The Healing Prayer of Christian Science
Lela May Aultman, C.S., of
Member of the Board of Lectureship of The Mother Church,
The First Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston, Massachusetts
Joy, inspiration, and healing are
the natural results of scientific prayer to God, Lela May Aultman,
C.S., of Denver, said in a Christian Science lecture in
Prayer brings thought into conformity with the spiritual fact of God's unchanging goodness and the permanence of His blessings, - of health, joy, and usefulness, Miss Aultman declared.
She spoke in the Plymouth Theatre under the auspices of The Mother Church, The First
Church of Christ, Scientist, in
"When we are healed through Christian Science, we are not only healthy physically but we have a healthy spiritual concept of our oneness with God, we have healthy morals, healthy dispositions, healthy relations with our fellowmen," she stated.
Miss Aultman was introduced by Theodore Wallach, C.S., First Reader of The Mother Church.
All Hope for Spiritual Blessing
The lecturer spoke substantially as follows:
Everyone who comes to hear a lecture on Christian Science has hope in his heart, a hope, that the spiritual truth he hears will meet his need for healing or newness of inspiration or comfort. What is the basis for this hope? Surely the expectation of blessing is the result of his having seen the multiplying evidence that an understanding of the theology of Christian Science is able to meet the needs of mankind.
True theology is knowledge of God and an understanding of God underlies all of the teaching and demonstration of Christian Science.
Christian Science is not a theory or a mere philosophical study. Its teaching concerning God and man is concrete and practical. It reveals God to us as Principle, as Mind, Soul, Spirit, Life, Truth and Love.
Why is it of value to us to know that God is Mind? Because God is infinite; and infinite, divine Mind must be all-wise and all-knowing. God, or Mind, is the creator of the universe, including man. And since God is good, His creation is necessarily good, for it expresses the nature of the Mind which conceived it. Divine Mind governs and controls His own universe. Then evil has no influence and no control. God's government is the rule of flawless intelligence, which never fails to do all things well.
God, or Mind, is just. Only omniscience can be completely just, so we look to the all-knowing God, not to mortals, for justice; and, because we know God is supreme, we behold His equity operating in all our relationships and are freed from the belief that human opinion, ignorance or malice can rob us of justice.
The all-knowing Mind never makes a mistake. What a comfort it is to us to contemplate our real selfhood and to realize that as God's creation, faithful representatives of His nature, we, too, are incapable of making a mistake.
On the walls of many Christian Science churches you will find the quotation from John which tells us: "God is love." (I John 4:8). This name for God is very dear to students of Christian Science, and they like to be reminded of it. Divine Love is the Father and Mother of man. Love's fatherhood strengthens, supports and provides for His children. Love's motherhood cherishes, comforts, protects, enlightens and guides God's creation. It is because we know God to be Love that we trust Him to take care of His own children, and we know it is His will that man should have every good gift and every blessing. God's love is changeless, therefore His gifts of health, freedom, security and joy are as dependable and continuous as the divine Love which gives them.
God Created Man in His Own Image
Scholars have written many books which try to answer the question, What is man? But He still remains a mystery to everyone who looks for the answer in matter. There is nothing to be learned from an X-ray picture of a material body or a chemical analysis of its elements, which could possibly explain the grandeur and nobility of God's man, - his intelligence, spiritual-mindedness and native goodness.
The nature of man has been plainly written in the Bible all through the centuries when men have been searching for it vainly in physiology and psychology. We read in the first chapter of Genesis that God created man in His own image and likeness, and beholding His creation, He declared it to be "very good."
How vital it is then, for us to understand God, if we are to know the nature of man, created in His image. Man is intelligent, supplied with every idea he needs because he is the image and likeness of God, who is Mind. He is gentle, kind, patient, generous, since he expresses God, who is Love. He has the changeless perfection of Truth. Because he reflects God, who is Principle, he is able always to think and act rightly, and his life is governed, not by chance, but by divine law, which is invariably good. Man, governed by Principle is always accurate, dependable, orderly.
It was Jesus' understanding of God and man which gave him the power to fulfill his
holy mission. He is given the title Christ Jesus because, of all men, he understood the Christ, or Truth, most perfectly; lived the Christ most consistently; and taught the Christ so that others could understand it and be blessed.
