About 18 months ago, after years of effectively relying on prayer for healing, I went to a doctor. The doctor made a diagnosis and had x-rays taken that confirmed it. He told me the condition would worsen without surgery and medication, it would not go away on its own. Because he was quite concerned about the level of pain I was experiencing, we agreed that if I was not better in two days by relying on my first choice for treatment – prayer, I would return to his office. When I got home, I called a Christian Science Practitioner (a non-medical provider that heals through specific prayer alone) to help me.
Three days later the doctor called me. I thanked him for his concern and was able to report that the pain was gone and I was improving through Christian Science treatment. There was no need to return to his office. I went on to make a complete recovery. I share this experience with you as a perspective for the letter to the editor, “Prayer Has a Role in Treating Illness”, in the Wall Street Journal last week:
“In ‘When Spirituality Kills’ (Houses of Worship, July 8), Mitch Horowitz refers to Christian Science and alludes to its safety. While the track record of its practice over the last 140 years isn’t perfect, any connotation that the cumulative record suggests it is inherently unsafe doesn’t square with the facts. For successive years for over a decade, the intent to use prayer to improve health has been on the rise in the U.S., as many surveys have shown. Acceptance is growing. It’s mainstream now. That’s not to suggest that people are abandoning Western medicine, but rather that they are choosing alternatives, and prayer is one of the leading ones.
That’s no excuse for irresponsible practice of spiritual care, under any condition, but it is to say that the average man and woman, on the front lines of health-care decision-making, seems to be finding prayer to be a safe and effective alternative.” Russ Gerber, The First Church of Christ, Scientist .