One of the things I cherish most about prayer in Christian Science is the stillness and quiet confidence in God’s omnipresent care in the face of emergencies or suffering. An early example in my life took place when I was ten years old.
One summer evening we were all sitting at the table in our shorts as my mother served a favorite dinner—chicken and dumplings. Suddenly she tripped, spilling the bubbling liquid on my bare leg. Immediately she began to wipe it off, but it hurt. I just wanted to turn my thought away from the body and be alone with God, because I had seen many times how quickly prayer heals pain. So I went into the living room and declared out loud, “There is no sensation in matter!”
I was recalling a story Mary Baker Eddy related of a little girl who had badly wounded her finger but had a very quick healing because she rejoiced, “ ‘There is no sensation in matter’ ” (Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 237). I was also affirming that I was spiritual because I reflected God, Spirit—and there was no pain in Spirit.
The pain immediately went away, and I returned to the table. But I have to tell you what meant the most to me. My parents immediately became quiet, turning to God in prayer and affirming that accidents are impossible under God’s harmonious government. I knew that whenever my parents were quiet and praying, good things always happened, and this time was no exception. We finished our dinner joyously and never looked at my leg.
The next day we left on a trip, driving from Chicago to California. When I finally remembered what had happened the night before, I looked at my legs but couldn’t tell which one had had the boiling hot liquid poured on it. There was not even a red mark!
When people are suffering, perhaps what they most yearn for is the tender assurance of God’s unfailing love and care for them. Mrs. Eddy writes, “The poor suffering heart needs its rightful nutriment, such as peace, patience in tribulation, and a priceless sense of the dear Father’s loving-kindness” (Science and Health, pp. 365–366).
However, sometimes in our concern for each other, tender compassion can slip into fearful and anxious pity. Negative qualities like that actually undermine healing. Science and Health explains, “Neither sympathy nor society should ever tempt us to cherish error in any form, and certainly we should not be error’s advocate” (pp. 153–154). Fearful sympathy denies God’s harmonious government. Instead, we need to provide those who are suffering with the comforting thought that God’s tender Father-Mother love eliminates pain and suffering.
The chapter titled “Prayer” in Science and Health explains that Jesus’ command to enter into our closet and close the door when we are praying is referring to our mental closet, where we need to close out the physical senses, silencing fear and human opinions, and instead acknowledge the ever-presence of divine Love, who governs all in unwavering harmony (see pp. 14–15). My mom and dad taught us to pray in this way from the time we were very little, and I feel it is the greatest gift they could ever have given us.
Christine Jenks Driessen
New York, New York, US
This is adapted from a testimony originally posted during The Mother Church’s online Wednesday testimony meeting.
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