Long-time readers know of my fondness and appreciation for Bill Judge, a retired dairyman in Kissimmee, Florida, who has been my mentor and coach since the mid-1980’s. Now that my father has passed, Bill has become my second dad. In a 2010 blog, “Mentored by a Milker of Cows,” I told you the story about Bill’s loving mentoring of me. Now this story is being retold by Significant Living magazine: Continue reading
Prayer teaches coping methods for the victims of domestic abuse and allows an outlet for dealing with a wide variety of emotions, according to a recent small study. This is just one of many, many studies showing the benefits of prayer in both physical and emotional health. Here are the details from HealthDay News:
Prayer can help victims of domestic violence deal with their situation and emotions by using coping methods such as venting, a small new study suggests.
It included dozens of people in abusive relationships who were interviewed by Shane Sharp, a sociology graduate student at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The racially diverse participants came from different regions of the United States, were mostly from Christian backgrounds and had varying levels of education.
One finding was that prayer offers “a readily available listening ear” to people who were boiling with anger.
“If they vented their anger to their abuse partner, the result was likely to be more violence. But they could be angry at God while praying without fear of reprisal,” Sharp said in a university news release.
Prayer also offers domestic abuse victims an opportunity to see themselves as God views them.
“During prayer, victims came to see themselves as they believed God saw them. Since these perceptions were mostly positive, it helped raise their senses of self-worth that counteracted their abuser’s hurtful words,” Sharp said.
For some, folding their hands and focusing on what to say while praying provides a reprieve from the anxiety of their situation. The experience is similar to having a conversation with a close friend or a parent.
But prayer isn’t always beneficial.
“For some, through prayer they told me they learned to forgive their abusive partners, to let go of their anger and resentment,” Sharp said. “But that’s a double-edged sword. It’s good for those who are out of that violent relationship to let go of it to a certain extent. But if they’re still in their violent relationship, it may postpone their decision to leave, and that can be bad.”
Many of the participants said they believe in God but don’t belong to a specific church.
The study appeared in the journal Social Psychology Quarterly.
Here are some of my other blogs on prayer:
The Chicago Tribune reports, “The relationship between prayer and physical healing has long been the subject of conflicting studies. Some indicate prayer can help, but at least one study concluded that in some cases it can be harmful.”
Researchers “found that coronary bypass patients who were told strangers were praying for them did worse than those who got no prayers.” But, “increasingly … prayers are being offered by chaplains, doctors, nurses, and social workers. They are recited in hospitals before and after surgery, during treatments, upon admission and discharge, and on the anniversary of a diagnosis.”
Despite this one negative study, there are not “some” studies showing prayer can help, but hundreds of studies showing a positive association between a wide variety of spiritual interventions (spiritual assessment, prayer, spiritual counseling, etc.) and physical and emotional health outcomes.
You can read more on this topic in my book, Alternative Medicine: The Christian Handbook. You can order a signed copy here. You can also read some of my blogs on Faith-Based Health and Healing:
- Part 1 – What does the Bible say about health?
- Part 2 – What Value Should We Place on Our Health?
- Part 3 – Devout Faith Helps but Does Not Guarantee Good Health
- Part 4 – Can Faith be Unhealthy?
- Part 5 – What Causes Sickness?
- Part 6 – Why God’s Response Isn’t Always to Heal
- Part 7 – Not All Healing is From God
- Part 8 – Illegitimate Spiritual Practices
- Part 9 – Life Energy and Medical Magic
- Part 10 – Medical Characters Condemned for Pursuing Certain Forms of Healing
- Part 11 – Look to the Bible, Not Inner Voices, for Guidance
- Part 12 – Biblical Principles on Which to Base Medical Decisions and The Power of Faith
Anastasha is yet-to-be born, yet she has already blessed many of us who have been following the lessons she is teaching her parents and siblings. Here’s the latest update from her daddy, family physician Craig DeLisi:
This week, some local friends will be having a prayer time for Tonya and I in honor of Anastasha. This is in leui of a baby shower, since we obviously don’t need diapers and onesies. But what we do need is for the Body of Christ to lift our weary arms.
