WHEN one of our daughters was still a toddler, she had developed a lingering cough. It was particularly noticeable at night--and it kept both her and me awake. During this time I redoubled my efforts to pray specifically for her as I had learned through my study of Christian Science. Each day, often many times during the day, I turned to God to listen for His guidance.
Another member of my family was also aware of this situation and at one point talked with me to reassure me of God's goodness and loving care for His children. I understood that this included our daughter. We spoke of God's ever-presence. That night I turned to God in a way I hadn't in a long time. I turned to Him, trustingly, like a child myself, to feel His presence. I wanted to understand spiritually what God knew of His child. I sat quietly and humbly, listening for His messages and direction. I soug ht God's tenderness, and I sought to express this tenderness to my child. A quiet calmness came over me and I felt comforted. That night my daughter only woke once. The next morning I spoke with her of her God-given perfection and health, and assured her of God's care for her. We talked of her true spirituality as God's child and how this exempted her from matter and its conditions. I told her that she could pray too, and urged her to remind herself each time she felt a need to cough that God is ever-presen t and that she could feel His love. She promised she would do this. A few days later she was completely healed.
As I had prayed for my daughter, I had been reminded of something Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures. She points out: ``To heal by argument, find the type of the ailment, get its name, and array your mental plea against the physical. Argue at first mentally, not audibly, that the patient has no disease, and conform the argument so as to destroy the evidence of disease. Mentally insist that harmony is the fact, and that
sickness is a temporal dream. Realize the presence of health and the fact of harmonious being, until the body corresponds with the normal conditions of health and harmony." When I steadfastly endeavored to do these things the cough diminished and then disappeared.
We can dependably counteract the physical symptoms and suggestions of disease through such prayerful argument. This doesn't mean that we fight with God--or even with the illness--to have our way or that we act stubbornly or unwisely. Instead, it is a spiritually mental stance that is based upon the laws of God and upon God as Principle. This prayerful argument is grounded firmly on God's presence and power. It is tender and strong, loving and caring. It is rooted in Spirit, God, as the source of man's pe rfection. It is a disciplined realization, or spiritual understanding, that God cares for His children and that His care is manifested in practical ways.
Reasoning from the standpoint of man's God-given perfection brings us to the affirmation of man's spiritual right to perfection. This is an argument for good, for God, and it brings healing. To let God direct our thought, through prayer, in opposition to symptoms of disease, helps us to see the unreality of those symptoms and restores health.
Prayerfully insisting on, and persistently holding to, man's spiritual perfection, and lovingly arguing against the imposition of materiality, are spiritually mental ways to combat the false testimony of the material senses.
Christ Jesus understood the presence of God so thoroughly and completely, the Bible assures us, that his certainty of God's presence and power usually healed immediately. He demonstrated that God and man are perfect-- that God is ever-present Spirit. And he taught, ``Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."
Man's perfection comes directly from God. God created man perfect. He created man spiritual-- whole, complete, upright, loving. Man naturally reflects these qualities from God, and expresses them. This is what empowers us to mentally and prayerfully argue for and witness to man's innate perfection. It may take loving and strong arguing, insisting, and persisting against the physical belief before man's perfection is manifest in our experience, but we can do it through humble, heart-felt prayer.
Rising above false, material conditions through prayer begins with turning to God to better understand man's spiritual identity. Our faithfulness to God and man will determine the outcome of our prayer--harmony and health restored.
Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. . . . Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness . . . . Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.
Ephesians 6:10, 11, 14, 18