Tuesday , February 27 2024
What is unusual today about the use of prayer in healing is the rigorous research by scientists exploring the connection between prayer, spirituality, and physical healing.

Pursuing God Through Science

Pursuing God Through ScienceThe spiritual insights recorded in the Bible and many other books such as Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures have long been the basis for healing disease and addressing other health concerns. What is unusual today about the use of prayer in healing is the rigorous research by scientists exploring the connection between prayer, spirituality, and physical healing.

According to David Larson, MD, President of the National Institute for Healthcare Research, in the past ten years research focused on the effectiveness of prayer has nearly doubled. Dr. Mitchell Krucoff, who has been studying prayer and spirituality since 1996, commented, “…we’re seeing systematic investigations – clinical research – as well as position statements from professional societies supporting this research, …funding from Congress, …all of these studies, all the reports, are remarkably consistent in suggesting the potential measurable health benefit associated with prayer or spiritual interventions.”

Because there have been many studies on prayer, meta-analyses of prayer efficacy have also been conducted. One such review by David R. Hodge even investigated if the research supported the idea that God answered prayer for healing.

This quest for answers is not new, but it’s taking on a new look. It’s no secret that the public is using prayer for health purposes and that prayer has been reported as the most used integrative medical practice. One question now isn’t so much whether prayer is being used, but rather how the use of prayer can be implemented in a conventional health setting. What support can the patient expect from his physician if the patient desires the integrative medicine of prayer?

From his research, Harold G. Koenig, MD found that religious beliefs influenced medical decision-making and that taking a spiritual history is becoming a standard procedure during patient care – which may enhance the doctor-patient relationship. This understanding by the physician of the patient’s spiritual history will be a key component in giving the desired support to the patient. Koenig was interested in finding what benefits these religious beliefs gave in treating the patient and found that prayer was linked to a feeling of greater wellbeing, with accompanying lower rates of anxiety, depression, and suicide. He also found that the actual physiological condition improved with the use of prayer.

Not only is prayer now being understood as helpful in the healing process, but the research into how prayer works is also expanding.

Dr. Eben Alexander, neurosurgeon and author of Proof of Heaven, is leading the field in a new direction when he states, “Consciousness is the thing that exists. It is the support, the basis on which all of the universe is based. Consciousness is our oneness with the Divine. It is pure God-given love and power. It’s time for brain science, mind science, physics, cosmology, to move from kindergarten up into first grade and realize we will never truly understand consciousness with that simplistic materialist mindset.”

Prayer has been an effective method of healing for me, so I enthusiastically look forward to further scientific results on the healing power of prayer and to our expanded understanding of our relation to the Divine. Each step in our understanding of this relationship will undoubtedly lead to new and higher views of self, which will lead to an increased sense of health. Something everyone can look forward to!

©GLOW IMAGES. Models used for illustrative purposes.

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.

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  1. I’m irreligious, but I think that prayer does work, as does meditation and other such exercises. Placebos work, too.

    I was in the hospital for two months and I always signed up for chaplains, pastors, psychologists, etc. Hey, we all need all the help we can muster! I even went to a hypnotist before an operation, once. And I think it worked.

    I take them seriously and eschew fruitless arguments and derive the utmost I can from what others tell me.

    • Bliffle, prayer and meditation are very similar processes, but the latter comes free of baloney.

      Placebos work for a while, but I haven’t seen any evidence of anybody being cured of serious infectious diseases by taking sugar pills. Have you?

      • I don’t think prayer ‘works’, in the sense of telling god or the universe what to do, but I think it has a calming effect on the true believer. Embattled soldiers may fight more valiantly and save themselves if they believe that the cavalry is on the way, even if it isn’t. Maybe that’s at the core of the theory of military obedience.

  2. This article just touches the minute tip of the iceberg. When you have read and studied Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy (written in 1876) and have healed yourself of every problem you encounter in your daily life, you will soon realize that studying this book and applying the Truths to every experience and every problem or sickness, you will have no doubt that mind is all powerful as Mind is God and we reflect that mind and it is all powerful. There is no disease that cannot be healed and no fear of not healing yourself when you fully understand that all functions of the body are under the control of mind.

    • I can’t decide which is worse, your determined stupidity and ignorance or the dangerous twaddle you are coming out with.

      I invite you to infect yourself with a fatal disease and cure it by controlling the functions of your body with your mind.

      If you show me documentation from a doctor that you have such a disease and later documentation confirming that you are cured and did not use and medicine, we can talk. Until then, please don’t be such an ass…

  3. But, IMO, the whole idea of “pursuing god through science” is bogus. “God” and “science” are not merely antithetical ideas, they aren’t even in the same universe. “God” is limited to a very small domain of human-centered (anthropomorphic) concerns, none of which have any real hope of dealing with science.

    “God” issues deal with faith and acceptance, science deals with discovery and doubt. They are not complementary nor are they exclusive. But science moves forward and has promise of illuminating the future while “god” issues are condemned to always justifying themselves.