Some History of the
Prayers for Healing Group
Elyse Curtis, Ph. D.
I first attended the New York Prayer for Healing Group in 1965 at the first New York ARE Center at 125 W. 16th Street. At that time, the group was facilitated by Nell Clairmonte and Shane Miller. Some of the original regulars were Daniel Livingston, Vernon Enoch, Jacob and Kathy Levie, and occasionally Lucille Kahn and Frank Bang. I brought Jeffery Furst (who later moved to the Beach and wrote Edgar Cayce’s Story of Jesus.) Joseph Meade and his wife, Madlyn, occasionally attended shortly before the center moved to 35th Street.
The format for the Prayer for Healing Group at that time was short and sweet: raise the force and send it out to accomplish the healing of others and self. It lasted about an hour: from 7:30-8:30 on Wednesdays. It was not a chatty study group. There were other groups for that purpose. (Besides the Search For God enquirer’s Group that met on Mondays, I started a group on Saturdays to discuss the readings in a social setting and a group on Sundays to study various books, one of which was That Ye May Heal.) The service of the group was to facilitate healing. We did an opening prayer, the alternate breathing, the head and neck exercise, the ar-ee-om, the Lord’s Prayer and a short meditation in which the affirmation was said three times. At the end, there was a 10 minute break and stretch. Incredibly, when we returned, there seemed to be more spiritual energy created from somewhere. Because of the precision of the meeting, no one slept, snored or became restless. We went into the silence and then into the prayers for healing sending out what we had raised to bless others according to God’s will and consequently receiving more through prayers only. There was no laying on of hands or transferring of anyone’s personal vibrations of unknown intent to others. First we prayed for each other, then our personal lists, then those on the prayer list. We ended with the 23rd Psalm.
A book with a chapter about the Prayers for Healing Group, We Are All Healers, was written by N.Y. Times columnist, Sally Hammond, who experienced personal healing from the group.
Two innovations that have gone national came out of the original NY Prayer for Healing Group.
Ø The first is praying for the person on your right.
It seemed to me repetitious that as we went around the circle we would pray for each other over and over, so I suggested that we pray for the person on our right. Everyone though it was a good idea, so we would call the name and pray for the person on our right as we went around the circle and everyone else would also pray for that person. Later people started embellishing it by saying, “I pass the light to…,“ etc.
Ø The second is the New Year’s Eve Midnight Meditation
My niece, Cassandra Roberson, who is a devote catholic, came to visit during the holiday season. I decided to take her to Christmas Eve midnight meditation at St. Patrick’s. I had no idea I needed tickets, so we were turned away. Following the tradition of Watch Night, I decided then that it would be a good idea if we had a New Year’s Eve Midnight meditation at the center. I conveyed this to Nell Clairmonte. She agreed, so we had our first New Year’s Eve Midnight Meditation at the center with a few of the regulars from the Prayer for Healing Group: Nell, Danny, Vernon and John. Nell then took the practice with her down to the Beach when she moved there.
The Prayer for Healing Group continued after the center moved to 35th St. However, after Nell Clairmonte, who was then the current Executive Director, moved to Virginia Beach to head the study Group department, and Shane Miller, her replacement, moved to Australia, other elements began to take over and the group seemed changed from its original format. After I moved to Virginia Beach in the 1970’s, the center closed and the original NY ARE affiliate started by Hugh Lynn Cayce and David Kahn in the 1960’s ceased functioning. However, the Prayer for Healing Group survived in private homes until the 1990’s when a second ARE of NY Center was formed by a different group of people and a new space was found on 28th St. The Prayer Group that met in Rosalind and Paul Dorogoff’s home then met at the center facilitated by Paul and Norman Curtis, continued at 30th St. and continued hosting the New Year’s Eve Midnight Meditation.
In 2013, Science of Light, the Transpersonal Ministry,* created by The Rev. Dr. Elyse Curtis, a member of the original Prayer for Healing Group of the first ARE of NY on 16th St. merged SOL’s New Year’s Eve “Breaking of the Bread” with the Midnight Meditation and celebrated the Eucharist “food for the soul” to “Mass, Mass,” a liturgy received on 16th St. where I lived after the ARE moved to 35th St.
In 2017, in lieu of the New Year’s Eve Midnight Meditation, because of construction in the building, the Prayer for Healing Group will be participating in a new Epiphany meditation celebrating the realization of the wise men and the meaning of their gifts.
Elyse Donathan Curtis, Ph. D., 2006, 2016