We realize, however, that the
Christ, the manifestation of God to human consciousness, did not
come into existence on the day when Jesus was born in
Anyone who has come to understand and love God through a study of the Bible in connection with the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, recognizes the spirituality of the woman through whom this enlightenment has been made possible. One who has been healed by applying the law of God as taught in Christian Science, is sure to see that the Discoverer of Christian Science must have understood God's law clearly and practically, in order to make it plain to others. Those who know something of Mrs. Eddy's work of spiritual healing see in it such similarity to the inspired healings of Jesus, that they realize she must have known and applied the same spiritual truth which he understood.
Jesus Taught Others How to Heal
Jesus not only accomplished healing himself, but he was able to teach others how to heal. When Mrs. Eddy was suffering from an injury which her doctor expected to prove fatal, it was her study of the Bible account of one of Jesus' healings which so illumined her thought that she was instantly healed.
Fortunately for the world, Mrs. Eddy's liberation from the sentence of death, did not tempt her to stop her search for Truth. Her great love for mankind urged her to understand the Bible so thoroughly that she could share with everyone the light which had brought her own healing. For three years she dedicated her life completely to a study of the Bible, and all of her writings on Christian Science are based on her spiritual understanding of the Scriptures. Her discovery in turn so illumines the Bible that students of Christian Science love that great book, turn to it for help, and study it daily in connection with her book, "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," which is the textbook of Christian Science. It is the King James Version of the Bible which Christian Scientists study each day, and which is read in every service in a Christian Science church.
Mrs. Eddy's teaching follows faithfully Jesus' teaching, her works prove that she was putting into practice the same divine law which he had understood. And she, too, was able to impart this truth to others so that they could heal.
I want to tell you of one of the countless healings accomplished by the students of her
books. A Christian Scientist in a
She realized that, although something seemed to have happened to a material car and a material body, no evil had touched her, because she was not in matter. She knew herself to be the image and likeness of God, who is perfect and changeless.
In two weeks she was up, and in less than three weeks she was able to introduce a Christian Science lecturer for her church.
A short time afterward when, for some reason, she had to have a physical examination, the doctor told her she had had a broken arm, one leg had been broken in two places; she had had two broken ribs, a broken bone in her foot and one in her forehead. The doctor knew she had had only Christian Science treatment, and he told her he had never seen more perfectly set bones,
One thing about this healing interested me particularly. We often feel it is easier to
work out such a problem if the case is protected from publicity. But in this case the patient had no privacy whatever. The entire community was aware of the incident, busily discussing it and critical of the woman for being so foolish as to trust her life to spiritual means of healing. Nevertheless she was healed quickly and permanently, which proves that the spiritual understanding and complete trust in God, which Christian Science imparts, are so powerful that no amount of human disbelief can rob them of their fruition.
The Bible tells us of an occasion
when Paul had clear proof of the same divine fact. He was shipwrecked on the
If you are a new student of Christian Science, have you felt as you began to read the Bible and the Christian Science textbook, that there is so very much to learn! Do you wonder whether you can apply this teaching yourself and accomplish the healings which it promises? Indeed you can! If you will turn to the last pages of Science and Health, you will find a whole chapter devoted to testimonies of healing. All of these healings were†† accomplished solely through the study of Science and Health, and many of the people were making their first acquaintance with Christian Science.
Begin to put into practice the first simple truths which you understand. Our textbook tells us that Truth is so powerful that even a grain of Christian Science accomplishes wonders. The youngest children in the Christian Science Sunday School begin to apply its teaching to work out their daily problems, and thus they grow in spiritual strength and conviction.
Sunday-School Teaching Proved
When I was a child just beginning to attend the Christian Science Sunday School, I was an inveterate keeper of diaries; and one thing I enjoyed most in reading them after I was grown, was the record of the early days of my study of Christian Science. I recall the account written there of the first healing accomplished through applying my Sunday School teaching. I was spending the winter with an aunt and uncle and helping to take care of their little son. One day he found some baby chickens in their garden, and he picked up two of them with such vigorous affection that one was badly injured. My aunt brought it into the house and put it near the warm stove. She said it could not live because one leg had been broken and it had been choked. I had to go on an errand, and as I walked along I thought of her prophecy, and it occurred to me that it did not agree with what I had been taught in Sunday School. At that point in my study just two things were clear to me - that God had made everything that was made, and all that He made was good. So, clearly, evil could not be real. Even a child's conviction of this truth was sufficient. When I returned to the house the baby chicken was healed and was running around the garden freely. Spiritual healing was so new to me that when I wrote of the experience in my diary that day, I added, "I think this may be what you call a Christian Science demonstration."
