The word prarthana (prayer) has been derived from two words ‘pra’ and ‘artha’ meaning a fervent plea to God. The belief that there is a supreme power that can control and influence our life gave rise to the concept of prayer. For some people prayer may mean specific sacred words while for others it may be more of an informal communication with God or a higher power.
Prayers have a great impact on our well being and health. A prayer engages the body, soul and especially the mind in a conscious process of healing, and it is thus also used as a healing therapy. Belief is the most essential part of the therapy, as it deals with the mind and body connection.
Noted novelist Paulo Cohelo, in his book Alchemist, says, ‘When you really want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it’. This means the power of will and the power of faith can make things happen. Prayer therapy can bring in change, as it provides the strength and emotional support you need through thick and thin.
This therapy is the most efficient in pain management, especially while you are coping up with problems like stress, depression and trauma due to abuse.
How it can help in improving one’s health
- It can evince feelings of compassion, hope, gratitude, and forgiveness, and all these are associated with healing.
- This therapy can make you feel relaxed, and this lowers blood pressure. Also, other health problems associated with stress can be lessened.
- By praying we, to a certain extent, give the control in the hands of a supreme power, which we believe exists. This can reduce the stress of being in charge.
- It brings a sense of connection with God, an immersion into a universal unconsciousness.
- It calms you down, and inhibits the release of cortisol and other hormones. This helps in in reducing the negative impact of stress on our immune system.
Studies conducted on patients suffering from various ailments have shown that those who prayed for their overall health and wellness have less complications than those who did not. So, even though the effects cannot be scientifically proven, the fact that prayers have an incoherent effect on a person’s mind and body and help him to deal with pain in a better manner cannot be denied.
Intercessory prayer therapy
Prayer can be performed not only for self but also for someone who needs care and healing. Such prayers are known as intercessory prayers, and those who are praying have specific objectives in mind. The receiver may or may not be aware of it but it is more effective when the therapy involves praying while maintaining touch.
Time and again various researches done on intercessory prayers have proven that those patients who are secretly being prayed for take less time to heal, require fewer drugs and medical support and face less complications during their course of treatment. The effect of this therapy cannot be scientifically proven, however, the followers and believers of prayer therapy say, “We do not need science to validate our spiritual beliefs, as we would never use faith to validate our scientific data”.