Nearly 20 years ago, as a 4th year medical student, I researched and presented a paper about the power of prayer in medicine and healthcare.
I was pleasantly surprised that back then as now, the vast majority of patients welcome prayers for their health from friends and family members.
In fact, when asked, the majority want their treating doctors and nurses caring for their illnesses to pray for them as well.
I have seen situations where the IV medications fail but a sincere and heartfelt prayer calms. Where post-surgical complications seem to happen less when the patient is prayed for and knows it.
There continues to be research and debate as to the role of faith and the effectiveness of prayer, but there is absolutely no doubt and no need for measurements for the fact that most patients desire this intervention and see it as a positive action.
Whether it’s a placebo effect, simply positive emotional support and love energy, mind over matter or true providential intervention -this can be debated for eternity.
But as a proponent of holistic medicine and a health provider who has a strong faith system I try to address all aspect of well being, including the spiritual-offering and using prayer (which is free and harmless) as part of any overall traditional treatment plan for those open or requesting it.
Don’t be shy to ask your doctor to pray for your health as you might be surprised to hear she already is- as I and many of my colleagues do pray for patients on a regular basis.
And ultimately, in the end,remember it is a rare cold person that doesn’t want that extra heavenly utterings with their last drawn breath.
As a Christian, a physician and a Trinidadian, a land of many cultural and religious beliefs, I have had too many indisputable experiences to dispute that there is a God, who cannot fit in any box we try to put Him in, and He’s interested in our well-being, though He doesn’t necessarily show it in the way we’d expect. The challenge is how to access His mind, His will and His heart, access our own faith and trust in Him and align the both. I have no doubt that Faith has a place in medicine and yes, many physicians do pray for our patients and for ourselves as well. We deal in life and death situations everyday. It would almost be presumptuous not to pray.
I really appreciate your rich insights on the subject of faith and medicine. You could not have said it better and I am right there with you on this topic.
When calm returns to the spirit, through prayer, the vital functions are normalized and medicine works best.
Well said Golbert. Faith and medicine can coexist.
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