Today there are many systems which promise to heal the physical body. But what is real healing? Mrs. Eddy tells us that "The question, What is Truth, is answered by demonstration, - by healing both disease and sin; and this demonstration shows that Christian healing confers the most health and makes the best men." (Science and Health p. viii:12-13)
What is meant by the assertion that it confers the "most health"? Is there more to health than a comfortable material body?
The Christian Scientist deals with the patient's thought, rather than with the material body, even though the problem may appear to be a physical ailment. He realizes that the patient's thought and body are not two separate things to deal with, but they actually are one, for every condition of the patient's body simply expresses what is in his thinking.
A man's thought has the same relation to his body which a motion-picture film has to the image thrown on the screen. Nothing can appear on the screen which does not originate in the film. If you see something which is ugly or unpleasant on the screen, you cut it out of the film. You do not go to the screen and attempt to cut out part of it, or paint over it. When once the scene is cut out of the film, you have no fear that it will ever again show on the screen. Even so, whatever appears in thought seems to manifest itself on the body, and the correction of an erroneous physical condition must begin with the spiritual correction of thought.
Spiritualized Thought Heals Body
The fact that there is a mental basis for physical ills is accepted even by psychosomatic medicine. But its diagnosis, which leaves the patient believing he has a diseased mentality, and that both the sick mind and sick body are real, does not free him. Medical methods still attempt to heal such a case by doctoring the material body. Psychiatrists make an effort to replace faulty human thought with another kind of human thought, often even using hypnotism to accomplish this, and thereby weakening the patient's mentality. Our textbook tells us that "the body improves under the same regimen which spiritualizes the thought." (Science and Health, p. 370: 5-6) This is quite different from merely changing one type of material thinking to another - equally material.
The healing work of Christian Science follows faithfully the method of healing taught and practiced by Christ Jesus. He healed without drugs, surgery or other material remedies. He did not diagnose disease as though it had been in matter, nor did he teach that God sent sickness to punish His children. Since Jesus was God's representative, and his life was clearly the fulfillment of his Father's will, the fact that he freed men from bondage of sickness indicates that it is health, and not sickness, which is obedient to the will of God. So, by Jesus' example, we know that it is right to heal the sick, and that they can be healed spiritually without the use of material medicine or surgery.
A young woman I know has had Christian Science Sunday-School teaching throughout her childhood. When she reached the summer before she was to enter college, she accepted a position as counselor in a camp for children. That summer there was an epidemic of polio in that part of the country, which was so severe that it caused great concern to camp owners.
On the last day of the summer season in that camp, a child suffered an attack of polio. A doctor from a nearby town verified the diagnosis and an ambulance took the young child to a large city some distance away.
Almost hysterical fear prevailed at the camp; but the young Christian Scientist did not share in the fear. She went to her cabin and began to study the Christian Science Bible Lesson for that week, which was on the subject of Mind. She found her faith greatly strengthened by what it taught of the power of the one divine Mind to govern the universe, and she found several references which made plain to her the powerlessness and unreality of fear. She realized that divine Love alone is power, and that its allness makes any force of evil impossible.
She worked in this way for some time, and then returned to the lodge where the other counselors were still discussing the situation. The telephone rang and the counselor who had accompanied the young child in the ambulance reported that all was well. Although the little girl had suffered acutely on the early part of the journey, before they reached the hospital she was healed. She was given every conceivable test. The doctors even kept her in the hospital for two weeks searching for evidences of the disease, but it had been completely destroyed, and no further cases resulted among the campers who had been with this child.
Use of Godís Law Destroys Fear
The young Christian Scientist had not, of course, treated the child, since she had not been asked to take the case. She had known the truth about man, who is created in God's likeness. She realized that fear seems to cause sickness and the application of God's law of love had destroyed the fear, and with it the disease which had resulted from it.
It is the healing of sickness which attracts many people to Christian Science. But this is not the whole of Christian Science healing, or even its primary purpose. The Christian Science textbook tells us that now, as in Jesus' time, "signs and wonders are wrought in the metaphysical healing of physical disease; but these signs are only to demonstrate its divine origin, - to attest the reality of the higher mission of the Christ-power to take away the sins of the world.'' (Science and Health, p. 150:12)
Greed, lust for power, envy and cruelty, wherever expressed, even in your thought or mine, would contribute to war. Everyone who is conquering such tendencies is helping to bring peace to the world. We do not ignore the efforts of malice and tyranny to enslave or destroy men, but we know the most effective way of overthrowing these enemies is to live so righteously, to love so generously, and to obey God so sincerely, that we help good to outweigh evil in our world.
