Is Prayer As Effective as Complementary Medicine?

In times of trouble, people have always sought their spiritual side as a way of coping. But, can prayer be as effective as complementary therapy?

In our society, medicine is seen as the great cure for whatever is ailing the body. In ancient times, prayers were offered up to gods of different religions as a first resort before medicines were applied. People believed that their faith would be rewarded.

Those with a strong spiritual connection in their lives are also praying. With so many diseases and illnesses with no known cure, prayer is the mainstay for many who are persevering and fighting for their lives.

Prayer was once thought to be relegated to church meetings, but it has made its way into the hospitals. Prayers offered at the bedside before surgery or after a disappointing diagnosis have been followed by often miraculous results. No one knows for sure why a person with a 25% chance of surviving a risky surgery comes through with flying colors. If the patient was an individual that believed in prayer, they would most likely give that as their answer.

So, researchers have decided to investigate prayer and its efficacy in conjunction with modern medicine. Studies have been conducted including one at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri. Cardiac patients were divided into two groups: one which was prayed for through intercessory prayer and the other which was not prayed for. The group of volunteers didn’t know anything except the patients’ first names. According to the possible outcomes for these patients, the group that was prayed for fared significantly better (11%) than the other group.

According to a fertility study conducted in Seoul, Korea in 2001, the pregnancy rate of a group of women that was prayed for was double that of a group that was not prayed for. In this study, the women all underwent in vitro fertilization. The ones praying for them were based in various countries around the world including the U.S.

What do both of these studies show? Prayer has a power that is as yet unidentified in the scientific world. Prayer is a common alternative therapy in the lives of many who have experienced illness in their lives. And, if they did not pray for themselves they enlisted the help of family and/or church members to pray for them.

The power of personal belief is strong. For a long time, people have explored the mind-body connection and how it can have positive effects even when doctors have given up hope. For now people will continue to use their faith to help in times of illness and researchers will continue to probe for more answers.