Power of prayer
By Jamuna Rangachari
Jamuna Rangachari interviews Elise Moore, a Christian Science healer, whose firm faith in the power of prayer has wrought many miracles
Christian Science, one of the many different sects in Christianity, was an unfamiliar faith to me, but I was intrigued to discover that members of the sect do not subscribe to medical healing, but instead resort only to the power of prayer. Recently, Elise Moore, a distinguished Christian Science healer, came to Mumbai and I was fortunate enough to attend her lecture. Elise was raised in a Christian Science family. The first healing she remembers was on her 6th birthday when she fell off a new bicycle, and was picked up unconscious and bleeding. Her parents read the Bible lesson to her, and through the power of God, Elise was healed within the hour. Elise began talking to others about Christian Science and began healing herself and others. She has been a Christian Science practitioner since 1985, and a teacher of Christian Science since 1997. Elise has lectured in 16 countries, including India, and more than 300 cities in English and Spanish. Impressed by her many stories of amazing healings, I contacted her for an interview.
You have been exposed to the power of prayer since you were a child. When did you become a firm believer?
My mother read to me from the Bible and from Science and Health by Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science, every day when I was still in the womb. After I was born, my mother continued reading spiritual lessons to me every day. From the first moment, I remember thinking about God and having a conviction in the power of prayer to transform and heal. I can’t remember a moment when I did not deeply believe this. I attribute my life-long conviction to my mother.
You have said Divine Love is a tangible protection for all of us. Why then do people still suffer, in health and other areas?
There are many ways to understand God. One way to understand God is as Divine Love, that God is the source of Love, infinite Love, all Love, only Love. God is the Creator of all that is good. If it is not good, then it is not from God and doesn’t receive the approval or blessing of God. Where does suffering come from? It comes from an ignorance of God and sometimes from a wilful disobedience or rejection of God. Understanding more about God as good, as Love, can change one’s worldview to see through the fog of suffering to a light of Love which is shining. Instead of asking why do people suffer, perhaps the question could be how can people experience some of the goodness of God? My answer to that question is to learn a little more about God as good, as Love, as divine Spirit and your relation to God as God’s blessed and beloved creation.
Could you share some details of people that have healed through prayer?
One of them is my own grandmother who was healed by God of tuberculosis in erstwhile years. She was healed by reading the book, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. The words in that book changed her point of view. Instead of starting with the disease, she started with God and began to glimpse her spiritual identity. This spiritual identity was never diseased. This spiritual view of God and of herself brought healing. My uncle was healed of polio in a year through this same consecrated study of Science and Health. He couldn’t walk and had to be carried. But after a year of consecrated study and praying to see that the power of God is more powerful than disease, he was healed. In fact my uncle served in World War II and won several medals for bravery.
What is the path shown to you by Mary Baker Eddy? What is the difference between her approach and that of others ?
The primary approach of Mary Baker Eddy starts with faith and surrender to the Divine, and then becomes spiritual understanding and seeing the power of the Divine operating right here on Earth, while using the Bible for guidance. Others too may have similar approaches – all prayer is good and however you pray is a good way to pray. Understanding something about the grace and power of God restores and uplifts us.
You have attended and spoken at many interfaith meets. What have you learnt/understood about other faiths in these meetings?
I have found that sometimes prejudices prevent people from appreciating the good in others. Those who are truly spiritually minded have much in common for we unite on a spiritual rather than a human basis.
Today, few people believe in the power of prayer. How can we make them understand that prayer is indeed strength?
Actually, I don’t agree. I find that many, many people not only believe in the power of prayer, but act on that conviction, and are healed through their own and others’ prayers. I find people praying effectively in every country, in every city, in every village. Before and after every talk, people tell me wonderful experiences where they have felt the healing touch of God, or heard God speak to them, or felt guided by God. Let’s build on the strength of those who are nourishing their spiritual sense and spirituality. Everyone has spiritual sense and the ability to pray effectively for themselves and others. Let’s begin with this premise and practice the morality, purity of thought, willingness to learn, and spiritual courage that nurture the spirituality and spiritual strength that is within each one.
What is the difference between affirmation, meditation and prayer, according to you?
These words mean different things in different cultures and religions. To me, affirmation is mentally agreeing with spiritual facts about God, regardless of the human picture. Meditation is a quiet mental state preparing to receive inspiration from God and actually receiving ideas from God. Prayer is an active mental state not of repeating word formulas but of mentally giving gratitude to God for good, praising God, acknowledging the presence and power of God. To me, these are all aspects of the same communication with God, but I realise that is not necessarily true for people of different faith traditions.
Many people attribute the violence in today’s times to religious beliefs. What are your views on this?
This is misinterpretation and nothing else. God can and never will approve of violence of any kind.
Many people feel the Bible and indeed, all religious texts, should be rewritten to suit the mood and understanding of the current time. What are your views of this?
They need not be rewritten – they only need to be interpreted wisely in every era to relate to all generations.
In a healing experience, the healer and the person being healed, need to play a role. What, according to you, is the role to be played by both?
Actually I have found that in the best of cases, the person wanting healing simply needs to turn with an open heart to God and be willing to let go of thinking their case is so difficult. The best kind of healer puts aside their own self, and drops all thought of the disease. Instead, the healer becomes conscious of the allness of God, God’s goodness, love, presence. Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is nothing else, no disease. Actually, the purpose of healing is to know more about God. Physical change seems to be a byproduct of spiritual renewal, and the coming of God to human consciousness.
What is your vision for the future?
I have two visions. The first vision is the goal, which for me is described in the book of Isaiah in the Bible, “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the young goat, the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little child shall lead them.” The other is the process of how we achieve this goal or vision using the words of Jesus Christ, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.”
Anything else you would like to share with our readers?
You are dearly loved. God knows who you are, knows what you need, and is pouring out more blessings than we can presently conceive. May I leave you with a blessing from Proverbs, “Trust in God with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge God, and God will direct your path.