When one is earnestly striving to accomplish his own healing through Christian Science, he often examines his life to discern whether there is some way in which he can be more obedient to God's demands. When we turn the searchlight of Truth on our own behavior it is important that we not be weighed down with self-condemnation. If you were a school teacher helping a child to correct a mistake on his arithmetic paper, you would not say to him: "You are going to be identified with this mistake all through life." On the contrary, you would immediately show him the correct way to solve his problem, and thus to disassociate himself permanently from the mistake. Be as loving and intelligent in dealing with your own self-correction.
In her book, The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany, Mrs. Eddy counsels us: "Ofttimes examine yourselves, and see if there be found anywhere a deterrent of Truth and Love, and 'Hold fast that which is good.' " (The First Church of Christ, Scientist, and Miscellany,† p. 128:32) Note that she does not say - hold fast to the evil you have found, - but "hold fast that which is good." Identify yourself so completely with the qualities of spiritual grace and purity, of nobility and trustworthiness, that you will live them consistently. When you do this you need no longer concern yourself with the mistake for it will not even seem to exist.
Prayers Acknowledge Godís Presence
It is ignorance of God which makes men afraid, since to know God is to trust Him completely. It is ignorance of the spiritual nobility of man's nature which results in sin;
and when a man becomes acquainted with his true selfhood and learns to love and respect his own spirituality, God's reflection, he is satisfied with good, and evil has no attraction for him.
We see then how it is that "Christian healing confers the most health and makes the best men." When we are healed through Christian Science, we are not only healthy physically but we have a healthy spiritual concept of our oneness with God, we have healthy morals, healthy dispositions, healthy relations with our fellowmen.
How is Christian Science healing accomplished? Through prayer. The first chapter in Science and Health is on the subject of prayer, and anyone who studies it will have some understanding of what constitutes Christian Science treatment.
One of my friends tells of a time when he and another young man were boarding with the family of a Protestant minister. In this home it was customary to have morning prayers which included the entire household, and each individual was expected to take his turn in leading the prayer. My friend had been brought up to pray, so he felt safe about his own assignment, but his companion was completely at a loss about what he would say. So his friend came to his rescue and dictated a short prayer which the young man wrote on the cuff of his shirt. When the morning came for him to lead the prayer, he realized to his horror, that he had changed his shirt. That left him quite prayerless! If we were dependent upon written formulas for our prayers, we, too, would feel helpless, for those material props might at any time fail us.
How does Christian Science teach us to pray? It reveals to us that God is already all-knowing and that He has already blessed His children abundantly. So prayer is not for the purpose of acquainting God with conditions, or pleading for His blessing. Our prayers are for our own enlightenment. They are an acknowledgment of God's presence with us, of His great love and its protective care. Prayer is beholding the good which is already true; it brings our thoughts into conformity with the fact of a good God and His good creation, and the permanence of His blessings, - of health, joy and usefulness. When our thoughts are filled with these inspired truths, there is no room in them for fears and limitations, and we are freed from the discords these phases of false thinking produce in human affairs.
Paul counseled us to "pray without ceasing," (I Thessalonians ) and his demand includes instruction to show us how to fulfill it, for he writes: "Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks." (I Thessalonians 5:17,18) We can obey this command when we understand prayer as Christian Science teaches it. We can thank God throughout our days. We can behold evidences of His love in every experience. We can see man in His image. We can acknowledge our own Godlike qualities and live them consistently. This is praying without ceasing.
May I summarize briefly: Christian Science treatment heals mortal misconceptions;
it does not heal spiritual man, for he needs no healing. His origin is divine Mind. He expresses the exact nature of his perfect creator and therefore remains perfect throughout eternity.
When we pray as Christian Science teaches us to pray, we are not attempting to make man whole, for God has already done that; we are not striving to make man healthy or happy, for his divine creator has given him lasting health and joy. In our prayers we are beholding what is already true, - the perfection of God and man, which is the spiritual fact of being form everlasting to everlasting.
As part of the conclusion at every Sunday service in the Christian Science Church, we hear John's words: "Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God . . ." (I John 3:1). You are the son of God. Acknowledge and enjoy the glory of your Father's goodness, and of your true selfhood as man, the expression of God's being.
[Published in The Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 18, 1955, under the headline "Healing Prayer of Christian Science Described at Lecture".]