Prayer and the Five Stages of Healing
Emmy Lou Belcher
Former Catholic priest Ron Roth introduces his book with the following words by Padre Pio: “One seeks God in books; one finds him in prayer.” Ironically, Roth has written a book about prayer and healing. Well versed in traditions other than his own, it is, however, a document more useful to those who follow the Christian tradition or those who are metaphysically inclined—such as the Unity congregations where Roth has often presented workshops— than to seekers of other paths. And although a fine guide, at times the text seems overfull, calling for more trust by the writers that their basic information is sufficiently useful and doesn’t need to be surrounded with so much elucidation.
In the first part of his book, Roth gives the reader five aspects of spiritual life to anchor one’s journey—awakening, purification, illumination, the dark night of the soul, and divine union—then explains what each of these “healing” steps mean and how each corresponds to prayer. In the second part of the book, Roth illustrates ways he has utilized these aspects in his own prayer life, starting with the exploration of the chakras, “centers of psychospiritual consciousness derived from Eastern yoga,” and continuing with explanations of the other forms of prayer life he uses: praying in the energy of the saints, silence and solitude, invoking the sacred (rituals) and forgiveness. His expertise in all these areas is extensive, so even people who are not metaphysical and do not agree with some of the author’s assumptions of supernaturalism will still find Roth’s book illuminating.