Many Christian Scientists have found that prayer results in healing because of our personal connection with God. Through prayer, we can learn more of God’s nature and God’s ability to touch and heal our lives and the world. While Christian Scientists do not scoff at modern medicine, most followers first turn to the healing power of God, through prayer, before seeking medical intervention.
Mary Baker Eddy (1821-1910) discovered and founded Christian Science. Raised in a Puritan home, she loved and studied the Bible throughout her life. Often ill as a child, she experimented unsuccessfully with multiple healthcare systems throughout her life. In 1866, a turning point occurred for her when she suffered a spinal injury from a severe fall. Having spent three days waiting for modern medicine to comfort her, her health had not improved. As Mary stated, “On the third day thereafter, I called for my Bible, and opened it at Matthew, 9:2 [And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee.(King James Bible) ]. As I read, the healing Truth dawned upon my sense; and the result was that I arose, dressed myself, and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed. That short experience included a glimpse of the great fact that I have since tried to make plain to others, namely, Life in and of Spirit; this Life being the sole reality of existence.”
She devoted the next three years of her life to Biblical study and what she considered the discovery of Christian Science. In her autobiography, Retrospection and Introspection, Eddy writes “I then withdrew from society about three years,–to ponder my mission, to search the Scriptures, to find the Science of Mind that should take the things of God and show them to the creature, and reveal the great curative Principle, –Deity.”
Convinced by her own study of the Bible and through experimentation, Mary Baker Eddy claimed to have found healing power through a higher sense of God as Spirit and man as God’s spiritual “image and likeness.” She became convinced that illness could be healed through an awakened thought brought about by a clearer perception of God and the explicit rejection of drugs, hygiene and medicine based upon the observation that Jesus did not use these methods for healing.
Throughout her life she’d been able to heal others, but now she began to understand the science behind healing. Often asked how she came upon her ability to heal, Eddy explained and documented her abilities in her primary work, Science and Health, and named her discovery Christian Science. By 1879 she had founded the Church of Christ, Scientist. Eddy became a public speaker, teacher, and best-selling author. She founded a college where Christian Science healing was taught, an international church, and published multiple publications, including the award-winning newspaper, The Christian Science Monitor.
Jesus inspires Christian Scientists to rise up and follow him. In Christian Science, this is seen as more than worship. His love is so powerful that it rouses us to love God supremely and to love others as ourselves. Learning from Jesus evokes a desire to obey him and emulate his works. This includes healing the sick by becoming so filled with the eternal Christ spirit that all fear and doubt vanish. We believe that releasing fear and doubt and giving in to the healing power of Jesus allows healing to take place. Christ, the title given to Jesus, is the healing power that dissolves suffering in exchange for the profound feeling of being loved and being well.
Christian Science is not Scientology, faith healing, a so-called “New Age” practice, it is not merely positive thinking, nor is it an Eastern religion. Rather it is deeply Christian. Mary Baker Eddy found in the Christian Gospel that it’s never God’s will for anyone to suffer, get sick, or die. Instead, it shows how God is entirely good, and therefore His will for each of us is only health and life.
Each individual that practices Christian Science chooses the form of health care that he or she desires. There is no absolute one size fits all doctrine about healing. However, many Christian Scientists decide to pray first about every challenge—including health issues—and find it an effective means of healing. Prayer and its power are central to an understanding of Christian Science. While Christian Scientists believe in the power of prayer for healing, we recognize and respect the interests of medical professionals and do not oppose them. We care about the preventive and curative aspects of health care. Like all systems of healing, Christian Science isn’t perfect. However, over 80,000 Christian Science healings, including severe cases, have been published throughout the past 140 years.
For more information on Christian Science please visit www.christianscience.com.
Tnank you, Nancy Thayer- Church of Christ Scientist, Birmingham, for answering our question! To learn more about Nancy, please click here.