Prayer that heals trauma

Christian Science raises the standard of liberty and cries: “Follow me! Escape from the bondage of sickness, sin, and death!” Jesus marked out the way. Citizens of the world, accept the “glorious liberty of the children of God,” and be free! This is your divine right.

— Mary Baker Eddy, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, p. 227

All over the world, many people have suffered and are suffering from trauma—in terms of abandonment; assault; loss of home, family, and health; pain; and lack. Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary defines trauma as “a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury; emotional upset.”

Statistics have it that a lot of women are plagued with this menace. The American Bible Society is making ongoing efforts to help women in Africa reconnect with the Bible in order to find healing after heartbreaking experiences (see Items of Interest, Sentinel, December 10, 2012, p. 23). And the recent shooting of schoolchildren in the United States has many searching for relief from frightening images and memories. There have been many efforts to help people deal with this. For example, a few days after the tragedy, “comfort dogs,” gentle dogs who are trained in play therapy, were stationed in town so children and parents could pause and find joy (see Time, December 17, 2012). 

Even when we are not nearby, there is much we can do to help. How can we pray for those who have suffered, and what can we do to effectively heal trauma and its effects on a global scale?

The Bible abounds with accounts of people who suffered from trauma and were healed when they “came to the Christ.” For 12 years, one woman, who had experienced severe bleeding, spent all her money on physicians and most probably various available remedies of her time. There was no healing or improvement. Can you imagine how she felt? Things looked so hopeless! In her extremity, something began to happen in her thinking. She reached out for the Christ. In spite of the multitude pressing on Christ Jesus, she was able to make contact. Yes, she did touch his garment, but it was the spiritual contact that healed (see Luke 8:43–48).

Another woman had been “bowed together,” that is, burdened with the sense of herself as discordant, diseased, lacking, and had been in this situation for 18 years. Jesus “called her to him”—to the Christ, that consciousness that reveals true selfhood as reflecting, or expressing, the everlasting, ever-acting, ever-loving qualities of God, “and immediately she was made straight” (see Luke 13:11–13). 

Prayer based on the teachings of Christianity and Christian Science brings divine light and healing. For me, in order to pray effectively, I constantly strive to see, spiritually discern, God and our relationship to Him; to gain the correct view of reality—perfect God and perfect creation. 

Christian Science and an understanding of the Christ reveals that God is perfect Mind, the all-knowing, all-acting, and ever-present Mind, the source of all intelligence and all right ideas. He is all-inclusive Spirit in whom matter and its effects of sin, disease, and death have no place. Prayer turns us away from fatalistic resignation, or acceptance of the oppressive condition as grim reality, to the understanding that God is Love and Love is the only power truly governing our experience. 

Much like the instances from the Bible mentioned above, we can “come to the Christ” today. That is, each moment, we can wake up and understand our true selfhood. Through prayer we feel the touch of the Christ that awakens us from physical and emotional challenges. We awake to the fact that we actually are God’s children, made in His image and likeness—spiritual, perfect, and whole. 

Trauma and other mental or physical problems may appear to be real, solid, and unyielding, but in reality we are not helpless in the face of them. God did not make them. They have no more substance than the suffering we experience in a nightmare. Whether we have experienced some kind of trauma, or are praying about this issue for the world, we can bravely and compassionately challenge nightmarish images and memories, even as we gently allow our thoughts to be led in the right direction. 

It was Jesus’ clear perception of good, God’s flawless creatorship, and the harmony of man’s true being as a child of God, that brought healing in every case that came to him. And through prayer and steadfast reliance on God, Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, was freed from the trauma of having her child taken from her, of poor health, of her second husband being unfaithful to her and deserting her, of “friends” bringing court cases against her and defaming her name—of all kinds of oppression.

Prayer turns us away from fatalistic resignation, or acceptance of the oppressive condition as grim reality.

Because of her deep love for God and all humanity, she longed to free people from every mentally and physically oppressive condition, and this deep love for humanity proved to be the strongest force in her life. She states in her primary work on spiritual healing, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, and we realize she could say this from experience, “The illusion of material sense, not divine law, has bound you, entangled your free limbs, crippled your capacities, enfeebled your body, and defaced the tablet of your being” (p. 227). As we lean on God, the constant recognition and affirmation of God's, good’s, allness and evil’s nothingness takes charge, and we experience healing.

The power of divine Love, the Christ, revealing man’s true selfhood, destroys trauma and its effects. Through Christ, God pours out His redeeming love, which awakens the need for true
forgiveness. Christlike forgiveness plays an important role in the healing of trauma. Of course, we can honor what we may have learned in any situation, and the spiritual growth that has deepened as a result. But we do need to forgive (cease to feel resentment) and forget (refuse to give power to evil). A child of God is not an oppressor or oppressed. 

Some years ago, I felt engulfed in trauma. I was suddenly widowed, all our property was taken over, and I had three very young children to look after. The severity of my situation caused me a lot of heartbreak, pain, and poor health. It was scientific prayer that healed and saved me. Daily, I prayed, starting with God and God’s allness and then claiming my true identity to be the image and likeness of God. It was when I “came to the Christ” and realized that the conditions I was facing could never disrupt my real spiritual selfhood that I became completely free from illness and my family’s situation turned around.

Our true Christlike selfhood cannot become infirm, paralyzed, burdened with fear, or bowed down with painful, distressing beliefs when we refuse to accept them as real and listen for the Christ, which is always saying, “Come unto me.” Heeding the divine call, we will partake of the feast of unlimited health, perfection, joy, peace, and all good that God has prepared for His children. 

In thinking about challenges that we face on a regular basis that appear unyielding or refuse to show signs of progress, it’s good to know that since God, good, is all there is, there is no incurable condition. My own and others’ healing of trauma constantly help me realize that as God’s children, we are always safe and able to make progress in the understanding of God’s love for us. Our need is to awaken to God’s ever-present and constant care and rejoice always that we are whole. 

All who feel burdened and oppressed can “… accept the ‘glorious liberty of the children of God,’ and be free! This is your divine right” (Science and Health, p. 227).

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