In the fall, I began thinking quite a bit about how to be a better healer. As I prayed more deeply about this, I got some tremendous insights:
1) Reflection is active, not passive, because God is active.
2) Think of God as a verb and the seven synonyms as verbs—they do the work.
3) I’ve tried much more to be in “child” and “sheep” mode, as opposed to wearing my usual title of “corporate vice-president in charge of doing God’s will on earth.”
The child/sheep attitude stumped me, though. I wondered about the implication that children and sheep are vulnerable, susceptible, weak, etc. Doesn’t needing help imply that God knows of our weakness? But I was aided by this statement from No and Yes: “God pities our woes with the love of a Father for His child, — not by becoming human, and knowing sin, or naught, but by removing our knowledge of what is not.” (No, 30:13–16)
Another insight: I don’t have a mind that can be impressed by suggestions of disease. This came to me one night as I watched network news. I didn’t get to the mute button fast enough and heard a politician’s wife announcing that she had breast cancer. I truly hate hearing all this stuff, because I seem to take it all in, even though I pray about these things when I hear them or see headlines about them.
That night as I was walking to the Wednesday service, I suddenly realized that this belief of susceptibility to images of disease goes way back to my childhood. I remembered my mother telling me, as a young girl, to watch my thought, because whenever she became ill, it often followed that I became ill. So I stopped right there on the sidewalk and dealt with the root of the suggestion. I have never had a mind separate from God’s that is easily influenced by suggestions of disease.
Now, when I hear about disease in the news or from friends, I remember that I don’t have a mind that can be easily impressed. I have God’s mind, which is never impressed by error.
And related to this: Watching that same newscast, I prayed in a different way. I remembered my Christian Science teacher reminding us that we do not pray out of fear of evil, but for the love of good. So, instead of summoning up my prayers and aiming them at evil like a character holding up a cross to ward off a fictional vampire, I thanked God that since there is no such thing as breast cancer, I did not need to worry about it. Now when I hear something frightening, I often start with: “Thank God I don’t need to be afraid of X, because I know what is really true.” It’s a prayer of comfort and assurance, starting with gratitude, instead of a prayer coming from fear.