Prayer eliminates the need for Caesarean delivery
Susan Norris, member of Menlo Park church since <year>
(Originally published in the April 5, 2004 issue of the Christian Science Sentinel)
When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I was just starting to study
Christian Science. Every month after my checkup at the doctor’s office, I would
meet with a Christian Science practitioner. She was supporting this pregnancy
with prayer, and shared wonderful spiritual concepts with me.
I learned to think of my baby’s identity as spiritual. I saw her as a child of
God—already perfectly formed. As the Mind of all creation, God knows us each as
His fully developed ideas. Understanding this has practical, healing effects on
our lives. The pregnancy proceeded smoothly, and I didn’t have any unpleasant
About five weeks before the baby was due to be born, she spent one entire day
moving. At the end of the day, I could tell she had turned around and was no
longer in the best position for delivery. My next check up confirmed this—the
baby was heads-up, in an impossible position for a normal delivery. The doctor
said the baby was now too large to turn around on her own, and that she would
have to be delivered by Caesarean section.
I really wanted this baby to be born normally. And I was learning in my study of
Christian Science that I could rely on prayer for the birth to proceed
harmoniously. This passage from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures
by Mary Baker Eddy was very meaningful to me as I prayed about the situation:
“The relations of God and man, divine Principle and idea, are indestructible in
Science; and Science knows no lapse from norreturn to harmony, but holds the
divine order or spiritual law, in which God and all that He creates are perfect
and eternal, to have remained unchanged in its eternal history” (pp. 470-471).
I also prayed to understand better this statement, also from Science and
Health: “The universe is filled with spiritual ideas, which He [God] evolves,
and they are obedient to the Mind that makes them” (p. 295). I prayed to see
that this baby—as a spiritual idea—was obedient to the divine Mind that created
her, and that therefore, I could expect this to be seen in her correct
positioning for a natural, normal birth.
One evening a couple of weeks later, I was marking my favorite citations from
the Bible and Science and Health that I’d been praying with over the past
months. The practitioner had suggested I do this so that I would have them on
hand for the delivery. My husband and mother-in-law were in the baby’s room,
putting together the crib. I was really praying for God’s will to be done, and I
remember suddenly feeling very peaceful. I just knew that He could and would
take care of everything. It was then that the baby moved for about five minutes,
and I felt her repositioning. At that moment, I knew that all was well. And it
was subsequently confirmed that she had slipped into place for a normal birth.
Our daughter Stephanie was born a couple of weeks later with no need for
surgery. The doctor was quite surprised that the baby had been able to turn
completely around again that close to delivery. She stated that it must have
been our prayers that did it. I was so grateful to the practitioner for her
loving prayers during this time. It was an example of something I am
learning—that all things are possible to God.
San Carlos, California
When my friend asked me about my religion
Jacey Williams, member of Menlo Park church
One day I was hanging out with a friend from work, and we were having a great
time talking about our lives. I felt the conversation was going super well—that
I was really connecting with her emotionally and we were coming to a better
understanding of each other’s life experiences. At one point, though, religion
came up, and she asked me what my religion was.
I was a little nervous about answering her question, because people tend to have
a lot of prejudgment about religion in general. Plus, Christian Science is a
religion that most people don’t know much about.
“I’m a Christian Scientist,” I said.
“That’s not Scientology, right?” she asked.
I understood why she might have confused the two, since both of them have some
form of the word science in the name. But I told her no, they’re totally
different, and that Christian Science is based on the Bible.
“I’ve never heard the words science and Christian in the same sentence,” she
Her comment intrigued me, because since I’ve grown up in Christian Science,
putting those two words together has always been normal to me, and I’d never
considered that it could be so foreign to others. I realized for the first time
that most people never hear science and Christian grouped like that.
I explained to my friend why those two words make sense together. I shared that
Christian Science teachings include a system of prayer that is proven to have
results, bringing healing to the problems we are facing. I also explained that
to me, Christian Science is the science of how to love others the way Jesus
taught us to. For example, Christian Scientists follow what Jesus identified as
the “first and great commandment,” “Love the Lord your God with all your heart,
with all your soul, and with all your mind,” as well as a second commandment
that he said was like the first, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew
22:37–39, New King James Version).
I told her that a lot of who I am as a person stems from my beliefs and the
values that I hold as a Christian Scientist, such as valuing love and sharing it
with the world and the people around me. Christian Science has taught me how to
love in a really powerful and healing way, because through reading the Bible as
well as Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy, I’ve
learned that real love means seeing someone in God’s, divine Love’s, image—as
loved, loving, and lovable. This means looking past surface appearances and
labels and seeing all the good that is truly there in each of us as God’s
While I’ve always been very hesitant to talk about Christian Science with my
friends because I was afraid of being judged, it turned out that my friend was
totally open to what I shared. She even said she could see how the qualities I’d
developed from being a Christian Scientist were the ones she admired me for. It
was cool that my sharing more about Christian Science helped her understand me
This experience was eye-opening for me, because I’d never really asked myself,
“What is Christian Science?” Answering this question for a friend helped me
clarify the reasons that I believe in Christian Science and reflect on the
impact it’s had on my life. I am so grateful for all that Christian Science has
taught me about how to love.
What does it mean to live in God’s kingdom?
About midway through a two-week service trip to Guatemala, my group took a
weekend excursion to Santa Cruz la Laguna. Shortly after we returned, some of
the students I was traveling with began to feel unwell. A day or two later, I
also began to feel ill. I thought, “Oh, no. This is going to be awful,” because
some of my friends had described how they’d felt while they were sick, and I
didn’t want that to happen to me.
