Research Finds Links Between Prayer, Health, and Healing
For many people of faith, prayer has long been a regular part of the healing process. The practice does not seem to be affected by where, or even if, a person goes to church. In fact, 9 in 10 Americans have relied on healing prayer at some point in their lives, according to a research by the Gallup Organization.
The study found that 80 percent of respondents had prayed for their own healing. Nearly 90 percent had prayed for the healing of others. More than half reported participation in prayer groups, and about 25 percent said they had practiced laying on hands in which a person lays their hands on another and prays to impart spiritual blessings.
Does it Work?
Although questions about prayer and healing can fill hours of debate, the vast majority of research supports the idea that prayer can have positive effects on your physical wellbeing in addition to your spiritual wellbeing.
People who pray tend to have healthier lives. They are also less likely to get sick, according to the Handbook of Religion and Health, research that examined nearly 1,200 studies done on the effects of prayer on health.
Results compiled from the studies showed:
- People who have never attended church stay in the hospital three times longer than people who attend church regularly.
- Fatality rates for heart patients were 14 times higher for people who did not practice any form of religion.
- Seniors who never attend church had stroke rates that were twice as high as people who are attend services consistently.
- People who attend religious services live an average of five to seven years longer than people who don’t go to church.
Daily We Seek You
Whether you’re a healthcare professional, a friend or a family member trying to help where you can, caregivers can often find prayer and reflection an effective way to stay positive while dealing with what may be difficult physical, emotional and spiritual issues.
Sister Jane McConnell, director of Mission Integration at St. Vincent Evansville, has written a book of devotions focused on caregivers and those in need of healing. The book is called, Daily We Seek You: Reflections and Prayers for Individuals, Caregivers and Ministry Teams. It includes inspirational reflections and prayers for every day of the year. It also includes prayers for significant times along life’s journey and seasonal prayers to share with family and friends.
“My hope is that many who serve as healthcare workers, caregivers, on ministry teams, or who seek individual time for quiet and reflection will find these resources helpful in nurturing their own spirits and encouraging their hearts as they give so generously of themselves serving others in need,” writes Sister McConnell in the book’s introduction.
Daily We Seek You: Reflections and Prayers for Individuals, Caregivers and Ministry Teams may be purchased on Amazon.