Why practice Christian Science?
A curious neighbor asked me one day, “Why do you practice Christian Science?” I told him there were many reasons I practice Christian Science, but one in particular was its ability to help me find healing through prayer.
In Christian Science, prayer is taken very seriously. It is meant to be more than just nice-sounding words, well-choreographed spiritual truths, positive thinking, hoping for the best, or pleading to God for help. It is about discovering the spiritual reality that enables us to demonstrate the power of God, divine Love, to heal disease, conquer sin, and dissolve conflict. It shows that God is an ever-present help and that healing through spiritual means, like Jesus Christ taught and proved, is possible today.
In the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy, the discoverer of Christian Science, wrote: “Our Master’s first article of faith propounded to his students was healing, and he proved his faith by his works. The ancient Christians were healers” (pp. 145–146).
Christian Science explains the Science behind Christ Jesus’ words and works, teaching its adherents to be healers, which is what Jesus expected of his followers. It shows how spiritual truth is relevant to the human need and can be relied upon to overcome evil or discord of any kind.
As Jesus said, those who follow his teachings and example will “know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32, New Living Translation). This is a rule for spiritual healing that is practiced in Christian Science as a way of life, leading not only to moral reform, but to physical healing as well.
Spiritual truth is relevant to the human need and can be relied upon to overcome discord.
Over the decades of my lifetime, I have experienced dozens of physical healings without the use of drugs or medicine by putting the truths of Christian Science into practice. These healings have come from glimpsing more of the spiritual reality of God as Love and of man as His harmonious and complete spiritual creation.
For instance, when I began playing tennis years ago, I soon developed pain in my elbow, which continued to worsen over time. Though I had heard that there were drugs to help people cope with this particular issue, I knew from my study of Christian Science that I could be healed through prayer alone. So I put into practice what I had learned about prayer-based healing from my study of Christian Science.
One of the fundamental truths found in the Bible is that man is made in the likeness of God (see Genesis 1:26, 27). This likeness is not a temporal physical body that originates in an ovum and is later laid in a grave. It’s an eternal spiritual individuality that is forever whole and perfect in divine Spirit. This individuality existed before time began and will remain long after the last eulogy is spoken. We are forever at one with Christ and eternally sustained by God.
I knew from experience that as we better understand our spiritual individuality as a peaceful and pain-free expression of God’s presence, we experience more peace and harmony in whatever we do. Spiritual individuality never suffers. It’s a false belief about our true individuality that causes suffering. I diligently prayed to release any false belief that man can be harmed, and to replace it with an understanding of its opposite spiritual truth.
While playing a match one morning and suffering terribly from pain, in between two points I became aware of a tenseness in my thought about my tennis game, which I had never noticed before. The guy I was playing was ultra-competitive and I was feeling pressure to keep up, but I wasn’t matching his skills because he was much better than I was. I also realized that the pain in my elbow had started about the same time I had begun regularly practicing with this person several weeks earlier, which I had found stressful from the start.
I prayed to understand that both of us were children of God with our own unique ways of expressing the divine presence, and that whether I was on or off the tennis court, my individuality was not under any pressure to compete with anyone else’s individuality. We were both valued and loved by God, who knows us in our true, spiritual identity, not according to the score of a tennis match between us.
The practice of Christian Science opens our thought to a correct, spiritual view of reality.
The change was dramatic. Like opening a relief valve and releasing pent-up force from a pressurized tank, tension drained from my thinking and my body. The consuming stress of simply trying to beat this player dissolved, and I was able to express more freely Godlike qualities in an effort to be a better player. The pain left my elbow. Complete healing was rapid, and the elbow issue has not returned in over 12 years of active tennis playing. I had the opportunity to play with this same player for several more weeks, and it was enjoyable and pain-free. I even outscored him on occasion later on.
The practice of Christian Science is special because its method of healing gets to the root of a trouble in consciousness, opens our thought to a correct, spiritual view of reality—rather than simply managing symptoms on the surface. When we experience healing in Christian Science, we find ourselves not only relieved of physical ailments, but mentally and morally reformed—a better person for the experience. It works from the inside out. It is whole-life healing at its best.
Mary Baker Eddy wrote: “Our Master cast out devils (evils) and healed the sick. It should be said of his followers also, that they cast fear and all evil out of themselves and others and heal the sick” (Science and Health, p. 494).
I find the ability to fulfill this Christian standard of dominion over physical and mental ills a compelling reason to study and practice Christian Science. It teaches us how to be a healer, as Christ Jesus expected. Its practice is not a series of rites, rote prayer, vain hope, or unfulfilled ideals. It shows us how to put spiritual truth into practice and experience the healing power of God. It’s practical Christianity, and it’s here for all of us.