173. Talking to others about healing through prayer

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Circle of Faith has emphasized that in ecumenical and interfaith work we should first get acquainted with those of other faiths to develop respect and love. As a Christian Scientist I certainly am interested in talking about healing as practiced in Christian Science, but I’ve learned to defer the discussion until others express an interest. Eventually the topic comes up and it’s useful to be prepared to discuss healing in ways that are helpful. Most people are interested in healing.

There are too many aspects to cover in a short blog post, but I’ll share a few observations and invite your comments and questions. This may serve to stimulate a discussion.

BT Picture at AW 5

First, we need to be aware that most faith groups believe that healing can result from prayer. Many in other faiths may focus more on healing community and social issues, but over 40% of the population in the US reports being healed of a mental or physical problem through prayer.

Second, many Christian communities believe that only their approach to prayer is “authentic” and can be effective. They may disparage the healings of others, categorizing them as coincidences, faith healings, or mistaken interpretations of what really happened. So this is a delicate area that demands humility and the willingness to listen, suspending judgment for a time. To think that my kind of prayer is the only effective prayer, ignores the abundance of healing going on around the globe and coveys an arrogance that tends to cut off dialogue about the subject.

Among Christians the common ground for a dialogue begins with Jesus’ healing work and what he taught about it. The Scriptures are common inspiration. Listening to one another’s experiences of healing through prayer provides opportunities to explore together the power of God.

Third, explaining how we prayed, or how the healing happened, can be a rich but delicate dialogue as well. We may feel inadequate in our ability to articulate either of those. For example, if I am asked, “What would you do if you were in an accident?” I may want to share a deep metaphysical truth I would be pondering—which might confuse and dismay the questioner. But if I say “I would wholeheartedly turn to God in prayer,” and also share a Bible passage that inspires me, then we connect and the interest grows.

Recognizing that most people believe in the power of prayer to heal, opens the door to a discussion of the meaning of healing in our lives. We have lots to share and we can learn so much from others.

  1. "A healing is a healing is a healing." Just yesterday a friend shared with me a story of her own healing through prayer experience over a claim of dizziness longstanding, the Love energy she experienced that cleared it instantaneously and completely, and her gratitude to God. There was no need for discussion, only appreciation. Sometimes, probably most times, the best response is simply "Amen".

  2. This is the first time I've seen this blog and I love the title - Circle of Faith. It includes everyone. The ideas expressed for sharing and listening to others really energized me. It is so important to acknowledge the prayers and healings of all denominations. There are many different approaches to healing, but we all worship the one God, and that brings us together in unity. The logic and simplicity of the points brought out can certainly help people connect in a meaningful way, as we find our points of agreement in dialog. I am in an interfaith group, so this has been very helpful. Thank you.

  3. What a joy it is to experience the diversity of Truth in our larger Christian family.
    The phrase "Let go and Let God" opens the door to the Church without walls and we find ourselves dwelling in the revelation of the Kingdom where perfect harmony reigns and all the world is at Peace
    Thank you for providing this opportunity to share and grow and find our true identity as the beloved child of |God

  4. Thank you Brian for this very helpful blog. I feel that having an understanding of how other Christians may feel about the healings of those not of their faith or denomination is helpful in knowing how I should approach these discussions. One of the things I have learnt from my involvement in interfaith dialogue is how to listen to others. I thought I knew how to listen but as I become more involved with interfaith dialogue I realised that listening respectfully requires a quietness of thought. Not thinking about what I want to say but giving my whole attention to anothers sharing of their experience and accepting the value of that experience to their individual spiritual journey.. I have made mistakes but as I continued in this dialogue and built relationships I have found those of other faiths forgiving and supportive.

  5. Brian, your thoughts came at a good time for me.

    A lady stopped by the Spanish Lesson Discussion group the other day, and she was talking about how wonderful it was the we Christians would all be going to heaven to be with Jesus. She mentioned the rapture and talked about the non-Christians who would be going to hell. Off the top of my head, I said that Jesus never said we all are going to either heaven or hell. Then she told me she would find in the Bible where Jesus said this and talked about the sheep and the goats -- which he did mention. She had to leave just then. I expect to be seeing her again. I've been wondering how I should respond since Jesus did talk about the sheep and goats. All of us being beloved sons and daughters of God though, how does one address this issue with other Christians who believe Christians are the only ones to be saved and received by the Christ-Spirit?

  6. Marilyn, thank you for this question. It is central to the conflict between many Christian denominations who differ in their interpretation of an important teaching of Jesus. In answer to Thomas' question, Jesus referring to Christ, says, "“I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John14:6) One interpretation might be that we must all become Christians. But a deeper understanding of Christ is that is the eternally true manifestation of God to mankind. Jesus is not talking about a particular view of God, but the true nature of God that even the prophets of the Old Testament caught powerful glimpses of. So Christ is understood as the universal spiritual truth without which no one can be with God. We must all find our way to God through Christ. This is a spiritual fact, not a human organization that Jesus was explaining.

    The other question of the sheep and goats Ill take up in the next comment.

  7. The second question refers to a parable of Jesus referring to the separation of the sheep and the goats at the last day. Again Christ separates the sheep from the goats--the sheep to be saved and the goats to go to be destroyed. (Matthew 25:31-46) This a very important teaching intended to characterize the way to live as children of God. The question is who are the sheep and who are the goats? Jesus is commending the way to live not a specific group of people. It is clear from Jesus understanding of God as Love that St Paul's depiction of salvation as putting off the old man and putting on the new man can be helpful here. Separating the sheep from the goats says to me that our mortal selfish self-understanding needs to be separated from our true nature as God's loved and loving child. Rather than fearing the judgment of Christ we should rejoice in that day when each child of God has put off the false sense of selfhood through Christ and has put on the true.

  8. Brian that was beautifully said and the same as I was thinking - separating the error thoughts from the Truth thoughts. It has long be my view (through much study, prayer and meditation) that more likely Jesus said "the Kingdom of heaven is within you; I am showing you the way: be still, go within, "withdraw to the mountain" (has nothing to do with a high piece of ground and everything to do with higher consciousness) and meet Our Father there, where you will know the Truth of our Oneness - this is the way, Not buying, bartering or sacrificing "out there" for "the gifts". Nonetheless, my measure is my Love, my open heart, for others, regardless of their viewpoint, realizing God is in us all, at any level of understanding. (Psalm 23) _/_

  9. I really appreciate having this higher way of considering these ideas. I will need to give them more thought in order to provide an appropriate response to this lady who is a Bible discussion leader for an evangelical group.

  10. This is a thought provoking inspiring sharing today. Thank you! I have been looking for clarification re the "sheep and goats"...

  11. I would like to respond to 5 Marilyn- Parable of Sheep and goats
    William Temple a past Archbishop of Canterbury writing about the "Door of Christ" says this is putting self right out of the picture and putting Christ in the forefront of thought. To me this parable is Jesus'
    instruction to you and me as to how we can live the Christly life as apostles of Jesus today, by feeding Truth to the hungry,Love to the vulnerable, Life to the frightened and inspiration to the prisoners of mortality. thank you for your contribution

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