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Can prayer cure us from sickness?

by Archives November 5, 2003

“The most natural thing is that a shift in our perspective of who we are begins to shift the limitations on our body” Joni Overton-Jung explained last Tuesday at the Lord Berri Hotel during a lecture entitled The Medicine of Prayer.

This is also the whole premise of Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, a book written in the 19th century by Mary Baker Eddy about spiritual vision being superior to the material world. Eddy stressed the biblical importance of Jesus’ message to “heal the sick.”

The conference was hosted by the First Church of Christ Science, which follows Eddy’s texts and the Bible.

Overton-Jung is a Christian Science practitioner from Toronto. She devotes her full time to the ministry of healing through prayer. This practice is not restricted to physical illness. According to Science and Health, what can be “healed” encompasses fears, sins and ills.

The “shift” from material understanding to spiritual cognizance, according to Overton-Jung, illustrates “the whole spiritual discovery process: we have to embrace it and discover it and go after it in our lives.” She believes that by making that spiritual discovery, “all of us can be healed and be healers.”

Prayer, in this case, does not mean repetition of text. Desire is prayer. For Overton-Jung, this expresses the deep yearnings of our lives, which need to come to the surface. It happens in prayer or meditation: listening to those desires.

“An important aspect of prayer is honesty: awareness of who we are, making room for a sense of clarity of what we’re about,” she said. Thus, prayer becomes that “shift.”

How does healing actually happen? How does the medicine go down? “Ultimately, healing happens at that point of mentally letting go,” said Overton-Jung, “feeling that awareness, that surrender to that presence of infinite love to God. It’s glimpsing something of the all-ness of God.”

Matthew Vaughan, 22, studies Spanish at Concordia. He is also a student of Christian Science and has experienced healing in numerous ways.

“Through my own personal prayer, I have experienced healings, over a number of years, ranging from emotional to physical,” he said. “I’ve been healed of anything from a sprained ankle to an unhealthy relationship.”

Vaughan was familiar with the ideas that Overton-Jung presented but the format was different. “I have experienced healing and found it to be effective. This conference spoke to me in a way that I could relate to.”

Jade Larissa Fung also attended the lecture and she echoed Overton-Jung’s comments.

“We can all be healed; we don’t have to accept sickness,” she said. Fung has experienced healing in different religious contexts and is looking forward to the Ramadan period as a time to find silence.

There are different levels of healing which are proportionate to the levels of mental self-knowledge. Healing happens “when fear is completely gone from our thoughts,” said Overton-Jung. In essence, Christian Science dismisses the physical world and considers the spiritual world to be “real.”

Overton-Jung ended her speech by saying that although the language she used was specific to Christian Science, her message is universal.

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