Can I pray for my friends who aren’t Christian Scientists?

Originally appeared online in the teen series Q&A -  April 16, 2024.

Q: How can I help my friends who aren’t Christian Scientists when they have a problem? Can I pray even if they haven’t asked me to?

A: I was on a weekend trip with some childhood friends when one mentioned that she was experiencing recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs) and wanted to stop by the store to pick up medicine. As we drove, I remembered an experience I’d had in college.

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One day during my freshman year, I felt the symptoms of what seemed like a UTI coming on. I knew I could pray about this because I’d experienced Christian Science healing before and knew the effectiveness of turning to God for help. I called my mom, and she assured me that we could pray together.

While praying and looking up some spiritual ideas for inspiration, I came across a sentence in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures that helped me a lot. It says, “Harmony in man is as real and immortal as in music” (Mary Baker Eddy, p. 276). 

Sitting in the car that day with my friends, I had no intention of imposing my beliefs on them. But I did find myself thinking of my own healing.

I thought about songs that I like and how they’re pleasant and peaceful. If those songs weren’t recorded, produced, or performed well, they wouldn’t feel right, because it’s natural for music to be harmonious. I thought about how that applied to me. I’d learned from studying Christian Science that God is Spirit and that my identity is the expression of God. So, my identity is wholly spiritual. Likewise, since God is good, as God’s expression, I’m good and can experience only goodness. I also express harmony and peace because God is the source of those qualities. This brought me comfort. I continued praying with these ideas for a few days until I was completely healed. I’ve never experienced UTI symptoms again.

Sitting in the car that day with my friends, I had no intention of imposing my beliefs on them. But I found myself thinking of my own healing, and that same quote came to mind. In college, I’d applied the word man in the statement just to myself. But now, having studied Christian Science a little more deeply, I understood that man is actually an inclusive term meaning all of God’s children, including my friend. 

I wasn’t trying to pray for her, because she hadn’t asked me to. I was just thinking about that quote during our car ride and understanding it a bit more. We were soon at our next destination, and my friend told us we could stop at the pharmacy afterward.

When we got back in the car about an hour later, my friend said she was “weirdly, feeling better,” so we should wait a little longer before taking our pharmacy detour. As the day went on, she didn’t mention going to get medicine again. 

At the end of the day, I asked if she still needed to make a stop. She told me the pain had gone away, and I realized she’d had a healing. I silently gave gratitude to God. I also realized later that because I’d learned I didn’t have to feel any bodily discomfort, I knew that she didn’t have to feel any either because she too was created to express harmony.

Before I went to sleep that night, I thanked God again, but I felt a little strange that I hadn’t mentioned or explained to my friend what had happened from my perspective. I knew, though, that if it was right to share, the opportunity would arise naturally.

On the long car ride home, the topic of religion came up, and I freely shared about Christian Science and what I’d been thinking about the day before. I even explained that I thought my friend had had a healing. She was surprised—but agreed! And she said she was grateful to hear about what I’d been thinking.

I’m so grateful for this experience for many reasons. It proved to me that prayer is never about changing someone else’s thoughts about a situation but about being aware of how I’m thinking about things and praying to have my own thoughts uplifted. Sometimes when praying, it’s tempting to ask for a situation to be changed. But prayer is really about aligning our thoughts with what we know is true about God and letting that correct view shape how we’re seeing ourselves and others. If I’m seeing or experiencing anything other than God, good, I know there is something that I can do about it and that can help both me and those around me. 

I also learned that we can always help our friends, even if they don’t ask us to pray for them. This experience wasn’t about attempting to fix my friend. It was an opportunity to understand and demonstrate Christian Science healing more fully and to share with my friends something that’s very special to me. When we open our hearts to God, we’ll know the best way to do that.

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