Prayer has often been shown to be potentially beneficial on one's health journey. In athletes, studies have shown that faith and spirituality improve injury management and overall recovery.
Depression management and coping with serious medical illness have been associated with spirituality or religious practices. In one trial, 44 percent of patients studied reported that they experienced healing through prayer at some time in their lives.
Mortality also has an established connection with spiritual practice. A meta-analysis of 42 studies involving 126,000 people found that the odds of surviving a serious illness were 29 percent higher for persons with active spiritual lives.
I believe that healthcare providers have the opportunity to partner with you and should work toward becoming more intuitive at recognizing your need for prayer.
As healthcare professionals, if our perceptions aren't synchronized with your spiritual assertions, we need to gently close the gap.
First, we could develop a spiritual wellness journal mapping our own spiritual history through sickness and health.
As equal partners, we would do well to know our spiritual selves before we lift your concerns up through prayer.
Next, we could take an inventory of our spiritual gifts to better explore our areas of strength in helping you develop a holistic health plan. We can also invite you to participate in these same experiences and share your thoughts with us. Many of us believe that God guides professionals in the healing process whether or not this notion is articulated.
Health care professionals might take time to privately pray with you when you appear interested. Open-ended questions -- asking about the patients thoughts on prayer and if they have a spiritual support community -- are important. You might ask us for a referral to professionals who are equally focused on spiritual and emotional issues as well as your physical well being.
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