Amen: Prayer for Health

The vast majority of people belong to one religion or another. In fact, about 95% of the American population believes in God. Therefore, when sick or in pain, it is common to pray for health and well being. Does it work? Studies today are focusing on the validity of prayer for health. The alternative to traditional treatments can be used to help a person both physically and spiritually, but studies are now looking at whether prayer can be used in place of other medical procedures or if it is simply something to use in conjunction with traditional treatment options.

Logically, it is undeniable that prayer can help your with mental conditions. Overall, the belief in a higher power and heaven gives you a more positive outlook on life and your current medical situation. Stress if relieved and the mind is cleared to make better health decisions. Those who pray are also joining a larger support group of others who are also religiously inclines, so it brings a sense of community to the person who prays. All of these things can, and in most cases do, improve health.

The question remains, however, if prayer can actually physically bring healing. Studies have been done in which patients were split into three groups—one group received no prayers from a large congregation, one group received these prayers and was told about it, and the last group received these prayers but was told they may or may not receive them. This blind study was largely inconclusive, and because it could not be determined whether the patients themselves were praying or whether outside friends and family members were praying, it was impossible to control such studies.

As with many alternative therapy options, however, advocates will simply say that it can’t hurt. This is true. Prayer costs nothing and takes little time, so when used in conjunction with typical medical procedures it can only improve the situation. The medical field began in ancient times as a branch of religion, with many doctors and the nursing staff being religious leaders. Today this is not the case, but most hospitals still employ members of the clergy to visit patients if wanted.

Because studies are inconclusive, it may be very unproductive to use prayer in place of other medical treatment. Discuss with your doctor and religious leaders the best course of action for you and your medical situation, and if praying makes you feel more positive about your condition, continue the practice.

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