by Geri Walton ~ November 30th, 2008
If you’re looking for a new source of power, and haven’t tried prayer, you may want to give it a try. People claim they’ve received comfort, overcome addictions, cured deadly illnesses, and enjoyed various blessings, and it doesn’t appear to matter to whom you pray to or what religion you practice. What matters is the act, and the fact that you are willing to appeal to an entity or entities, known across the globe under a dozen different names that include God, YHWH (also spelled as Jehovah or Yahweh), Allah, diety, universal spirit, or higher power.
Numerous scientific studies have been undertaken to determine whether prayer works. The results seem to indicate people who regularly pray are less likely to become sick, and when they do become ill, they are more likely to heal quicker. People who pray also seem to have less depression and lower blood pressure. However, it’s not just those who pray who reap benefits. Intercessory prayers—prayers given without a person’s knowledge—apparently also affect the person who is prayed for in a positive way. For instance, in a study conducted in Kansas City, Missouri, at St. Luke’s Hospital in 1999, cardiac patients who were the receipents of intercessory prayers demonstrated an 11 percent improvement over individuals who did not receive prayers.
There are also blogs about prayer, and its benefits. For instance, Craig Farnsworth, who worked for the last 25 years in R&D, Product Management, and technical sales in the Accounting industry, learned he had a golf-ball sized tumor on the left parietal lobe of his brain, diagnosed as as Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), which is a common but aggressive type of brain tumor cancer. Since his diagnosis in July 2007, Farnsworth has undertaken what he refers to as a “Spiritual Journey,” and prayer is the cornerstone of his journey. If you’re interested in learning about Farnsworth’s journey, you can visit his blog at http://factbasedspiritguidedpath.blogspot.com/.
Some physicians vocally support prayer and see it as highly beneficial. For instance, Larry Dossey, M.D., has published Prayer Is Good Medicine: How to Reap the Healing Benefits of Prayer, a book that offers practical methods and illuminating explorations of the what, where, how, and why prayer affects health. Other doctors are going a step further, suggesting prayer, meditation, or other spiritual prescriptions, and medical schools are also joining the chorus, because, according to Medscape Today, “84 out of 125 American medical schools offer courses on religion, spirituality, and health.” So, prayer is becoming closer associated with medicine and healing.
The conclusion from all this seems to be that although there may be no definitive or clear cut study or studies as to whether or not prayer truly helps, prayer can’t hurt, and it maybe key to achieving total health—physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual, particularly when you view the results of opinion polls. They consistently demonstrate Americans pray regularly. One poll conducted by Fox News found, “Less than one in 10 Americans say they ‘never’ pray,” and, although Americans frequently pray for health reasons, they also pray to get their candidate elected, as was demonstrated in the most recent presidential campaign. Moreover, there are 86,800,000 sites with information related to prayer on the Internet.
If you’ve decided you want to pray, or if you’re interested in learning more about prayer, there are millions of sites that can help. However, I thought Beliefnet offered the most information in relation to religions and spirituality. You can find information on everything from Buddhism, Judaism, and Mormonism to Scientology, Catholicism, and Pagan and Earth-Based religions. Additionally, if you aren’t sure what you believe, they have Belief-O-Matic. It is an online test, which through a series of twenty questions you can determine your spiritual leanings. So, go ahead and take the test. You might be surprised!