Sunday, May 19, 2013

Power in Prayer

Power of Prayer
The power of prayer in healing is layered with much conflict, and possibly controversy. An article from Medicine Net explains that "If you're religious, this is God-given. If you're not religious, then it comes from the brain." It also states that religious people tend to live healthier lives.
News Max Health states: “An exhaustive analysis of more than 1,500 reputable medical studies “indicates people who are more religious and pray more have better mental and physical health,” Koenig says. “And out of 125 studies that looked at the link between health and regular worship, 85 showed regular churchgoers live longer.
(From the Life of George Albert Smith*)- “When George Albert Smith was a child, he was afflicted with typhoid fever. The doctor who diagnosed him told his mother that he should stay in bed for three weeks, eat no solid food, and drink some coffee. President Smith later recalled:
“When he went away, I told mother that I didn’t want any coffee. I had been taught… not to use coffee.
Young George Albert Smith asked instead for a blessing, which he received from his home teacher.
“When the doctor came the next morning I was playing outside with the other children. He was surprised. He examined me and discovered that my fever was gone and that I seemed to be well.
“I was grateful to the Lord for my recovery. I was sure that he had healed me.”
Though there may be no concrete evidence to these allegations, there seems to be a pattern among these articles. However, looking to play Devil’s Advocate, there seems to be proof on the matter that suggests that prayer has not, and cannot help. “In the largest study of its kind, researchers found that having people pray for heart bypass surgery patients had no effect on their recovery. In fact, patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications.”¹
“Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found.”²
“Intercessory prayer has been the subject of scientific study since at least the nineteenth century, when an English scientist, assuming that kings were prayed for more often than others, sought to find out whether those prayers were answered. He concluded that they were not, but that prayer might be a comfort to the people praying anyway.”³
The articles summing up the negative powers of prayer happen to be mainstream news articles, which is purely coincidental. The evidence suggests both pros and cons on the subject. In educating ourselves, we need always remember to take stock of all the information, and rely on what we have experienced, keeping an open mind to all things. Some things do not have to be seen in order to exist, even science can agree with that argument.
  1. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/12082681/ns/health-heart_health/t/power-prayer-flunks-unusual-test/#.UHyCq67z2Fo
  2. http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html?pagewanted=all
  3. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090617154401.htm
*Excerpt from: Teachings of Presidents of the (LDS) Church: George Albert Smith, 2010
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