PRAYING has been recognized as the most collective counterpart to therapeutic operations, conventional medicine, acupuncture, herbs and other alternate remedies.
However, we always ask - “Are prayers really answered?”
There were studies that have been performed to measure the efficacy of prayers scientifically. Most of them were studies involved in a medical setting.
One study was made by Dr. Elizabeth Targ, a psychiatrist specializing in psychic phenomena and the role of spirituality in health and healing. She investigated the effect of “distance healing” on AIDS patients, in which these patients are not aware that intercessory prayers – or prayers that are offered for the benefit of another person – are being offered on their behalf.
Surely most of us will not believe, but Targ came up with a remarkable results.
After selecting practicing healers from different religions – Christianity, Buddhism, Jewish, Indian Shamanism – she gave all of them with the first names, blood counts, and pictures of the 20 patients diagnosed with advances AIDS. For an hour a day, over a ten-week period, the healers focused their minds on the photos, but not on those of a control group of 20 other AIDS patients.
According to the results, the prayed patients had less new illnesses, doctor visits, hospitalizations and had better moods than those in the control group.
She even described an experiment performed by another group in which remote healing was used to shrink tumors in mice. And, she concluded that the greater the distance is, the greater the effect. The connection, Targ suggests, "could be actuated through the agency of God, consciousness, love, electrons or a combination."
Cheryl Rosales, 18, a Mass Communication student and a member of Christ the Healer International ministries, said that she allots an hour a day to pray because she believes the bible requires us to do so.
She even added that what keeps her to pray is the fact that she is still alive and happy. She had already a lot of answered prayers and this is enough to prove people that prayers are really answered.
Another Mass Communication student, on the other hand, does not have a definite belief about whether God exists or not, thus agnostic in nature.
She doesn’t pray because she believes that if a god exists, she would no longer have to talk with him. “He would have known everything, since He created me”, she said.
In fact, she only uses her journal to write everything she feels and wishes to her complains and miseries. In this way, she feels happier and free to show what really she is. (Anju de Vera)
Sunday Essays are articles written by students of Ateneo de Davao University for their journalism class.