The Work of Prayer in Healing

By J Douglas Bottorff

Your Desire for Health
Your desire for perfect health has its source in God. Unity's co-founder Myrtle Fillmore wrote: “Whenever we have an experience of sickness, it is evidence that we have been letting go of our hold on the gifts of God. We have ceased eagerly to appropriate and analyze and assimilate and make use of the life of Spirit through our thoughts, our words, our acts, our living habits.”

God is continually giving you the gift of health, and you experience that giving as the desire for health. In your time of meditation, you will experience the truth that God is whole, complete, without need of anything except to express through you as wholeness. The life signal of wholeness is being broadcast from the depths of your being and interpreted by you as the desire for perfect health. Your mind and body are the vehicles through which health is intended to be made manifest.

Healing Your Attitude Toward Your Body
In your prayer for healings, remember that prayer is primarily a consciousness-raising tool. Your first concern is not to heal your body, but to heal your attitude toward your body and toward any condition in your life that is prompting stress and limitation in your body. This means you are to lift your body image from one that is sick and weak to one that is whole and vibrant. To accomplish this, you are to deny or release your old body image and affirm or establish a new and healthy one.

As I shared this thought with a man who was experiencing a health challenge, he immediately saw how hard he had been working to heal his body. He was taking on a responsibility that was not his to take on. He realized he did not know how the immune system worked or how the cells cleansed and reproduced themselves. He found he was actually compounding the problem by forcefully visualizing the healing process as he thought it should work. This caused additional stress and frustration. Instead, he began simply to see himself as whole and free from disease. He allowed himself to trust God to do the work. He said his new attitude lifted a great burden from his shoulders and went a long way in helping to bring about his eventual recovery.

A Time of Quiet Focus
Begin your prayer by sitting in a comfortable chair in a place where you will not be disturbed. While the prayer process can and will take place wherever you are, whether it be at work in the office or on the assembly line, walking down a busy street or driving the car, it is good to have special times of quiet focus in which you clearly see and experience your goal of wholeness. Relax your body for a few moments and establish the attitude that you are cooperating with the desire of God in your prayer for healing. It is God's will that you are healed.

With closed eyes, see your body as it is now. If there is pain or any undesirable sensation, bring it clearly to your mind. When you have done this, the process of release can begin.

Release
Form a statement of release. It can be something as simple as this: “I now release this from my life.” Make this statement a few times, feeling the mental and emotional release gently occurring.

During the release process pay special attention to any strong impressions you receive. The image of a person or situation may come to mind, possibly as a signal to you that there is a need to release (forgive) them as well. Do not seek out such things, but if they come, include them in your releasing process or write them down for later treatment.

Affirm
As you feel yourself releasing the limiting body image, gently move into the affirmative side of your prayer. Following the guidelines previously given, form a statement similar to this: God's perfect wholeness is now established in my mind and body. I am whole and free. Thank You, God.

Visualize God's perfect life filling every aspect of your body, and feel the delight and gratitude that naturally come with this vision. As you attain any measure of success in this transition from an unhealthy body image to a body image of wholeness, you can know something wonderful is happening. Do not look for things to happen. Let them present themselves to you in their own time. Just keep doing your part in prayer. Along with your special time of prayer, be receptive to ideas that may come to you throughout the day. You may be inspired to enroll in an exercise program, attend a lecture on healing, read a book on dieting, or any number of things.

Trust God to speak to you on the level you can hear. Your daily work in meditation will also prove to be invaluable in becoming solution-oriented in this important area. The combination of these two practices of meditation and prayer will produce delightful results in the area of healing if you are dedicated to their practice.

The Ebb and Flow of Spiritual Growth
… In our practice of meditation and prayer it is important to bear in mind that there is an ebb and flow in our spiritual growth, times when no progress seems to be made and other times when we feel we are making great strides forward. Otherwise, when we hit occasional dry spells in our journey, we may feel like we are failing to make progress and become discouraged in our efforts to grow. What is even more frustrating is our tendency to know the higher truths but, through a kind of spiritual indifference, choose instead to cling to lesser ideals. Paul put it very bluntly when he wrote: “I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate” (Rom. 7:15). Who on the spiritual path does not understand well Paul's sentiments? Why, when we have seen grander possibilities for self-expression, do we continue to choose to be overrun by negative emotions, old limited thought patterns, and negative reactions to circumstantial appearances? What is it in us that keeps us hanging on to the old, spiritually degrading way of handling things when we know that the joy and freedom of choosing a higher perspective are just a thought or two away?

This question has probably plagued members of the human race ever since it began to dawn on us that, while the surface of our being is very much involved in the finite world of expression, our essence is grounded in the Infinite. In one sense we stand with one foot in heaven and another foot on earth, and because we are in the beginning stages of spiritual development, we favor with attention our earthly standing over our heavenly one. You can demonstrate any kind of life you choose, but the rules of expression are this: First, you must build a consciousness for the thing you desire, and second, you must be willing to exert the effort necessary to bring it forth. Prayer is not a means of avoiding challenge; it is not a magic formula that will enable you to get something for nothing. Prayer is the means by which you build the consciousness that will successfully carry you through the challenge and into the manifestation of your choice.

This article excerpt appeared in the free Unity Booklet, Pearls of Healing Wisdom.