Praying for Healing May Heal, If Not Just for the One Doing the Praying

I know I do.  A new study says most Americans pray for healing.

When my husband had minor surgery several weeks ago, I talked to God continuously.  And now that the surgery was a success, I still do because the knee stiffness he had and hard time walking and getting up doesn't seem to be attributable to the hernia, but something else.  His surgeon wants him to see a cardiologist.

I've been burning up the wires to the heavens.

Some people even believe in the "laying on of hands."  I first became acquainted with this when I lived in the Midwest and many of my friends were evangelical Christians, who believe that, when someone is ill or in pain, the touching of this person by people who feel divinely inspired will make him better.

I have to confess, I never really saw it work, and I'm reminded of a heartbreaking piece on TV about this, a man in a wheelchair who was paralyzed believing desperately, fervently, that he would walk again if just the right hands lay upon him.  In the end, he went home in the wheelchair. 

It's not that uncommon, apparently, although I never saw it until I lived for a short time in Minnesota.  "The most surprising finding is that more than a quarter of all Americans have practiced laying on of hands — and nearly one in five has done so on multiple occasions,” says Jeff Levin, Ph.D., M.P.H., University Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health and director of the Program on Religion and Population Health at Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion, at newswise.com.

Yes, I, too, have joined that number but I admit, I'm very skeptical.  But as for praying for healing, I do that all the time.  Every day when I run, I pray for a long list of people who have illnesses or have lost someone.  I don't know that anyone has been cured, but it makes me feel better, and it didn't stop me from asking my church to continue to pray for my husband, and whatever may be causing the problem with the swelling of his knees.


“Outside of belief in God, there may be no more ubiquitous religious expression in the U.S. than use of healing prayer,” Levin says.

As my husband waited for his surgery to begin, he said he really envied me that I had so much faith.  I told him that I didn't know if there really was a God up there hearing me.  But it made me feel better to do it. "That's what I'm jealous of," he said.  "I wish I could do that."

I recently had a conversation with my almost-15-year-old son, who says he doesn't believe in God, either, like his father.  That kind of broke my heart.  True, they are both Jewish and I believe Jews have a different conception of death and the afterlife.  But why not take advantage of the healing you get from praying for it?

The findings also suggest that prayer may be among the most widely used forms of treatment for medical problems, rather than a “fringe activity” as many people might believe, Levin adds.

I know when I was trying to get pregnant, I prayed all the time.  When I had two miscarriages, I was angry and stopped, for a while.  But I went back and I'm not saying that's how I finally got pregnant with our son, but I do believe there was some of that magic in there.  If nothing else, it's comforting.  It may not have one bit of an impact on the medical problem but who doesn't want to try to feel better about something that can make you scared and afraid?






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