Moments before beginning to write
this column I said a prayer. I asked God to guide me as I wrote
- to help me accomplish something that would serve Him. Such prayers
are not unusual for me. I rely upon God for courage and strength.
I can't imagine my life without
prayer. It is nourishment that I couldn't do without.
That's why I haven't been surprised
at recent reports linking prayer and medical care.
In Saturday's Roanoke Times, a lengthy
article examined the issue. It reported on a 1988 study on the effects
of prayer on healing by Dr. Randolph Byrd, a cardiologist who then
worked at San Francisco General Medical Center.
According to the newspaper article,
over 10 months 393 patients who were admitted to the coronary care
unit were randomly assigned to receive or not receive prayers by
individuals they didn't know or hadn't even met. Neither the patients
nor medical-care professionals knew who was being prayed for.
The article stated, "The results
were dramatic: Patients who received daily prayers had fewer complications
and life-threatening events than those in the control group, he
The group that was prayed for had
fewer patients with congestive heart failure, fewer cardiopulmonary
arrests and had less pneumonia.
The article also told of a young
child who developed a huge tumor on her liver. She was not expected
to live. Her family and their church congregation prayed hard. "Almost
immediately, the youngster's tumor began shrinking to the size of
a golf ball, and doctors surgically removed it. Today Allison is
We shouldn't be surprised by the
power of prayer.
During the last month, we here at
the newspaper offices have been touched by prayer. Since Jason Rooker,
the 10-year-old son of publisher Greg Rooker, was involved in a
tragic accident on June 13, we've all been influenced by the tremendous
number of people who've called to ask about him and to say that
they're praying for him. Hundreds of people have written and sent
cards, including inspirational cards sent to Jason himself.
All along, the Rooker family has
credited Jason's progress to prayer, Slowly, Jason does seem to
be showing tiny, almost imperceptible - though not to a mother -
steps of progress. However, there is still a long way to go. Doctors
have told the family that significant brain damage did occur during
the accident and that their journey will certainly be uphill. Jason
is still in a semiconscious state. How much he will improve, no
one knows, but we do know that prayer has helped Jason and given
all of his family the immeasurable strength needed to cope with
this accident. If you find it in your hearts to do so, we hope you
will continue to keep Jason and his family in your prayers.
The heartfelt outpouring which we've
already seen has touched lives profoundly. Many of us have gotten
a glimpse into the caring depths of this community - something we'll