More things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of – these famous words do not provide sufficient solace to a person who is suffering from a terminal illness. Try telling a young boy who has met with an accident that he is bound to walk again, despite the rods and plate in his leg, if he prays fervently every day – he is sure to look at you in partial, if not total, disbelief.
Though there are hundreds of sceptics and cynics and a greater number of rationalists today, there are still a lot of people who believe that to be healthy, divine intervention is of paramount importance. You could approach a person of any faith, who will tell you with a lot of passion and faith that the repetitive recitation of a particular verse from a specific holy text is bound to ensure that your body remains in the pink of health. They would attribute downslides in health, to the non-observance of rituals and prayers on a regular basis.
At this stage, it would be good to look at the effects that spiritual activities could have on a person’s health. From days gone by there have been various prayers that have been said and sacrifices performed in all the religions one can think of. Paganism involved the invoking of god’s blessings for the good health and longevity of tribal chiefs and their communities. Christians looked forward to the effect that litanies, masses and other prayers would have on the health of their loved ones. For instance, Catholics fervently believe in the palliative and therapeutic powers of certain saints. The shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes is one such example. The shrine of the Blessed Virgin in a small seaside town of Tamil Nadu, India is yet another. People believe that when a person is suffering from an incurable disease, a cure is possible if a vow is made to the church. This vow could be in cash, kind or in spiritual obeisance.
To a person who questions the very existence of a spiritual power, or God, in other words, it would be difficult to even imagine that such a cure is possible. An atheist would certainly scoff at the efforts taken by a person who goes to a church to pray for a longer time than what he would spend visiting a doctor. Instead of making a vow, he would go in for more tests, scans and other examinations to decipher the best course of medical action.
To a person who is more comfortable in following the middle path, it would make him feel better if he does not discount the power of both the medical as well as the spiritual aspects of the problem and its allied solutions. Before jumping to conclusions regarding the effect that certain solutions could have on the problem, it is better to examine them in their entirety and try to find the solution that is best suited to his or her way of thinking. It is also necessary to have the relevant info on the cost of the treatments involved.