Southwest Virginia Enterprise, July 17, 1996 Page A4 & A5


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 (Byrd) said."

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 11..."

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 always remember.


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