Even though most of you who are reading this live hundreds of miles away, would you consider joining us by praying for us during that time as well? You are our most loved “family,” both by blood and through Christ.
Tonya will be 34 weeks gestation this week. Contractions are picking up quite a bit already. Last night she was having them every 3-5 minutes for a while. While this is “normal” for her pregnacies, we really aren’t ready for Anastasha to come yet, neither emotionally nor practically speaking.
In the last email that I sent out, I mentioned that we felt like we are at the end of a marathon and don’t have the strength to make it to the finish line. One of my friends, John Wall, told me that in the only marathon that he ever ran, he almost quit at mile 23 (of 26). He walked the final few miles … with one exception. When people in the crowd in those final few miles were cheering him on (his name was on the back of his shirt), he would find strength to run again.
Much like John, we are in desparate need to be “cheered” to the finish line by the Body of Christ. You are those who have loved us and supported us most in our lives and especially now.
So would you please join those who will be praying for us here and the great “company of Heaven” to help us press on and RUN the race to the end, and do it in a way that brings the Lord tremendous glory.
We feel the gravity of the coming moments and days and don’t want to “waste” this opportunity to praise Him and advance His kingdom during them.
We know that it is not your “cheering” will carry us to and beyond the finish line, but it is the love of our faithful Abba that will. But we value the prayers of the saints and have numerous times in our lives experienced the increased grace that the Lord imparts because of them.
Specifically, you can pray:
- against fear and anxiety as her birth/death approaches,
- for physical rest and wisdom when to “stop doing” and go to bed (we’ve gone to bed at 2AM or later because of house construction for over a week straight)
- peace for Tonya
- that we would have a few more weeks before Anastasha is born,
- that the details and timing for her birth/death/funeral would come together – LOTS of variables that are almost overwhelming (coordinating the kids, who is coming to visit, funeral plans, etc.),
- physical comfort and safety for Tonya,
- that we could hold Anastasha in our arms while she is still alive,
- that the kids’ hearts will be prepared for what lies ahead
We love you and bless you all.
Craig and Tonya
Here’s the entire series of amazing stories:
- The Story of Anastasha – Part 1 (It will bless you!)
- The Amazing Story of Anastasha – Part 2
- The Amazing Story of Anastasha – Part 3
- The Amazing Story of Anastasha – Part 4
- The Amazing Story of Anastasha – Part 5
- The Amazing Story of Anastasha – Part 6
- The Amazing Story of Anastasha – Part 7
- The Amazing Story of Anastasha – Part 8
- The Amazing Story of Anastasha – Part 9
- The Blessing of Anastasha – Part 10 – Day of Life 200
- The Blessing of Anastasha – Part 11
- The Blessing of Anastasha – Part 12 – Day of Life 214
- The Blessing of Anastasha – Part 13 – Day of Life 221
- The Blessing of Anastasha – Part 14 – Day of Life 228
- The Blessing of Anastasha Kalil – Part 15 – Day of Life 235
- The Blessing of Anastasha Kalil – Part 16 – Day of Life 241
- The Blessing of Anastasha Kalil – Part 17 – Birth Day
- Anastasha is in Heaven – Part 18
- Anastasha’s Birth and Death – Video – Part 19
- Anastasha’s New Blog – Part 20
- Update on Anastasha – Part 21 – 1 month after birth and death
- Update On Anastasha’s Family – Part 22 – 3 months after birth and death
My dear friend, Al Weir, MD, is an oncologist in Memphis, TN. He has served in Africa as a missionary and served with the Christian Medical Association. He’s just written a wonderful devotional called, “Bedside Economics” It is based upon Psalm 106:3, “Blessed are they who maintain justice, who constantly do what is right.” Al’s writings alway provoke me to deep contemplation. None moreso than this one:
He was an oncologist transplanted from the Caribbean to Canada where he worked in a small British Columbia city. We sat beside each other at a medical meeting and began to discuss the economics of healthcare in both his country and mine.
