Major medical institutions, hospitals and doctors across the globe are on a daily mission to expand their expertise in order to help heal larger numbers of patients each year from a myriad of illnesses and diseases. Many such quests, backed by billions of dollars in government funds and private donations or grants, end up with little progress though much effort and work has been put into research. Every so often, thankfully, some major advances are made; successful treatments and scientific discoveries are had which help to abolish disease, better detect cancers and advance technology. But what about incorporating proven spiritual practices to advance healing?
Many secular institutions and hospital corporations do not embrace prayer as a crucial part of healing. While the workings of the physical body seem to be understood fairly well, the power of the brain, will-power and spiritual life of the patient is often ignored in favor of the latest prescription or procedure.
Having been a recipient of many medical procedures, technological advances and assistance from doctors and hospitals, I am thankful for the medical communities overall commitment to assisting patients. I found that my own beliefs, prayer life and power of the prayer surrounding me by family and friends made all the difference in the world. What I do find lacking is the treatment of the entire person as a whole. Often times what is treated is not the person but rather a condition, a diagnosis or a particular part of the body.
As human beings, designed by God and in His image, we are more than flesh. In order to adequately treat a person’s illnesses – be they physical or mental – the entire person from the inside out must be treated. In order to do so, medical staff, hospitals and researchers need to understand the huge impact that prayer and a spiritual life and belief system has on an individual. Whether a doctor believes the same principles as the patient doesn’t always matter, although most people prefer a doctor tending to them who holds the same belief system. What matters is that the patient’s beliefs are respected and used in conjunction with treatment.
Much study and evidence for the use of prayer, meditation and spiritual practices in conjunction with modern medicine has been done in recent years. You can Google or yahoo search many studies backing most anything you’d like to claim and even find stories of medical professionals being fired for using their faith and prayer while on the job. But a very recent book has peeked the curiosity of the faith community and medical researches alike.
A Cardiologist in Littleton Colorado, Mark Sheehan recently published a book about prayer and healing. Written with his son, the book, titled “Healing Prayer On Holy Ground”, includes his own experiences on the job, in the operating room and working with patients.
Sheehan states openly on his website and in his book that he believes the room of a dying patient is holy ground, so before he enters he always takes his shoes off. In his book Sheehan states “God always shows up...It becomes a place where the sacred replaces the mundane.”
Sheehan, who also serves with Jeremiah’s Hope as a medical missionary, uses his faith in his regular practice as well as on the missionary field. Throughout his career , he has rarely had a patient, no matter their religious beliefs, turn down an offer for him to pray with them. He prays aloud if it’s agreeable to the patient but he often prays for them on his own, asking God to guide him as he assists the patient.
His favorite scripture verse from the Bible comes from Jeremiah 29: 11-13. “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”
As you check out Sheehan’s website you’ll see the following statement written on his homepage: "The book is a true story of the Power of Healing Prayerin the lives of my patients. It goes into the dying room where you should almost take off your shoes, for it is Holy Ground. The experiences are memorable and healing. It tells the stories of patients with good and bad near death experiences and conveys the message of hope and encouragement in the presence of a Loving God who wants us to pray to Him. Our ultimate healing may not occur in this life, and the real benefit of Prayer is our relationship with God."
According to the website, the first chapter in the book begins with a personal testimony and story behind Sheehan’s faith in Jesus Christ. “Touched by God’s Grace (chapter one) is my personal story and why I am writing this book. It describes the gradual transformation from a Physician with all of the answers to one saved by grace, and humbly dependent on the One who is really in Charge of life and death.”
Having a medical provider you trust and who takes your beliefs in to consideration can make all the difference in the world as to how well, how fast and completely you heal. Faith is not a made-up cure and the healing power of prayer is not a coincidence. Finding a medical professional who understands this and actually puts it into practice isn’t easy but it is possible. While we have no idea what’s going to happen to our health-care system in this country, it is still within our power to study, seek natural therapies, educate ourselves and seek the best professional care in alignment with our beliefs as we can.
Looking for a local Kentucky or Louisville area business, doctor or provider who is Christian? Check out the following links for help:
The Shepherds Guide Online (if you don’t see much for you city online, request a copy for your state to be mailed to you.)