Prayer a supplement to or a replacement for medical treatment
Prayer and medical treatment have a strong correlation. They complement each other and therefore prayer might not be a rational replacement to medical treatment. This paper seeks to present a clear argument that supports this statement delving deeper to help the reader understand why one should not be used as a single item. Basically there is no question about the power of prayer, it works but it would not be necessary to go further in this belief and reject medical treatment.
In America there is strong belief that faith and prayer alone is able to assist individuals to recover from their illnesses. Various church groups therefore persistently engage in prayer healing either on a need or regular basis. Other groups have in fact gone ahead to set aside specific days and services for the particular purpose of laying hands and seeking God’s intervention concerning the sickness of a member for example, (Koenig 1235-1236). Prayer can come before medical treatment but can not be solely used on in its own especially where a serious illness such as diabetes is involved.
As much as we seek prayer then we should go ahead and do something about the situation. Actions should immediately follow our faith, even as the holy bible clearly stresses that faith without action is dead. Consider this example: when you are praying for your neighbor that is poor and has no food to eat, you definitely ask God to provide for Him. Unfortunately you have to do something about the situation while you wait for God to intervene in your neighbor’s state of affairs may be by giving him a job so that he can be able fend for himself.
The rational thing for you to do in the meantime will be for you to get up, buy some food and take it to your neighbor so that he does not have to sleep hungry and that way God will bless you abundantly. As much as we believe in the power of prayer God is also happy when we do the necessary things to sort out our situations as much as we pray. Yet it can not be denied that miraculous healing have usually taken place in the past and even the present but is important to note that those are supernatural happenings and it is very difficult to predict the time of their occurrence, (Benjamins &Finlayson 537-553).
Yes, your neighbor might have been healed yesterday after the pastor laid hands on him but that does not guarantee you healing today. Additionally there is no indication in any holy book in this case the bible that seeking medical treatment is an act disobedience to God. Therefore it is not our responsibility to assume that we should entirely rely on faith for healing and do nothing about the situation.
In fact it is God himself who gave man the wisdom and intelligence to uncover the tools, vaccines, treatments and all the other methods of medical cures, it would therefore appear as an insult to Him if we do not utilize the things he availed unto us through wisdom. Basically it would not have been hard for God to block our minds and hinder our efforts to discover medical treatment and its necessities. Moreover most of the medicine used in the medical field are usually the products of medicinal herbs and plants found in forests and other areas of vegetation.
Honestly God must have put these plants there for a purpose so it may sound ridiculous for us to conclude that use of the same treatments provided by nature and improved by human intelligence is a sin. Most people that shy away from medical treatment usually are of the view that seeking medical treatment will be an indication that they do not wholly believe in God! That is not the case though; both prayer and medical treatment are good to use because they both come from God, (Koenig 1235-1236). Considering that God uses many avenues when answering prayers and he can also use a doctor as an answer to your prayer.
Another illustration that faith must be followed by action is that when you are pricked with a thorn or splinter and it gets stuck in your finger you might as well pray forever but the splinter will not get out of your finger by itself. Because God gave us manual dexterity and knowledge He expects us to go find tweezers and sort the problem out by ourselves. Furthermore all of us might be aware of the saying that God helps those who help themselves. This is pretty much true from my own experience. A while ago I accidentally twisted my wrist.
The situation was very severe that I had to undergo surgery after two years of persistent pain to correct the situation. In fact it is my pastors who encouraged me to seek medical intervention after prayers alone failed to work. After the surgery they persistently visited me to pray and encourage me to take the doctors therapy instructions seriously. I actually recovered quicker than the doctors anticipated and that was a miracle that even left the care providers with awe. In this case therefore the ‘speedy’ healing was the miracle but clearly I had to get medical treatment for me to experience quick healing.
Some doctors in the country have been quoted saying that religion and medicine are inseparable entities, so long as practitioners do not try to impose their views on patients. Faith and prayer according to the doctors is important because it enhances their ability to encourage and generally take care of patients, (Tanner). Imrie gives the sad story of a certain child called Kara who was very sick last year that she could neither stand nor walk. The parents apparently failed to take her to the hospital because they did not have belief in modern medicine and treatment and therefore solely believed in prayer healing.
So Kara’s situation got worse and worse. Luckily Kara’s Aunt came to know about her deteriorating condition and consequently sort police intervention. Unfortunately even before the police came with the ambulance Kara succumbed to her disease and died. It was later revealed that Kara was suffering from diabetes and just needed some insulin to get better! The parents could not take her for treatment because they believed that doing so would be giving in to demonic demands and so they prayed and prayed while she got worse and worse. Kara’s parents are currently facing charges of second degree homicide.
The parents have defended their case on the grounds of religious freedom. The judge on his side has argued saying that the constitution favors religious convictions but not necessarily the acts of religion, (Imrie). If found guilty the parents’ will face up to twenty five years of imprisonment for reasons of recklessness homicide and negligence. Research indicates that more than 301 children have died in the country because of their parents’ ardent belief that prayer without medicine will work. 90 percent of those children did not die of terminal illnesses but diseases that could be easily treated for example by use of antibiotics, (Coyne).
Sloan, Bagiella and Powell (664-667) in their research note that prayer and medicine share a history that is full of complexities. They further state that globally this two have been used simultaneously further acknowledging that a survey of the best researches done on the field provide weak and inconsistent evidence of the association between health and spirituality. In conclusion prayer should be used as a supplement and not a replacement of medical treatment, from the above it can be concluded that prayers work when they are followed by acts of wisdom in this case medical treatment.
Additionally although it has been hard to scientifically prove, prayer certainly speeds up recovery by the virtue of the comfort, care and assurance given to the patient by the groups of individuals praying for him. Both group and individual prayers therefore work as long as the patient is keen to seek the assistance of a doctor. Yes God speaks through prayer but it is hard to discern when it is time for him to perform a miracle meaning His acts are random and therefore very unpredictable. Those that speak in tongues or observe holy visions that influence healing can not be condemned either because that is for God himself to judge.
As far as we are concerned this are acts of deep spirituality that our mind can not fathom. But it is notable that medicine works better with prayer. Where medical treatment totally fails then and only then can we be justified to solely rely on spiritual intervention. Word Count: 1455 Works Cited Page Benjamins, M & Finlayson, M.. Using religious services to improve health. Journal of Aging and Health, 2007. 19. 3:537-553. Coyne, J. Another child killed by religion. A clear thinking oasis, 2009.
Retrieved on 30th July, 2009 from http://richarddawkins. net/article Imrie, R. Wis, mom of dead girl: Sickness was test of faith, 2009. Associated Press. Retrieved on 30th July, 2009 http://www/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5idOw7yXOoyaU14MWjkJIllXXjMo D99NLN0O0 Koenig, H. Religion, spirituality and Medicine: The beginning of a new era. Southern Medical Journal, 2005. 98. 12: 1235-1236 Sloan, R. , Bagiella, E. , and Powell, T. Religion, Spirituality, and medicine. The Lancet journals, 1999. 353. 9153:664-667. Tanner, L. Doctor poll: Most have belief in God. Deseret News, 2005. Retrieved on 30th July, 2009 from http://www. deseretnews. com/article/1Sample Essay of PaperDon.com