Is Prayer for Healing Effective?
I Believe Prayer is Effective in the Healing Process
Some people believe that if science cannot prove it, then it doesn’t exist. Many treatment centers support the use of prayer as part of a successful treatment program. In the same way as we put ice on a bruised ankle to reduce swelling, people pray to bring healing to illness. So, whether science can prove it or not, along with many people, I believe in the healing power of prayer.
For many years I have not been able to afford medical insurance. In order to keep illness and the cost of medical treatment down, prayer is a significant part of my life.
I recognize that everyone has a personal frame of reference to their “higher power” or “god”. For profession, I would like to state that my higher power is the Almighty God, three spirits in one. No offense is intended when I use the phrase higher power. That phrase is a full discussion on its own. For now, I encourage all to read this hub keeping the focus on the topic of prayer and its place in the alternative healing process.
People pray for many things, however, when people pray for healing it is sometimes called faith healing. Faith healing is when illness or a debilitating physical condition is healed through supernatural means from a higher power or an intervention of God through a miracle.
There are three types of prayer people refer to. They are all believed to be effective, however the manner in which the prayer is carried out is slightly different. One can pray for oneself or others can pray for someone else as an intercessor or distant prayer.
The Miracle of Prayer
A couple of years ago, I was rushed to the hospital due to severe heart palpitations, nausea, and all of the symptoms of a heart attack. Almost immediately upon being admitted, my husband called the church secretary and within minutes thousands of people began praying for me. Initial tests showed significant heart trauma, however, the next day, the doctors were surprised that they could find no evidence of any kind of trauma to my heart. I was discharged and the doctor, not having anything else to state, wrote "Unidentified Heart Trauma" on my chart.
- Praying for Oneself
For faith healing, we can pray directly to the Lord for healing of ourselves or others. When we pray for ourselves, we seek a quiet place and ask for healing from our higher power.
- Intercessory Prayer
People who are intercessory prayers usually feel that they have a “calling” to pray for others. They are called intercessors. An intercessor prays for a higher power to intercede on behalf of another person, usually for recovery from a health crisis.
For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.” (NIV)
- Distant Prayer
Distant prayer is a form of intercessory prayer. Distant prayer is when someone prays for a person who he or she has never met. Typically, a request is made to the church or other group with faith. They pray for the person for healing.
Miracle Faith Healing Shrines
When healing seems hopeless, some people visit religious shrines, such as the French shrine at Lourdes which is internationally reputed for having therapeutic powers. It is the most visited shrine in the world. Reports of miracles of our Lady of Lourdes are thoroughly examined and evidence indicates that there are many cases of verifiable healing.
Medical Institutions Consider Faith Healing
Medical treatment centers consider prayer to be a Complementary Alternative Medical treatment (CAM). In fact, The American Cancer Society recognizes faith healing as a component of the healing process and incorporates faith healing as part of the overall treatment schedule. The Cancer Treatment Centers of America also utilizes prayer as a significant part of their treatment program.
Notable Report on Prayer as a Complementary Alternative Medicine Solution (CAM)
The report - Prevalence of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use in Cancer Patients During Treatment was published in partnership with the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer (MASCC). The report shows that 91% of patients undergoing cancer treatment indicated that they use at least one form of CAM. The most widely used forms of CAM were prayer, relaxation and exercise.
Personal Experience With Faith Healing at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America
I share the following story as a personal testament of my experience with medical treatment centers and how open they are toward using prayer for healing.
It was four years ago that a friend called to break the news to me that she had breast cancer and needed to go in for treatment. She asked if I would pray for her. Of course, I did. Somehow, immediately I knew that whatever treatment was lined up for her would be a success. She told me she had selected the Cancer Treatment Centers of America to administer treatment. I volunteered to accompany her to her first series of treatments which would take place in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We live in California, so it was a big deal. Prior to treatment, the Cancer Treatment Centers of America sends out a packet of information to the patient. The packet contains information that allows the patient and the person accompanying the patient to become familiar with the treatment process. I reviewed the information and discovered Cancer Treatment Centers of America's belief in prayer and how important they consider prayer as part of the overall treatment process.
Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER)
- SEER Web Site
A premier source for cancer statistics in the US. We collect incidence, prevalence and survival data and publish reports on these and cancer mortality. For those interested in cancer statistics and surveillance methods.
While going through treatment, the treatment center supplies a shuttle bus from the patient's housing location to the treatment center. On the shuttle bus, we hear uplifting Christian music playing in the background. While at the center, we are constantly aware that people are praying for healing of all the patients.
My friend is now cancer free and feeling great. We attribute her healing to the presence of spiritual guidance. Statistics show that the Cancer Treatment Centers of America has a higher rate of success than other treatment centers.
Scientific View on Faith and Prayer for Healing
Science shows that our belief system and faith in the treatment process goes a long way toward helping us heal. How we feel sends stimulants to various parts of the brain, producing signals that help ward off negative impulses.
Prayer Works as an Enhancement to Your Overall Healing Process
Being calm and peaceful is an important part of recovery. If prayer brings about a peaceful feeling and calm attitude and if being in that calm state is helpful to the recovery process, then I say, yes, prayer is effective in the healing process.
The following video is a prayer video 2:44 in length, with beautiful music, scenes, and words so that you can also pray along with the video narrator.
This prayer summons healing for ourselves as we offer ourselves up to our Healer.
Upon watching this video, you may develop a higher level of peacefulness and calm. This does happen to be one of the effects of prayer.
A Prayer for Personal Healing - Pray to be Healed and Recover
Cancer Treatment Centers of America – Spiritual Support
Cancer Treatment Centers of America - Breast Cancer Survival Statistics and Results
Marlene Bertrand is a certified pastoral counselor focusing on living life faithfully.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Questions & Answers
© 2012 Marlene Bertrand