Anyone who aims to put into practice God's law of harmony has, in a sense, something in common with a Christian Science practitioner. The practice of Christian Science healing starts from the biblical basis that God created the universe and man and made them perfect. Reasoning from this basis, Christian Scientists prayerfully work to bring their lives in every way into accord with God's law of love. As a result, discord, disease, and other evidences of evil are destroyed, and healing occurs.
Prayerful treatment based on scientific, spiritual interpretation of the Lord's Prayer is effective in healing all kinds of discord. It helps not only the one who prays but others as well, as Christ Jesus showed when he healed the multitudes. He said, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also" (John 14:12). Christian Scientists accept this statement and follow his example to the extent that their present understanding allows.
Inquirers into Christian Science, or established adherents, may sometimes feel they need help in applying it to overcome some mental or physical difficulty. If so, they can turn for help to one of the many experienced Christian Scientists who, on a professional basis, devote their full time to the ministry of healing. These dedicated religious workers are properly called Christian Science practitioners.
How are practitioners trained?
Basically, training for the public practice of Christian Science involves deep, private study of the Bible and of the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, as well as her other writings. Mrs. Eddy discovered Christian Science in 1866, and thereafter was its first practitioner. Her outstanding success in the healing work was the result of years of prayerful study of the Bible and a deep desire to follow Jesus' example and his command, "Heal the sick" (Matt. 10:8). Her books throw light on his teaching and method of healing, and a thorough knowledge of these books, as well as a good record of practice of the Christian ethic in daily life, is indispensable to the success of present-day practitioners of scientific mental healing.
Before they can be recognized and advertised in The Christian Science Journal as available to respond to calls for help from the public, practitioners must also complete a course of intensive instruction on healing and improving mankind, from an authorized teacher. There are over two hundred Christian Science teachers throughout the world.
What does "Journal-listed" mean?
There are several thousand names of men and women included in the directory of Christian Science practitioners that appears in the Journal, the monthly magazine of the Church. Practitioners who speak other languages may also be listed in appropriate editions of The Herald of Christian Science, which is published in twelve languages. All these practitioners are certified by the Church as qualified for the public practice. They are accepted for accreditation only after they have met basic Church standards and given evidence of effectiveness in healing. They must have high moral character and have proved themselves ready to meet the challenges of the task they are undertaking.
Practitioners accredited and advertised in the Journal and Herald lists are recognized as authoritative in certain circumstances by law and by some public and private agencies, including insurance companies. It is, therefore, the responsibility of the Church to maintain a high standard for accreditation.
Who can visit a practitioner?
Anyone who wants to receive treatment through prayer for the overcoming of some difficulty or to learn more of the teachings of Christian Science. Practitioners are lay members of the Church of Christ, Scientist, who devote their full time to this healing practice and their church work. Their ministry, however, is not part of the church structure, but is carried out on an individual and professional basis. But all who desire help or information-members of the general public as well as Christian Scientists-are always welcome to ask practitioners for it, either by telephone, by letter, or in person.
How are practitioners paid?
Christian Science practitioners are not supported by the church as the clergy are supported in other denominations. Their ministry is not restricted to local congregations but can be worldwide. They are expected to be paid by their patients for the services given, in the same way general practitioners of medicine are paid.
What kinds of problems do practitioners deal with?
The word "healing" can be understood to apply to the whole spectrum of human fears, griefs, wants, sins, and ills. Practitioners are called upon to give Christian Science treatment not only in cases of physical disease and emotional disturbance, but in family and financial difficulties, business problems, questions of employment, schooling, professional advancement, theological confusion, and so forth. Experience in the healing practice shows that problems are often too closely interrelated to be separately identified and dealt with. The purpose of prayer, or Christian Science treatment, is to establish God's law of harmony in every aspect of our lives.
What is the advantage of Christian Science healing over other methods?
Many patients who ask for help from a Christian Science practitioner are satisfied if they are physically healed, but in fact the benefits are far deeper. The cure has been accomplished through an awakening to some degree to the eternal truth that God's perfect, spiritual creation is untouched by evil, and the understanding that God's law of harmony is forever governing every aspect of real being.
Christian Science healing is the byproduct of successfully following Christ Jesus' admonition, "Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). When healings are accomplished through perception of spiritual truth, they take place effectively and will be permanent. Moreover, patients are not only physically cured but they are improved morally and spiritually.