AN AMAZING FACT: Did you know that nearly 80 percent of Americans believe spiritual faith and prayer can help people recover from illness or injury? In a survey of 269 doctors in the American Academy of Family Physicians, 99 percent said religious beliefs can contribute to healing. When asked about personal experiences, 63 percent said God had intervened to improve their own medical conditions.
“Many Americans rely on prayer and spirituality for the benefit of health,” said Stephen E. Straus, MD, former director of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Indeed, a 2004 survey of more than 31,000 adults conducted by researchers at the National Center for Health
Statistics and NCCAM found that prayer was the most commonly used practice among all the approaches mentioned in the survey.
In one study in the American Journal of Health Promotion (May-June 2005) it was discovered that people who pray have more favorable health-related behaviors, have less preventive care visits, and are more satisfied with the services of their medical care. About 47 percent of the subjects in this study prayed for their health and 90 percent believed that prayer improved their health.
So compelling is the evidence for the “faith factor” that even prestigious medical journals like the Archives of Internal Medicine have developed spiritual questionnaires to assess a patient’s level of trust in God. Science indeed has recognized what every person of faith has known intuitively for centuries—trusting God can be very beneficial to your health!
Paul encourages the Philippian believers to pray about everything. What is the result? “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding [expectations] will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:7). James actually gives us clear instructions on praying for the sick. “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up” (James 5:14, 15).
Sometimes God chooses to miraculously heal our bodies, but what is assured is that our sins will be forgiven and we will enjoy everlasting life. We are safe in God’s hands when we pray.
KEY BIBLE TEXTS
Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. James 4:14