There seems to be an urgency when it comes to health care. Perhaps, because of this, more consideration is being given to thought, spirituality, and the powerful connection they have to well-being.
Last year, the American Psychological Association revealed that the use of prayer for health concerns significantly increased from forty-three percent in 2002 to forty-nine percent in 2007.
Many studies have examined the effectiveness of prayer. Most of these studies state that prayer improves health. Some suggest otherwise.
Why the confusion?
If you analyzed the effects of 100 different medications used to treat a specific problem, you wouldn’t declare, “Medicine does not work!” if only one was found to be beneficial for treating the problem. Most likely, you would say, “Here is the one that helps.”
Just as all medications are not the same, not all prayers are the same.
I wrote in a column two weeks ago: “It would be difficult to grasp the complete driving ability of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class coupe if the test-drivers were fifteen-year-olds from your neighborhood driver education class. Just so, each test subject during a study of prayer’s ability to heal may not, as yet, be spiritually prepared to apply the full might of divine power.” Jesus’ disciples couldn’t always heal as quickly or completely as he did. Yet, the Bible implies that as they gained spiritual maturity some were able to perform many substantial cures.
Utilizing prayer under all circumstances is not always an easy task. After I married my wife, Joanne, and whenever I got the hiccups, a race for relief would break out between my prayer and her home-remedy of a spoonful of jelly. If I couldn't make the hiccups disappear through prayer before Joanne arrived with her spoon, I was supposed to swallow the sugary solution.
However, absolutely every time, prayer won out. Praying caused the hiccups to completely stop before Joanne could dash to the kitchen and return with the jelly.
I don't know if you have ever tried praying while under pressure, but it took a concerted effort to keep my thought on the divine power to bring relief while hearing Joanne's shoes on the tile floor as she ran to the kitchen.
Rather than being intimidated when hearing the sound of our utensil drawer opening, the silverware clanging, the drawer slamming shut, the refrigerator door opening and closing, and Joanne sprinting back with the spoonful of jelly, I’d endeavor to feel the spiritual conviction of a divine love and law at work.
Our family-friendly contest probably won't ever be seen as scientific evidence of prayer’s healing ability. It may not carry much weight in the growing understanding of the relevance of spirituality’s impact on health. And I don’t even expect leading researchers, medical educators, or experts on the relationship between spirituality and health to come knocking at our door to learn more of our experience.
Yet, prayer's success rate in our competition does tell me something, even though it may be shrugged off as anecdotal. I recognize a consistent pattern of betterment when I combine my hiccups vanishing with other health outcomes that prayer has produced. I have seen skin cancer, alcohol poisoning, kidney failure, and many other conditions cured.
Although the success rate of all healing methods humanity uses is not perfect, the endeavor to alleviate pain and suffering is commendable. As long as there is an urgency for health, the evaluation of spiritual methods will accelerate. Every advance is a needed and positive step.
– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: keithwommack.com