Prayer, faith and health: part 4; the Heritage foundation commentary

Please see part 1 for the link to the full heritage foundation article.  A number of issues were brought up, but the main topic of discussion seemed to center around the issue of prayer in the context of a health encounter.  Does it work and should a physician participate?  The answers from the article were yes and yes.  But the degree of “yes” was debated.  In light of CS Lewis’ approach to the possibility of miracles and that inferent reason trumps empiracle reason, I am personally reluctant to rely on “clinical studies” to confirm or deny the efficacy of prayer.  In my experience, prayer is a helpful modality when appropriately used within the context of a solid and trusting physician/patient relationship.  To this I would add or emphasize that this relationship is a 2 way street of trust.  The patient or the physician can not just assume that their desire to pursue a spiritual component to health is shared in common.  Both need to be “supernaturalists” and feel comfortable in having this component as part of their dialogue.  When this comfort level exists, then the spiritual can clearly become an avenue for healing in providing prayerful encouragement and in confronting spiritual and somatic illness.  While consultation may be involved in the process, it does open an additional door for addressing health concerns.  Just to clarify, we are using the term “supernaturalist” in the same way that CS Lewis does (see previous post).

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