[Please note: ACIM passages quoted in this article reference the Foundation for Inner Peace (FIP) Edition.]
Who of us has not, at some time, been drawn to pray for someone—a sick relative, a friend in difficult circumstances, or even a stranger whose heart-touching story we hear about on the news? As a Course student, how do you respond to such a natural and compassionate impulse? In Course circles, wanting to help others, even through prayer, often gets bad press—we’re trying to “fix the illusion” and in doing so we’re actually “making the error real,” locking ourselves into our mistaken perceptions of others and the world.
However, the Course itself teaches us to reach out with loving thoughts to others (see, for instance, Workbook Lessons 46 and 108). It sees the power of one person’s healed mind, through the Holy Spirit, reaching out to many others: “A miracle…may touch many people you have not even met, and produce undreamed-of changes in situations of which you are not even aware” (T-1.I.45:1-2).
A crucial element, though, in Course-based prayer and healing, is that the healer or the prayer opens her own mind for healing. She turns within and seeks the truth, finding a quiet center of peace and stillness, and then she shares that healed perception with others. It is this inner transformation that is the key, and that lifts both the healer/prayer, and the one being prayed for, into a new and more healed state of mind in which there is at least a degree of release from illusions.
With that clarification in mind, I’d like to offer this simple healing prayer, based on the Course. It is written as a prayer fora person, but it would be very easy to adapt it as a prayer for a situation. It is not a prayer that you read or say, as such; each step is an instruction for something to happen within your own mind. I suggest that you have this prayer on your lap, and glance down at the instructions every so often. Alternatively, you could put the instructions on tape, leaving pauses between each step; or use this in a group, with one person reading the instructions aloud for everyone.
❈ Invite Jesus or the Holy Spirit to be with you in your awareness.
❈ Bring the person you are praying for to mind. Spend a moment reviewing the way you usually see him, which includes bringing to mind any specific sickness you think he has.
❈ Realize that the Holy Spirit does not see your brother this way at all. He sees him only as the perfect child of a perfect Father. Your role is to let His perception replace yours, to whatever degree you can.
❈ Take a minute or so to focus on your intention. You need to desire your brother’s healing, and you need to be as sincere as you can about letting your mind be changed from the way you currently see him. You may want to repeat a simple sentence such as, “Holy Spirit, I desire ’s healing, and I am willing to see him (or her) the way You do.”
❈ Now open your mind and let it be healed. You may want to try this visualization from Workbook Lesson 121:See him in your mind, and look at him a while….Try to find some little spark of brightness shining through the [sick] picture that you hold of him. Look at this picture until you see a light somewhere within it, and then try to let this light extend until it covers him, and makes the picture beautiful and good. (W-pI.121.11:1,3-4)
❈ As you see the little spark of light expand to cover all of him, feel your mind expanding to encompass the Holy Spirit’s perception of your brother. His body fades in importance; any temptation to perceive him as sick fades away; you are even able to overlook his sick mind which made the choice to experience a sick body. Instead, you just see him as the Holy Spirit does—a perfect child of a perfect Father.
❈ You realize that in truth, nothing separates the two of you. While you were seeing your brother as sick, you sensed a gulf between you. Now that you are seeing him with Christ’s vision, all you see is the light of truth in him, which you realize is exactly the same light as that within you.
❈ Let the love which comes from your new perception fill your mind and heart, flowing out towards your brother, and feel that love being returned from him to you. You may want to repeat to yourself, “You stand with me in light, [name].” (W-pI.87.2:3)