woman for her name or phone number. “What if my prayers aren’t effective? What if the daughter goes through with her plan?” The “what ifs?” pounded me. In those days there wasn’t caller ID, and there was no way I could call back. I felt stuck. And scared.
“God, I need You now, please” was my first prayer. And sure enough, God was indeed there. Though it took about four hours for the fear to completely lift, what I learned during that time of earnest prayer has been a great help to me in the intervening decades of public practice.
First off, divine Love assured me that the woman standing at the sink was God’s very loved daughter, and God would keep her safe. She wasn’t my responsibility, but God’s. I started to breathe again. This comforting promise from the Bible—“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:32)—was very helpful. It makes clear that it isn’t our knowing that makes us free, but the truth we know that actually does the healing—the truth about God and His perfect, spiritual creation, man.
With some clear guidance from divine Mind, I was settling down. My job in prayer was to “know the truth.” The spiritual fact or truth that came to me was that God is omnipresent. That means Life, another name for God, is the only presence, anywhere. Life fills infinity, eternity. No one could possibly get out of infinite Life, for as the Bible says, “In him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring” (Acts 17:28). A comforting line from a hymn further emphasizes this point: “None can beyond Thy omnipresence stray” (Violet Hay, Christian Science Hymnal, No. 66, © CSBD).
The truths kept coming until I was confident that all was well. That time of prayer, in which my fear gave way to confidence that God was really in charge of His creation, has been a landmark and an example for me of what a Christian Science practitioner does when called upon for help.
We can learn to trust God, the all-active power of good, as the one sovereign cause, bestowing
all harmony—everywhere, always.
In this case, even before I could pray for the one in trouble, my fear had to be addressed first. Then after I did that, the reassuring truths flowed into my thought until I knew, without a doubt, that the situation was resolved. That’s when I knew the prayerful work was done. But, that day went by, and I didn’t hear from the mother. Every time I thought of the situation, I affirmed that this prayer that came straight from God was effective. Five days later, I heard that within ten minutes of the call for help, the daughter had thrown the pills away and gone back to bed. In fact, the situation was so completely healed that the mom didn’t even think about it for five days.
As my practice of Christian Science healing has unfolded over the years, there have been other moments when I wondered if my understanding of God was sufficient to meet a certain case. Here are some other ideas that have been helpful in giving me the confidence needed to move forward with a case.
It has been clarifying to redefine exactly what the practice of Christian Science is. For me, it is the privilege of being asked to bear witness to what God knows and does, and in doing so, the healing power of God is manifest in our lives.
How to do this? First we follow an important instruction Mary Baker Eddy offers in her primary book, which is the textbook used, along with the Bible, in the practice of Christian Science healing. She writes, “Always begin your treatment by allaying the fear of patients” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 411). Of course, before the practitioner can successfully remove the patient’s fear, he or she needs to be free of fear.
One way I find helpful in dealing with fear is to ask the question, “God, You are there; what do You see?” The answer to that question, which unfolds directly from Mind, puts thought in a perfect position to yield up the belief of something unwonderful. The “top down” (God-inspired) view, as opposed to the “bottom up” (physical senses) approach, gives us a glorious view of the infinite, where the radiant reality of the Divine fills consciousness. We see the fullness and everywhereness of good, which rules out anything unlike perfection. When that takes place, fear loses its foothold.
The master healer, Christ Jesus, gave us an insight into successful practice when he said to his disciples, “The Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works” (John 14:10). We too can learn to trust God, the all-active power of good, as the one sovereign cause, bestowing all harmony—everywhere, always. That is what we recognize in our prayers. That realization brings about conformity of the situation to the good that we know really exists.
A Christian Science practitioner finds reassurance from the Bible where Jesus said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44). We do trust that Mind governs everything about our practice—the practitioner, the patient, the healing truths. After all, all true communication and consciousness exist only within Mind.
Another promise that is helpful to the practitioner is another statement from our Master: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Each contact between practitioner and patient is the promise of the very presence of the Christ with them. Where the presence of Christ is recognized, healing happens.
In our practice of Christian Science, daily inspiration flows to us when we turn our thought humbly and receptively to God. In reverent communion with the divine Mind, we find the truths we need, feel the power of the Divine, and learn to trust God more and more.
For me, the bottom line in having the confidence of success in the healing practice is to know that whatever the call for help is about, whoever is making the call, God will always be right there, being all that God is—the Only, the All, the loving presence and power. There really is nothing outside of All! Understanding and trusting this results in healing.
In order to pray aright, we must enter into the closet and shut the door. We must close the lips and silence the material senses. In the quiet sanctuary of earnest longings, we must deny
sin and plead God’s allness.
Mary Baker Eddy
Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 15