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.
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