Praying for Protection from Flu
Can prayer protect us from the flu? Praying can seem like a daunting task if we think of our prayers as pleas for God to do something about a power apart from God that is able to run it's own course. But effective prayer is possible when we realize that disease isn't what it appears to be and that our prayerful task is the activity of listening intently for God to reveal the truth of God's creation and kingdom. Let me give you an example of this.
Many years ago, spots appeared and spread over my young son's body. The school nurse instructed me to keep him away from other children and to call the county health department. The person I spoke with at the health department asked many questions about the symptoms my son was experiencing. They declared that this was a disease that was going around the area and described to me all the additional symptoms my son would experience over the next several days.
Rather than simply accept this authoritative prediction from the health department, My wife and I prayed to learn what God would tell us about our son's true condition. I don't remember the specifics of my prayer, but I recall that I listened quietly and intently for inspiration from God and contemplated the truths I knew about God and man as revealed in The Bible and explained in a book that helps me understand the Bible, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy.
My quiet listening brought me a conviction that God is good and was always caring for my son. Also, I felt certain that no power apart from God could touch or influence my son in any way. I then found this statement of Eddy's to be true: "Be thoroughly persuaded in your own mind of the truth...and you will be the victor." The spots faded from my son's body and in about two days no trace of them remained. During this entire period, my son felt fine, played happily, and experienced no other symptoms of disease.
The school nurse examined my son again and said he no longer needed to be isolated from other children. I also called the health department back as they had requested. I spoke with the same person that I had originally. They asked if the symptoms had progressed as they predicted. I told them that none of the predicted symptoms had appeared. There was silence on the phone line for several moments, then the person at the health department said, "Well, I guess it wasn't what I thought it was."
The health department worker's statement was more true than she realized. Disease is never what human opinion thinks it is. Eddy states: "All disease is the result of education, and disease can carry its ill-effects no farther than mortal mind maps out the way. ... Truth handles the most malignant contagion with perfect assurance." The Biblical authority for this last statement is Jesus's proclamation, "Know the truth and the truth will make you free."
This experience demonstrates how we can respond to news reports of flu. Rather than passively accepting human opinions of how this outbreak will spread, we can calmly turn in prayer to listen to the truth that God is revealing to us about the health and strength that he is imparting to his creation. This sincere, prayerful, listening activity can protect ourselves and our communities.