Jesus promised that those who would follow his teachings would perform the same and even greater healing works than those that he did (see John 14:12). This promise is as true now as it was in Jesus’ time and applies to healing the different types of diseases facing humanity today.
Jesus continuously affirmed God’s pure love for man and all creation. And the truth he preached touched hearts, changed thought, and healed bodies. His prayers were bold protests against the report of the material senses, turning thought away from dietary laws and over-concern with the body (see Matthew 6:24, 25). His was the medicine of divine Mind.
Today there is an ever-increasing interest in examining the connection between mind and body. In recognition of the influence that mentality has on health, even some medical professionals are desiring a more spiritual approach to healing and health.
To a Christian Scientist, spiritual healing means not just praying to God, but also understanding the nature of God and man, and aligning one’s thinking with the one infinite, divine Mind for a permanent solution to illness. We learn in Christian Science that God is the only healer, and, consequently, the one divine Mind is man’s only medicine.
So how does that work?
Christian Science teaches, as stated in the first chapter of Genesis in the Bible, that God’s children are made in the image of God (see verses 26, 27). We read in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy that mortals are not that image. Mortals are the illusive opposite of what infinite Mind is realizing as its forever reflection. God’s children are as immortal as God. Establishing this spiritual fact is foundational to understanding how Christian Science prayer heals.
To bring healing, prayer requires such a devotion to God, such a sacrifice of a false sense of self, as to lift thought beyond a sensual, limited, human concept of both God and man, into a realm of understanding that perceives God and man strictly through the lens of Spirit. Supreme Being is recognized as everywhere forever, eternally loving, infinitely intelligent, and ever mindful of even the most infinitesimal details of His universe. And man is understood to be God’s exact and immediate likeness, coexistent though not coequal, yet endowed by God with His spiritual qualities. God and man are no longer seen as material, but entirely spiritual—God being infinite Mind, and man Mind’s perfect, infinite expression, the object of God’s love.
God’s children are as immortal as God.
To carry this theme further, Mrs. Eddy states: “God is seen only in that which reflects good, Life, Truth, Love—yea, which manifests all His attributes and power, even as the human likeness thrown upon the mirror repeats precisely the looks and actions of the object in front of it. All must be Mind and Mind’s ideas; since, according to natural science, God, Spirit, could not change its species and evolve matter” (Miscellaneous Writings 1883–1896, p. 23).
This is the precise point of dissimilarity between conventional medicine and Christian Science when treating illness or overturning laws of matter. Just as God, infinite Mind, is the sole creator of His wholly spiritual universe, including man, He is also in complete control of His universe and in perfect control of man’s entire being, including thoughts, feelings, and actions. This requires us to stand firm with this declaration and to resist any temptation to give thought, voice, or action to skepticism, hopelessness, doubt, or frustration, and to eliminate them with our God-given goodness.
So, prayerful treatment in Christian Science mentally affirms a perfect, spiritual sense of God and man. It doesn’t treat man in God’s image, because the real, spiritual man doesn’t need to be treated. Rather, Christian Science treatment specifically addresses the mortal belief of a physical or sinful condition as a false claim, an illusion, an empty imposition that has no might, no right, no reality.
Let me give an example. A few years ago I was faced with several aggressive symptoms that included severe weakness, extremely painful joints, and other alarming symptoms. This went on for several weeks. I lived alone and was bedridden some of the time. Though I made every effort to fulfill my duties, at moments I had to face down the fearful argument that I wasn’t up to the spiritual demand to free myself from this condition.
It became apparent to me that I was dealing entirely with a poisoning mental state, appearing as my own thought.
During that time, I needed and sought spiritual treatment from a Christian Science practitioner, one who heals strictly through prayer. The first practitioner I prayed with kept me focused on understanding and proving there is only one Mind, and this Mind knows only my perfection and lasting purpose. Divine Mind is the only thought-force and repels any erroneous suggestions attempting to define me as subject to a material body, pain, doubt, or fear. The practitioner daily affirmed my only true identity to be spiritual, dwelling in divine Mind, which holds me in a perfect light, and fulfilling Mind’s purpose. I gratefully responded with marked improvement.
After some time, I felt led to call a different Christian Science practitioner. This practitioner asked me to describe specifically the concerns, then confidently set about refuting each one as a counterfeit with no origin and no authority from God.
I felt armed with firm assurance that the all-powerful Truth I was embracing was neutralizing these erroneous assertions and reestablishing harmony. Soon I was feeling even better. During this time a passage from Mrs. Eddy’s writings stood out to me: “If Jesus suffered, as the Scriptures declare, it must have been from the mentality of others; since all suffering comes from mind, not from matter, and there could be no sin or suffering in the Mind which is God” (Unity of Good, p. 56).
It became even more apparent to me that I was dealing entirely with a poisoning mental state, appearing as my own thought. The more I let divine Mind prevail, as a loving, intelligent, all-powerful antidote, the steadier was my improvement. Eventually the pain dissipated, and all material evidence of the condition dwindled away, permanently.
I am so grateful for the spiritual knowing the practitioners did on my behalf. Around that time I was scheduled to teach a Primary class of instruction on Christian Science, and all the way up to the beginning day, there was a question as to my strength. However, with continued spiritual support, I was able to go forward with my class, with not even the slightest waver of stamina or conviction. I was free!
My healing came about solely through applying the absolute truths of Christian Science. No material means were ever desired or used. The confident trust in God’s healing presence that I gained through this experience has furthered my advancement as a spiritual seeker and has also enabled me to be more effective in my service to others.
As taught in Christian Science, and proved by Jesus, spiritual healing is a legitimate and effective means of health care and is available to all.
John Quincy Adams is a Christian Science practitioner and teacher in New York City. He’s also a member of the Christian Science Board of Lectureship.