Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Prayer Works ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Prayer Works ; A Christian Science Perspective on Daily Life

Article excerpt

Headlines around the globe reported a recent scientific study conducted to determine the effects of prayer on patients undergoing a specific type of heart surgery (see The Christian Science Monitor, April 3).

Some of the headlines have been depressing for those like me who feel prayer has a vital role to play in healing: "If you want to get better, don't say a little prayer" (Mail & Guardian, South Africa); "Distant prayer has no effect on patients" (, India); "Health Warning: Praying for the sick makes them feel even worse" (Scotsman, UK).

My own life may not amount to a scientific study, but it's enough to convince me what does and doesn't work.

Through years of positive experiences of the effects of prayer, I know that God heals as clearly as I know that the sun shines! Consequently, like multitudes around the globe, I don't need prayer studies to come up positive in order to convince me of God's healing love.

Negative results, though, may convince some who might otherwise explore a spiritual approach to healthcare and problem-solving to look away from God as a "very present help in trouble" (Ps. 46:1). I ache for anyone who might be deterred by the results of this well- meaning and well-publicized research project, conducted at six US medical centers.

I don't doubt that within the scientific framework in which they operate, the methods and ethics of those conducting the study have been impeccable. A significant question, though, for all kinds of prayer advocates, would have to be, "What kind of prayer was actually being tested?" Apart, perhaps, from those requested to do the praying, the general answer might be not mine!

From my own perspective, as one who bases his prayer on the model of the spiritual understanding of the master healer, Christ Jesus - as explained in Mary Baker Eddy's "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures" - that not mine certainly resonates. …

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