PART 4: KEEPING YOUR CHILD HEALTHY
PRAYER AND YOUR CHILD’S HEALTH
Guest Article - Dr. Jer Master
Dr. Jer Master, Ex-Professor of Paediatrics at Mumbai’s
Bai Jerbai Wadia Children’s Hospital, is a Christian
Scientist and firmly believes that Prayer can help preserve the well being of our
children and cure their ailments. In this article, she
talks of how parents can turn to a Power that is greater than
medicine or any human system.
For more than two decades, I worked as a practising paediatrician. At a friend’s suggestion, I
studying Christian Science, without really expecting it to change
my thinking or my work in any way. As I read, I received
healings myself. When confronted with children who were
desperately ill, a sentence or a phrase or a concept from the book Science
& Health With Key To The Scriptures would
convince me of the spiritual identity of the child, cared for and protected
It is normal and natural for parents to pray for the
health of their children. Whatever their religion, and whether or
not they are atheist, they do it instinctively. Before
children are born and after, parents often find themselves turning to
a higher power whenever they are concerned.
This higher power, this Supreme Being is God. God may be called by different names but the
fact remains that only
one God created us all. Our children are God’s gifts of
love to us, which we must accept with deepest gratitude. Children
are meant to be a joy to us, and they are.
Prayer is often thought of as beseeching God for His
help, without there being any certainty of its outcome. But
there is a way of praying scientifically, that allows us to be as
sure of a right result as when we solve a mathematical problem correctly. This way is called Christian
Science. It is a therapeutic system emphasising spiritual healing through
Mary Baker Eddy, an American woman, discovered it in the latter part of the 19th century.
Chronically ill since
her childhood, receiving no permanent relief from the
systems available in her day, widowed at 23, and a single
mother, she often prayed to find relief from her problems. In 1866,
she was seriously injured. As was her custom, she asked for the Bible.
She read an account of a healing performed by Christ
Jesus, which gave her an insight that brought about a sudden recovery. Through her lifelong study of the Bible,
she realised that there was a spiritual law on which Jesus’
healings were based. She was able to use that law to heal people who
came to her with a variety of problems. Many children were cured
of disabilities and life-threatening illnesses. She taught
others to heal, and eventually wrote the book Science
& Health With Key To The Scriptures, which
is the textbook of Christian Science.
In most scriptures, God is referred to as Father, and
has masculine qualities like strength, power, dominion and support attributed to Him. But since God is the only
creator, He/She is Mother as well, with qualities such as
gentleness, tenderness, selflessness, patience and kindness.
Our children therefore have one real parent — their Father-Mother God. The role of human
parents is to
reflect and express the qualities of the divine parent.
& Health With Key To The Scriptures, Mrs.
Eddy interprets the first line of the Lord’s Prayer as
given in the gospel of Matthew thus:
“Our Father which art in heaven,
Our Father-Mother God, all-harmonious.. .”
The book offers many ideas with which we can pray and bring up our children well.
Love — The Greatest Keeper Of Health
Parents sometimes differ strongly on methods of child
care, a situation which leads to upheaval in the home that is unsettling for the child and results in insecurity. If
we think of God as both father and mother, there will be no scope
Parents often also worry that their children are not
eating enough, or not eating the right foods, or not gaining
weight according to age-appropriate milestones. While the book offers guidelines on children’s normal diets, the
important thing to remember is that the chief nourishment required
by a little child is large amounts of love from his parents.
Love, spelt with capital L, is a name for God. This
divine love truly nourishes.
There is no formula for prayer. A sincere turning to
God, acknowledging that Love is the parent of the child,
makes a big difference to the child’s welfare. It brings a
sense of serenity that calms parental fears. Then the focus
shifts from proteins and vitamins to love, and the joy and strength
Healing Illness Through Prayer
Can prayer have any part in the healing of a child’s
illness? I am not talking here of desperate situations where
everyone starts praying for divine intervention.
A young mother I know would heartily say yes, prayer
does work. Her two-year-old son had a bout of diarrhoea, a condition fairly common in our country. She prayed to
know that God creates all that is good; He did not create
conditions that could be harmful to any of His beloved children...
The mother continued her prayer by understanding that God controls everything in His universe, even her child’s
health. There was no involuntary action stimulated by something injurious, because He is the only source of all action.
Science & Health, it says, “Mind is the source of all movement, and there is no inertia to retard and check
its perpetual and harmonious action.” Mind, spelt with a
capital M, is another name for God, mentioned in this book.
As the mother prayed with these ideas, she was freed of her own fears, and became
confident of God’s control,
power and love for the child, present right there and then.
The improvement in the child’s condition began almost immediately, and by the next day, he was
cheerful, active self and completely normal.
Eliminate Fear Through The Love Of God
Healings like this one are happening all over the world
every day. The important thing is to let go of fear; then we
can actively trust God. Fear indicates that God is
forgotten, or not appreciated as an ever-present help in trouble. The
antidote to fear is divine Love. We are never afraid in the
presence of those whom we know love us. This love is power, the strongest
power that exists; a power that is tangibly
available here and now.
The fear that is felt about children is because they are considered to be small, frail, physically
vulnerable mortals. But that is not the way God created them or
sees them. Spirit, spelt with a capital S, is also another
name for God. Therefore, all that He creates is spiritual, without any physical component. Since God is Mind, what He creates
is mental, in the shape of thoughts, concepts, ideas. That
is what children are; they are the spiritual thoughts of God. They are held in the divine Mind, sustained by it and retained
there in their inherently perfect state, from which they are
never moved. They are completely safe with their Parent, God.
The awareness of these truths enables us to take wise steps to safeguard our children, while
at the same time freeing us from undue anxiety. Our children’s true
identity is not comprised in their body, but in the spiritual
qualities inherited from God — purity, innocence, joy, liveliness, honesty and intelligence. These qualities cannot be
injured or damaged in any way; no germs can get to them, no inflammation attack them. These qualities are not
static, but unfold continuously, smoothly and actively. This
identity is eternal, whole, beautiful and utterly lovable.
Understanding God Is Essential For Healing
People often talk of faith when considering prayer. But
the prayer that works requires more than faith; it requires
the understanding of God, and the expression of love. Faith
is necessary, it is a first step, but it is not enough,
until it is based on an understanding of God. When we get to know
the nature of God, He no longer remains a mystery. We can humbly pray to Him every day, affirming His greatness
and majesty, His tender love for ourselves and our family,
and know that His care surrounds us at all times in all circumstances.
We can truly be grateful for all the good He has already given us, and continues to shower
upon us. This
gratitude is itself a powerful prayer, which enables us to see and concretely
demonstrate His presence as an active
influence in our lives, blessing our children.
11 February, 2013