Prayer Has Positive And Healing Effects
PRAYER HAS POSITIVE AND HEALING EFFECTS
“Sometimes when I stand in some corner of the camp, my feet planted on your earth, my eyes raised towards your Heaven, tears sometimes run down my face, tears of deep emotion and gratitude…. For once you have begun to walk with God, you need only keep on walking with God and all life becomes one long stroll, a marvellous feeling”.
—— Jewish girl, Ester “Etty” Hillesum,
who maintain a diary while in
concentration camp in Auschwitz
Prayer is a medium to communicate with God or Creator and majority of people believe in God and use this medium of conversation with God and most of them pray regularly and sincerely due to their firm faith in the superpower. Prayers are performed as a routine for asking some help or for thanks giving. Prayer has healing power and all over the world medical community is starting to experience it as it reduces the anxiety, fear, aggression and anger replacing with contentment, peace, happiness and wellbeing.
“Spirituality means the ability to find peace and happiness in an imperfect world. Acceptance, faith, forgiveness, peace and love are the traits that define spirituality for me. These characteristics always appear in those who achieve unexpected healing of serious illness. Most physicians won’t ‘try God’ until the patient is near death. Then they may prescribe a hope and a prayer. I believe it is far better to make a connection with patient’s spiritual beliefs earlier. A person who believes in a benevolent higher power has a potent reason for hope and hope is physiologic5
Most doctors acknowledge cases that appear to defy the normal course of nature. The book “Spontaneous Regression of Cancer” by the former president of the American College of Surgeons details 176 such cases. Even so, these remissions represent a very small percentage of the people with cancer who have been prayed for. The medical literature now estimates that perhaps two or three out of every 1,000 people with cancer will experience such ‘cures’ apparently unrelated to treatment.
Prayers are usually done to gain something such as health or cure or prevention of a sickness. Prayers are maximally done for its healing effects16, a relief from a sickness or a miracle to cure from illness. Though Francis Galton in 1872, denied the efficacy of prayer on longevity17 but people believe that prayer gives wellbeing, health and longevity which also indicated by various studies of modern researches.
German citizen Kirchen Horst was admitted to a hospital in Gurgaon in July 2002 with a rare perforation of the large intestine called “caecal blow out”. A CT scan revealed a tumor of the large intestine. I immediately operated and found the tumour obstructing the left side of the colon. The pressure in the proximal colon went up so much that the caecum literally blew open, not a very common occurrence. A major part of the colon was the removed and the remaining ends joined. The patient’s condition started to improve. On the third day, however, he developed a sudden and severe pain in the abdomen and started deteriorating fast. A second operation was hurriedly performed the same day and I was surprised to discover a spontaneous rupture of the gall bladder, another rarity with a very high mortality rate. The patient again began improving but developed faecal fistula (opening of the colon outside the faecal matter coming out) this time. So, a third operation and an ileostomy were performed. But his wounds refused to heal. He developed a “burst abdomen” (which was subsequently repaired) and became very weak and emaciated. I treated him with medicines and nursing care, in conjunction with my daily personal attention, advice about nutrition and, of course, prayer. After four days of hovering between life and death, he came out of septicaemia and gradually improved and was discharged after two months. The reason I mention this case is because Kirchen was also a man of deep spiritual beliefs and inquisitive about Hinduism, which is why he had come to India in the first place. By the time I met him, he already possessed a collection of various stone Shiv lingams collected from all over India. In the evenings, in his hospital room, we would often sit together and offer silent prayers together for a few minutes for his recovery. That, I think, was sufficient.
Prayer can be defined as a conscious relationship with God or whatever one recognizes as the creative and organizing force of the universe. Prayer is the psychological boost of knowing that God or a supernatural power is on your side. Intercessory prayer is one which is done for another’s benefit. Sir Francis Galton, English Anthropologist, argued that prayers are effective and can be proved scientifically. The landmark study of Randolf C. Byrd, performed at San Francisco General Hospital, and a randomized controlled trial by William S. Harris proved the efficacy of intercessory prayer, though due to certain flaws, it was later deemed as “failing to show a significant benefit of intercessory prayer”. It was seen that these contradictory studies were performed by persons performing intercessory prayer as a routine part of their jobs rather than from the core of their hearts. People forget that prayer is serious business. One has to do it with total concentration as prayer is a conversation with God. Studying the phenomenon scientifically is difficult as both prayer and science operate at different levels. Richard Sloan, Professor of Behavioural medicine, Columbia University, calls the scientific testing of the efficacy of prayer as “violence to the phenomenon of prayer”. People sarcastically say that “when you talk to God it is called prayer and when God talks to you it is called “psychosis”, but Mother Teresa said “Prayer is simply talking to God. He speaks to us, we listen; we speak to Him, He listens. A two-way process: speaking and listenting24.
When I initially began praying for patients, I did so only for those operated upon by me. The outcome of any surgery is, of course, very important for a surgeon; if the patient recovers without any complication the surgeon is considered to be good but, if not, he is regarded as somewhat less than competent. Though healing and development of complications during and after a surgical procedure are not under the direct control of a surgeon, if anything untoward happens to the patient after he or she goes under the scalpel, the blame falls on the surgeon. So, naturally, I was concerned. It was an act of selfishness, but then it’s not very easy to turn selfless overnight. The longing for fame and a flourishing practice puts a lot of pressure on a young 28-year-old doctor, as I was at the time, when he has just started on his career path. Whenever I operated on a seriously ill patient, or performed any major life-threatening surgery, I would pray more earnestly and for longer periods. This was because I felt that success or failure here could bring fame or shame at once. Today, however, being older and more spiritually mature, I have realised that prayer is a different ball game and calls for a pure heart and mind to get God to listen. Here, selfishness has no place. A prayer with some direct or indirect personal benefits may not be very effective.
I feel that prayer meditation, relaxation techniques and spirituality have a positive and healing effects on our lives, so maintain these practices at home and fill your home with positive energy and healing effects.
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