There are many types of professionals in the world of health. Allopathic medicine has many different kinds of generalist and specialist professionals. Alternative and complementary medicine also has a long list of various practitioners. But when I am ill, I often consult for treatment with a very different kind of specialist you may not have heard about – a Christian Science practitioner.
Let me show you what I mean. One day I was quite ill with a fever and headache. I had suffered most of the afternoon – it was a Sunday and I didn’t want to bother anyone on what is typically a day off. Finally, the pain was so intense that I called a Christian Science practitioner and asked him to pray for me. He talked with me only a matter of seconds, assuring me of God’s love for me and that this divine Love heals. He told me he would pray. By the time I hung up the phone, I was well.
Now, I have called a Christian Scientist for relief from pain or other maladies many times, and have received great cures, but I was so surprised at how quickly I’d been healed! I called the practitioner back to ask how he’d prayed. He told me he’d felt the power of God’s healing love embracing us both at the very moment I’d asked for help. I thanked him profusely for his prayer-treatment, and at the end of the month I paid his bill with great gratitude.
A Christian Science practitioner is one who prays for others in order to help them find or restore spiritual, mental and physical wellness. Sometimes the conversation takes place over the phone. It can also take place in the practitioner’s office or even online. There is no physical laying on of hands, so the praying can even be done from a long distance, as Jesus did on occasion. Because this is how a Christian Science practitioner makes his or her living, there is a modest charge for these services.
Christian Science prayer is not just a reciting of passages or a group of words, and it’s not based on just a blind faith in God. It is gaining a greater understanding of God – as Spirit, Mind, Love, Principle, omnipotent and omnipresent. It is also relating to this God, bringing one’s life and thinking into accord with this divine Life, and realizing that man is much more than just a material body, but instead actually a spiritual entity.
All Christian Science practitioners I know have received extensive instruction from an authorized teacher of Christian Science. This instruction is based on deep study of The Bible and Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science. This teaching usually includes years of nurturing guidance, careful mentorship and continued education. The Christian Science practitioners I have known in my life are in business because of their love for God and their fellowmen, and this love and commitment generally results in a solid record of successful cures.
Anyone can call a Christian Science practitioner and request prayer for healing. Since this treatment is a professional request, all conversations are confidential. As one is learning more about God as Spirit, and man’s spiritual, whole nature, his thought is turning away from the body towards an omnipotent God. So, in most cases, a Christian Science practitioner will take someone’s case when the patient has not sought or has decided he wants to forego medical treatment and have Christian Science treatment instead.
Many people wonder why Christian Scientists turn to prayer instead of medicine for healing and if they have a professional Christian Scientist to help them in this endeavor. In response, Christian Scientists often testify to the healing power of prayer in their lives and its beneficial side effects, such as peace of mind and feeling closer to God. They also often speak of the effectiveness of the treatment given by a Christian Science practitioner – a caring professional ready to help at any time.
Originally published in Chicago Tribune, @chicagtribune