Prayer, the act of humbling one’s self before a higher power to find wisdom and healing, can offer solutions to even our most challenging local and national health dilemmas. And there’s never any lack of unhealthy situations that are begging for such solutions!
One of our most pressing but somewhat hidden problems is the plight of homeless children. In response, the Christian Science church I belong to recently started a matching fund to help local children facing life without a home. Money came in immediately and our Sunday School children committed to making these children bags of school supplies at the beginning of the school year and snack bags throughout the year. We did this because we discovered that the number of homeless kids in our area is five times greater than five years ago and apparently growing worse. We prayed and this was a very practical answer.
Our church members, a small but friendly and committed group, believe that prayer and health go together. When we see an unhealthy situation, whether it’s a lack of physical health or an unhealthy situation in our town, we pray. And we expect answers.
The Bible Lesson shared at our Sunday service the day we voted to start the matching fund was about Solomon. One of the lessons for me was that the “Wisdom of Solomon” wasn’t so much his as it was God’s, and therefore freely available to all. Solomon sought wisdom humbly from his God and not only received that gift but also gained great riches and a solid international reputation. Rulers from other continents came to marvel at both his wisdom and his riches.
Whether our need is for a home or for health we can all benefit from this kind of prayer. For me, humble prayer seeking divinely inspired solutions, has consistently proved effective. Whether it’s a church reaching out to its community or a person reaching out for healing, prayer is providing answers today as tangibly as it did in Solomon’s time.
So what answers does prayer have for our national health care dilemma, which, like our local homelessness problem, begs for relief? Soaring health care costs, which account for over one sixth of every dollar spent in the U.S., have now reached $3.8 trillion. This is over 17% of our GDP and more than twice as much as most other developed nations. How much healthier are we for all that spending?
One answer comes from a recent Newsweek article which estimates that the U.S. spends hundreds of billions of dollars every year on medical procedures that provide no benefit and can even pose a substantial risk of harm.
Praying for wisdom and healing when faced with local or personal health dilemmas, or even national crises that threaten our individual and collective well-being makes sense. It’s open-ended. There’s no limit to what we can pray about…or what results that might bring.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life reports that over one-third of Americans have experienced or witnessed a divine healing of illness or injury. In rough numbers that’s well over 100 million of us who have resolved health dilemmas through some kind of prayer.
Prayer takes many different forms and means different things to different people. One of my favorite ways to think of prayer is well expressed by Christian healer and author, Mary Baker Eddy, who wrote in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, “The prayer that reforms the sinner and heals the sick is an absolute faith that all things are possible to God, — a spiritual understanding of Him, an unselfed love.”
Waking up to the potential of such prayer could have enormous benefits for us all.