After breakfast that day, I went to the Christian Science practitioner who had
traveled with us and asked for her help in finding a place to begin with my
prayers. The idea that she shared with me was that no matter where I am in the
world, I am always in the kingdom of God, and there is no sickness in His
kingdom. This means that I can never be outside God’s care or protection, or
outside His loving all-presence—which excludes sickness—because God governs
everything, everywhere. She also shared the idea that I am an expression of
divine good, and as that expression, I can’t also embody something bad, like
illness. I prayed with these ideas throughout the day, and also read the weekly
Bible Lesson found in the Christian Science Quarterly when I needed to feel
inspired. I knew that keeping my thought close to God was a way of feeling more
tangibly that I really was in God’s kingdom.
Our service projects in Guatemala included assisting in the construction of
dining and kitchen areas for a nursing facility in the morning, and teaching
English at a local school in the afternoon. Unfortunately, on this particular
day, I wasn’t able to do much during the morning construction, although I could
do small things to help. During lunch, I didn’t order anything except a bottle
of water. That afternoon, I was excused from working in the school so I could
rest. I did rest, but I also continued to pray about being in the kingdom of
heaven; I really wanted to understand what that idea meant for me in this
While traveling back to our accommodations later that afternoon, I started to
feel worse. I knew this was when I most needed to persist with my prayers,
because I saw that the discomfort was a distraction from what I’d been
understanding about God. So I stayed back in my room while the rest of my class
went to dinner. Sticking with this idea about being in the kingdom really helped
me overcome the fear I’d been feeling, and when one of my roommates brought back
some food after dinner, I was feeling well enough to eat something. By the time
I fell asleep that night, I had made a lot of progress and was no longer
impressed by what my body was doing, because I was remembering that I was
embraced by God.
When I woke up the next day, I didn’t notice any of the symptoms that had
bothered me the day before. At breakfast, I was able to eat a full meal. Later
that morning, I contributed to the construction work. And I went on to have an
excellent afternoon of teaching, and to enjoy my time with my friends throughout
the day. I was so grateful for everyone’s support and for the new understanding
of my identity as spiritual and governed by God that I gained from this healing.
Later, when I returned home, I was able to share this experience with my church
at a Wednesday evening testimony meeting. This was the first time I’d shared a
healing at a testimony meeting.
Peace came on a ‘Gabriel’ day
A healing I had a few years ago while serving as First Reader at our branch
Church of Christ, Scientist, brought me a lesson that has often been helpful.
One Sunday after the service I was not feeling well and began to pray. However,
by the next day the sense of fever and congestion was such that I asked a
Christian Science practitioner to pray for me.
By Tuesday the fever was gone, but the coughing seemed so severe that I asked a
friend to substitute for me at our Wednesday testimony meeting. Sleeping was
difficult, and I spent much of my time in prayer. I strongly affirmed that
because God is all-powerful and ever present, this condition was a lie about His
creation—it wasn’t part of me as His beloved child.
In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy describes
God’s angels: “The Old Testament assigns to the angels, God’s divine messages,
different offices. Michael’s characteristic is spiritual strength. He leads the
hosts of heaven against the power of sin, Satan, and fights the holy wars” (pp.
[566–567]). I prayed earnestly to exercise spiritual strength, knowing that
nothing could separate me from God’s love or my right activity at church.
On Thursday my husband suggested that we go to our beach cottage for some rest
and quiet. That morning the thought came: “Let’s make this a ‘Gabriel’ day!” As
described by Mrs. Eddy in the same passage above, the angel Gabriel “has the
more quiet task of imparting a sense of the ever-presence of ministering Love.”
She continues: “These angels deliver us from the depths. Truth and Love come
nearer in the hour of woe, when strong faith or spiritual strength wrestles and
prevails through the understanding of God. The Gabriel of His presence has no
contests. To infinite, ever-present Love, all is Love, and there is no error, no
sin, sickness, nor death” (Science and Health, p. 567).
As we drove, I committed to keeping my thought filled with gratitude and with
the recognition of peace and my true health as the expression of Spirit. I had
done my “wrestling,” and now was the time to keep thought quietly filled with
God’s infinite love.
By Friday morning I needed to think about whether I’d be reading for the Sunday
service. I felt that my thought had been uplifted a great deal, but I was still
coughing. It occurred to me that it might be better to have my morning prayer
time first and study the weekly Bible Lesson, and then pray about Sunday’s
But immediately the powerful thought came: “The right decision is for you to be
at your post and to be well.” Again I thought about doing my morning prayer work
first and delaying the decision, but the same strong thought about being at my
post kept coming, so I knew I needed to listen.
Maybe it would have been easier to find myself well first and then decide about
reading, but it seemed as if God was giving me clear guidance, and my only
choice was to obey. If He had given me this guidance, then it came with the
guarantee that all would be well, and that I could completely trust that.
As we drove back home the next day, a Saturday, my husband expressed concern
about the cough. He is not a Christian Scientist but has always been completely
supportive of my reliance on prayer for healing, so the fact that he mentioned
it made me reach out to God for an answer that would alleviate his fears.
I remembered that the practitioner I had been working with mentioned an
instantaneous healing he’d had of something similar—which I shared with my
husband. I realized with confidence and conviction that the same powerful law of
Love was healing me, which, along with assuring my husband, brought me a
complete inner calm and trust.
That night as I practiced the readings, I was filled with such a wonderful sense
of love for God and our church and could just feel those symptoms evaporate. I
was free to read without interruption the next morning, and by the following day
any slight reminder of the cough was gone.
I am so grateful for the prayer and support of the practitioner in this healing.
It has been an ongoing reminder to me in subsequent times that when we receive a
clear message from God, we can trust that the message always comes complete,
with whatever guidance and healing we may need.
Atherton, California, US
I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God.