In discussing a given treatment regimen, both effective and approved for use, he made the statement, “Those drugs are too expensive for the 5% of people whom thy actually save, so I don’t use them.”
In the midst of our national healthcare reform discussion we are all aware of the cost of healthcare. Healthcare costs too much for many of our patients and for our country’s economic health. Sometimes in our discussions, and even in our practice decision making, we may confuse the macro economics of patient care with the economics of caring for the individual patient who is sitting in front of us.
The cost of care in each is extremely important, but the doctor’s considerations in each are quite different. As doctors, we do have a special level of understanding of the healthcare arena and thus have a responsibility to inform the national debate regarding the expenditure of healthcare dollars. We should enter this debate publically without the bias of personal gain and seek to maximize both good for patients in general and for our nation as a whole.
However, when we face our individual patients with diagnostic and therapeutic decision making, our concerns are modified.
We, as Christian doctors, understand that we have a covenant relationship with our patients in which they offer their trust and compliance, while we offer our full dedication to their benefit, unaffected by our desire for personal gain. Actually, we have a three way covenant relationship since our Lord is partnering with us in their care, increasing our concern for the good of the patient and adding the commitment that our care should point towards Him.
This covenant relationship should lead to at least three defining questions each time we present our patients with diagnostic or therapeutic options:
- Which approach provides the greatest benefit for this patient, both toward his/her stated goals and toward my understanding of their best good?
- Which approach harms my patient least economically?
- Am I certain that my recommendations are not distorted by personal gain?
I have discovered in my own practice that when I fail to ask these questions, I will drift toward my natural desire for personal fulfillment, which may not be the best way to show God’s love for my patient.
Dr. Weir then offers this prayer, one that I prayed today:
Dear God, please let me always put the good of my patients first so that Your reflection from my life may not be distorted by the economics of their care. Amen.
This blog series is designed to help women who are developing a birth plan join together with like-minded birthing professionals so as to have a shorter and safer labor and birth. Although written primarily for professional birth attendants, I hope information will be helpful to lay women planning their birth. Today we’ll look at the tenth “P” of my 10 “P’s” of keeping labor shorter and birth safer — prayer.
Although labor and delivery has been considered a “spiritual event” by midwives at least since the publication of Spiritual Midwifery(82) in the 1960’s, there is some recent literature that looks at the influence of spiritual beliefs on labor and delivery outcomes.
One study which examined whether family physicians were aware or not of their patient’s spiritual belief systems stated, “these results suggest that family physicians are infrequently aware of faith beliefs and experiences among their patients.” (83)
Others have commented on how important a component spirituality is to medical care in general: “We emphasize the importance of understanding the relationship between patients’ religious beliefs and their ability to deal with stress,” (84) and that, “Spirituality is an important aspect of health care that is not often addressed in modern day primary medical practice.
The authors conclude that, when appropriate, spiritual issues should be addressed in patient care since they may have a positive impact on patient health and behavior.” (85)
One excellent review shared with practitioners a method for reviewing a patient’s spiritual belief systems using the acrostic SPIRIT where:
- S = Spiritual belief system;
- P = Personal spirituality;
- I = Integration and involvement;
- R = Ritual practices and/or restrictions;
- I = Implications for medical care;
- T = Terminal event (delivery) planning. (86)
Although prayer and strongly internalized religious belief systems have been shown to have a positive association with positive health outcomes, very little data is available for maternity care outcomes.
For an event that midwives consider “intuitively spiritual” (82) the paucity of research is surprising.
However, one study did examine the influence of religious belief on maternity care outcomes and concluded, “Maternal and neonatal complications occurred significantly more often in women who identified themselves as having no religious preference than in women who had a religious affiliation … We conclude that a small positive influence of religion … appears to be a directly beneficial effect.” (87)
Here’s the entire series:
- Pain control,
- Payment, and