Many authentic records of healing by prayer exist, and a few cases will be cited here.
HEALING BY PRAYER
Case 1. The lady was a great sufferer from angina pectoris. The attacks always left her prostrated for two or three weeks. During the last attack she was very ill, and death seemed perilously near. Her friends summoned Mr. H. a retired minister, who makes no charge for his work and uses no method but prayer, and bases his faith wholly on the teachings of the Christ. Mr. H. came for four successive days and prayed, but with no apparent results. The fifth day he was in her room praying, when a voice inside her said, "It is done," and she found herself entirely free from pain and distress. She got up at once, took up her home duties and has remained well.
Case 2. Another case by the same healer was one of cancer in an advanced stage. Two eminent specialists, unknown to each other and separately consulted, told the lady that the disease was too deeply rooted to attempt an operation, and that she had but a few weeks to live. While having no faith in his power, she allowed him to come. As soon as he began to pray for her, she felt a wave of new life and health go over her, and from that moment her strength returned. In a little while she was a well woman, doing all her housework. A year later she was still in perfect health, with no sign of return of the disease.
Case 3. Rt. Rev. Arthur Ingram, Bishop of London, relates a story of healing by prayer, which he classes with the miracles of the past. The girl was very ill with fever, delirious, and begging of her mother to ask the Bishop, whom she had heard preach, to come and pray for her. As he prayed and anointed her with oil and blessed her, she immediately sank into a deep slumber, in which she remained for many hours, and awakened restored to reason and health. The Bishop says: "I know Jesus was with us. It reminds me of the raising of the daughter of Jairus, and seemed in some respects a similar case."
Case 4. We were crossing the Atlantic. I learned that my friend, Mrs. P., had been obliged to sit up two entire nights from asthma. At bedtime I went to her stateroom and found her suffering greatly. I took my stand behind her, with one hand at the back of her neck and the other in front just below the throat. My mental attitude was "I am a channel for the Divine Life." Soon the breathing was less labored. She went to bed and had a good night's rest and came to breakfast next morning and spent the day on deck.
Why should Case 1 have required five days before an answer came? It was instantaneous when it did come, "It is done" showing the completeness of the cure.
Let us make use of a scientific analogy for a part of the explanation. Anatomists have found that certain cells in the brain project little protoplasmic association fibrils or dendrites, whose functions seem to be connected with the continuity of thought, memory and ideas generally. These fibrils do not attach to the fibrils of other cells, but are said to oscillate and contact them when thought is active. The more persistent and connected and continuous the thought, the more the habit of continuous contact between the dendrites of the different cells of the brain related to that special line of thought becomes, and thus the power of what we know as continuity of thought is, on that line, built and perfected.
Now for the analogy. Man, the "I am" consciousness, has not only a gross physical body, but an etheric body also, which has its own centers and channels for its own kind of work. Also, the astral and mental bodies have their own etheric centers for their own lines of activity.
A brief description of the etheric physical body will aid in bringing out the analogy. This body, according to the ancient Hindu teachings, has a marvelously intricate etheric structure of its own along which the life currents travel. These etheric nerves all have their main center in the etheric heart. Through this center the Health-Life flows, vitalizing every part of the etheric body and through its intimate interpenetrating connection with the gross physical body vitalizes it.
The astral body has its own main etheric centers corresponding to the physical, and it also has been supplied to man for a definite purpose. We will assume that just as the heart of the gross and etheric physical body is the center for vital physical expression, so is the astral heart the center for activities which we may term psychological, such as love and hate, joy and sorrow, aspiration and gloom; a center also through which the hidden healing of the body may be accomplished.
On this basis, it is not unreasonable to suppose that as definite a relation exists between the continuous Life and the astral etheric heart as is known to exist between the continuous mind and the physical brain. And, just as the little contacting fibrils have to be built in the physical brain before any connected line of thought can be perfectly established, so would the fibrils of the astral-feeling center have to be built, and strengthened and grown into continuous contacting etheric channels for the use of the spirit, the "I am," before it has an instrument which will sustain the higher emotions such as faith and love, as against the lower impulses. By this not unreasonable hypothesis, healing by prayer, by faith, is as normal and scientific a method where the psychological heart is sick, as by drugs when the physical body is out of order.
So in Case 1. It is reasonable conception that the contacting astral-etheric fibrils along which thoughts and memories and elements of faith - the psychological crown of the emotion nature - could flow freely, had not been sufficiently extended and gotten together, until, under the stress of facing death, and with the aid of the devas, and the great faith of the minister, building of the fibrils was completed. Also the prayer aided in the unifying and polarizing of the centers.
Case 2, although having no confidence in prayer as a remedy, yet found an immediate beneficial effect from it. We may assume that in this case the astral psychological heart fibrils had, through past and present lives, already been built, but that they were temporarily inactive, or so to say unfocused because not definitely active at the time. The arrest of thought by the prayer, temporarily stilled the motion of the mind, and enabled the devas to polarize the centers of the three bodies. The fibrils at once responded to the pent up faith which was awaiting the opening or adjusting of its channel, and so the faith itself became a channel for the Health Life.
In Case 3 it may be claimed that it was the Bishop's magnetism that cured her. What is magnetism? It cannot be manipulated nor handled. Occultism records that it is one of the properties of Ether. The Bishop's deep devotion to the Christ as a living fact, and his earnest desire to relive suffering, together with the child's absolute faith in him, made an astral etheric channel through which the Health Life could flow freely and directly, into the fevered body and brain.
Case 4 has more of an individualistic element in that the attitude of the helper was a definite conscious attempt to mentally realize that the Divine Health was passing outward through her fingers to the sufferer; the matter of her own bodies became thus strongly polarized, permitting a free flow of the life through them.
To the wholly materialistic mind these statements regarding an intricate astral etheric psychological structure which does for the inner soul faculties and senses what the physical brain does for the outer senses, may seem unreal. But for those whose own experiences have demonstrated the existence of the inner heart centers through which are sensed the emotions of love and hate in their many phases, and who know that the psychological heart is not a mere chimera, for those there is no need of proof.
One other point relating to prayer for the sick should be presented here. There are apparent causes for the failure of prayer. As examples of this we may ask: Why did President Lincoln, Garfield and McKinley die when millions were praying that they might live? Here we can trace the working of the law of Action and Reaction, the great law of Nature which is forever working to maintain balance. An individual life being continuous from its beginning earth life through many succeeding earth lives, it is reasonable to imagine for any one individual that in progressing from dense ignorance in the early stages, on toward knowledge, in each life will be introduced many new factors, many new people. These show themselves in later lives through loves and hates, benefits and injuries of greater of lesser degree. Failing to be worked out to their final conclusion as action and reaction, they are each time at death laid away in Nature's storehouse as waiting Karma until they can be brought out again under suitable conditions for further working out. The psychological moment under the great law for paying some great collective debt thus incurred in the past, at the moment and under conditions which would affect helpfully the largest number of people, had come for these souls and could not be postponed. Nor must we forget that in each case a vast arrest of thought took place the world over, causing a reactionary wave of reverence, loyalty, duty to others, forgiveness, to sweep through the souls of millions. The death of such leaders from causes due in their own karma, and the prayers offered, were utilized by the divine rulers of humanity for the uplifting of the world a little in the psychological scale.
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