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I Don’t Want to Hear That!

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So said a great number of clinicians and physicians when a research article published findings that indicated prayer was helpful in improving vision and hearing.

According to the Southern Medical Journal editor, and as reported in the September issue of the Duke University newsletter, “Crossroads, Exploring Research on Religion, Spirituality, and Health,” there was great controversy as to whether to report the study. When it was reported, the editor received much negative feedback from the readers for publishing the article. The newsletter continued by stating, “Many clinicians and scientists simply ignored or dismissed these findings as implausible.”

The investigators who had done the research, from the departments of religious studies at Indiana University (Bloomington) and theological studies at St. Louis University (St. Louis), examined the effects of proximal in-person intercessory prayer on 24 subjects with impaired hearing and/or vision. The reported results indicated a significant improvement in hearing and vision. They also recommended that additional study was warranted to determine whether prayer might be valuable as an adjunct to standard medical care.

Ignoring the power or influence of prayer on health is not new. An early writer in the area of the power of prayer on issues of health, Mary Baker Eddy, found that many scientists and physicians had difficulty accepting her findings with reference to the importance of prayer on health. In her seminal work, Science and Health, she states, “Are we benefited by praying? Yes, the desire which goes forth hungering after righteousness is blessed of our Father, and it does not return unto us void.”

Is it difficult to accept the influence prayer has on health?

I don’t find it difficult because for decades I have turned to prayer consistently on health issues – and have consistently been helped. I don’t need a study to validate its effectiveness, because I’ve experienced its benefits.

Hopefully, the investigators’ recommendation of additional study will be followed. And this will in turn lead to more acceptance of prayer as being a valuable resource for all health needs.

photo from Stock Images/glowimages.com

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About Don Ingwerson

Previously in the education sector as Superintendent of Schools, Don Ingwerson now serves as the media and legislative liaison for Christian Science in Southern California and corrects misconceptions about Christian Science. Don is a frequent blogger about health and spirituality.
  • BettyJo Cost

    Don,
    Your comment, “for decades I have turned to prayer consistently on health issues – and have consistently been helped. I don’t need a study to validate its effectiveness, because I’ve experienced its benefits.”
    I wasn’t raised as a Christian Scientist, and yet when I was only three and in the LA Children’s Hospital in 1934 paralyzed with polio from the neck down, I was completely healed by thoughts occurring to me. At age eight, I was healed in a doctor’s office similarly by thoughts. The doctor told my mother that I needed to have skin grafting for 3rd degree burns over 60% of my body. I began healing the moment I left the doctor’s office. I knew at that young age that I would never need skin grafting. I discovered Christian Science in my mid twenties, and have had hundreds of healings large and small from my own prayers and the support of Christian Science practitioners. Healing was proven in my experience every time I was gravely ill. Just before I became a Christian Scientist—I wanted to learn how one can be healed by thoughts—I realized that my early healings were do to the collective prayers Christians of all faiths were praying. After becoming a Christian Scientist, I learned to listen to “our” Father-Mother, God. No study has ever had to prove its healing effects to me. I have raised children and helped raise step children on the Principles of Christian Science. I couldn’t be more grateful for this study!!

  • Don Ingwerson

    Betty Jo, It has been a long time since I have heard from you. Thanks for your comment on the blog and I remember reading your book.