The Power of Prayer
During a hospital visit to see my mother today, I met a lady I had not seen before and we started to talk. This lady, a good ten or fifteen years younger than I am, was denouncing the power of medical doctors and insisting that we don't really need modern medicine when we have the power of prayer. She was upset with her siblings for not allowing her mother to "suffer through God's will" in her own home without the prying eyes or needles of the medical professional. She needed someone to listen to her and give her some kind of encouragement to continue on with her battle to get her mother back home away from the hospital environment.
My faith is strong, it has always been strong, even during the darkest hours of my life but I cannot say that we should forego medical treatment and rely solely on the power of prayer. I also believe that we often pray for miracles that are not meant to happen and are not a part of the greater plan. For instance, my mother is eighty-six years old and in very fragile health. To pray for a total healing and restoration of her youth is not logical nor meant to happen. Praying for her to pass from this life comfortably without extensive suffering makes more sense to me, along with a prayer for strength and understanding for myself in the days following such a great loss.
Prayer is meant, in my opinion, to help us reach a glorious and promised destination when this life is over. It is not meant to help us win the lottery or acquire success without putting forth any effort. At times I have prayed for others to find success and for all of us to better our lives. I have always found an inner peace that comes from trusting God.
If you trust God with your health, you know that he has given man the knowledge to understand the complexity of the human body in order to help us help ourselves. The lady I met today caused many thoughts to jump from hidden places in my mind into a bubbling cauldron of possibility and life experiences I have stored away like a squirrel gathering nuts for the winter. I examined and reexamined my thoughts on medicine versus prayer. Must God be mythical and mystic to be believable? I think not.
Before I left the brief conversation today, I had come to this conclusion; God is mighty, he gave man knowledge and endurance, faith and precision. The power of prayer brings us closer to God. Maybe instead of choosing a side we should pray for God to hold the surgeon's hand as he wields a scalpel and pray for any of our doctor's to be rich in faith and patience. I think the power of prayer and the power of medicine work together as a team. I'm not sure the lady I was talking with appreciated my thoughts but she did not turn away in a huff. I have to think she at least considered my view of prayer and medicine as a joint treatment.
Tonight as I close my eyes I will be praying for God to guide my mother's physician's and to give us the strength to face the days ahead. I will praying for her to pass from my arms to God's arms without fear or guilt at leaving her family behind. I will not pray that she be made as healthy as she was at the age of fifty but I will pray that any time we might have left together be spent peacefully and in her own home.
Prayer is not a replacement for medicine, it is an equal partner in the course of treatment and accepting the consequences of living.
© Dianna Doles Petry