From: MEDICAL TRIBUNE, April 16, 2003, 35th year/No. 16

The Power of Spirituality - Healing through Prayer

The effect of prayer for the sick is increasingly becoming a topic for medicine based on evidence. The results are surprising. Even unbelievers can be helped by praying for them, no matter how serious their illness is. The effect of different types of prayers in vitro and in vivo was investigated in numerous tests. Which results were found out by the scientists and what type of prayers are most useful for healing will be conveyed to you in the following article.

The Power of Prayer - The spiritual dimension of Healing

Vienna- Although  natural science is cut to suit the logic of the western world (from which it is beginning to withdraw since quantum mechanics), other laws are valid in the area of psyche and most certainly in the domain of spirituality.

In order to be “successful” in the latter domain, it is necessary to set one’s little self in the background to make place for a greater reality. It is not about “fighting” the disease with the “drug” called prayer. According  to C. G. Jung- and here we are still in the domain of the psyche- an authority which involves and “knows” much more than the “small” self, which is only a superficial phenomenon of conciousness. What seems to be good from the narrow-minded view of the ego, does not necessarily have to be good for this inner authority. Accordingly, OSCAR WILDE said: “when the gods want to punish us, they hear our prayers”.

At Kyushu University at Fukoka, Japan, five cases of spontaneous remission of cancer were examined by the medical faculty. University Professor Dr. YUJIRO IKEMI found astounding parallels. The patients did not, as commonly observed, lapse into depression, hopelessness, lethargie and fear of death, when they heard the diagnosis; instead they shared a type of attitude of prayer. There was no begging for healing, no fighting against the cancer, but rather “surrender and gratefulness towards God, combined with the belief that, no matter what happened, God’s will would be fulfilled.” Not a specific formula seems to facilitate healing, but rather forgetting aboutl formulas altogether. One of the most important factors for healing is, not absolutely expecting healing.

For Father JAMES MANJAKAL, a Catholic charismatic priest from Kerala in Southern India, at whose retreats in the whole world (and also regularly in Austria) healings take place, two things have to be present; the person must be healed by the Holy Spirit and he or she must claim this healing for themselves and believe in it. Apart from the fact that, one cannot attend these retreats passively, rather they are extremely hard spiritual work. One example is Anna from Wr. Neustadt. Years ago she had a car accident. Broken vertebra, neck and collarbone were treated, the pain was diminished, but only temporarily. Before Easter 2000, the pain became so severe that she thought she couldn’t  even carry a half liter of milk. During the retreat with Father James at Wr. Neustadt she felt a hand gently stroking her back during the prayer. She thought, “who wants something from me?”, she turned around, but nobody had touched her. But since that time she is able to carry her groceries completely normally and without pain. Healings may be spontaneous but can also take place gradually. Father James: “I have seen people give testimony of their healing, immediately after the prayer, at a time when they still had pain and couldn’t see any visible signs of change in their condition. But after some days they experienced a miraculous healing.” Maybe it is a typical placebo effect – but placebo is only the collective name for all effects, which cannot be explained by science. RH

Prayer and Healing

Prayer serves Medicine

VIENNA – In the USA a branch of science has been established  which studies the effect of prayers on health and  healing. There are already hundreds of studies and repeatedly researchers come up with new results which are quite notable.

Scientific historians realize that an area of knowledge which does not conform to predominant ideas can be ignored as if it did not exist, notwithstanding it’s scientific validity. Scientists may also have blind spots. It is the opinion of internist Dr. LARRY DOSSEY, USA, that everything which significantly influences bodily functions whether it be a bacteria or a virus, a drug, a surgical operation or a prayer, is a legitimate object of medical interest. According to him, prayer can and should be scientifically studied, although prayer requires no scientific justification or legitimisation.

Grand Scale Studies on Prayer

At any rate, in the States a new field of research developed from these studies. When Prof. JOHN ASTIN from the Medical Faculty of the University of Maryland analysed 23 studies on different methods of healing by proxy, he discovered a healing effect in 57% of the cases. Prof. DALE MATTHEWS from Georgetown University (USA) comes to the conclusion, after evaluating 325 studies, that prayer helps and heals. Therefore he now counts among his friends only  “a few agnostic fleas, who ask themselves if a there is such a thing as a dog”.
In over 75 percent of the tests evidence has been found that a religious life helps to prevent illness, aids a speedier recovery and fosters longevity.  A test  using 91,909 persons in Washington produced the following results: church-goers are 50% less likely to develop disease of the coronary vessels than the religiously abstinent, they have 56% less chance of getting emphysema,  are 74% less likely to contact cirrhosis and 53% less likely to commit suicide.

Go to the previous page