Prayer means many different things to different people. Before you jump to conclusions and believe you know everything about this subject as far as you are concerned, bear with me a minute. Maybe I picked the wrong word in choosing "prayer." Maybe it should have been emotional health, mental health or spiritual health. Probably best would be the term "spirituality." Every human being has spirituality. True spirituality is living what you believe. Spirituality denotes an interdependence which gets us out of loneliness. We are walking together. I've got my spiritual journey. You have yours. Maybe that is why you are reading this book, so that together maybe we can help you fight your cancer. Spiritualism is not what happened or why, but what you do with it and how you bear it.
When I was diagnosed with cancer, a friend gave me a subscription to "The Daily Word". This is a small pamphlet that you receive in the mail each month with a page for each day of the month on which there is a prayer. I kept it next to my bed and first thing each morning I would read the prayer for that day. It made me feel very good. Often, at night, I felt like reading the prayer for the next day, but I would never "cheat." Some mornings I would wake up exceptionally early just to read the prayer. If you would like to subscribe to it for yourself or someone else, it is available from Unity School of Christianity, Unity Village, Missouri 64065.
M.D. Anderson, I was told when I went there, had an approximately 300-bed hospital with 6 full-time clergymen. It is one of the foremost scientific, research and treatment centers specializing in cancer in the country. This will indicate how they felt about prayer in the treatment of cancer. I know what it meant to me each day when a minister visited my room. It brightened my day and gave me a great lift, even though he was of a different faith.
Also, my section of the hospital had a sofa bed in each room on which the spouse of the patient could sleep. In the room next to mine was a foreign patient with his wife and 4 children living and cooking in his room. Again, this evidences M.D. Anderson's belief that cancer is a disease involving the entire family. Anything that can spiritually and mentally help the patient will contribute to their quality of life and recovery.
While I was recuperating from my surgery, a friend of mine who was studying for the ministry told me that since he had heard I was ill he had said a prayer for me every morning. You cannot possibly imagine what this simple statement meant to me. I told Annette that because of his prayers and those of others, I had no choice but to get well.
What I'm trying to say here is to take a middle of the road course. If you do, there is no possible way prayer can hurt you. If you are a logical, practical realist, there are only two possibilities. One: there is no God. If that would be true, it cannot hurt you to say a few prayers. Or two: there is a God watching over all of us. In that case it can help! Furthermore, it can stir up certain hormones within the body to help the immune system cure you.
My only comment to the religious fanatic who believes he doesn't need medicine because God will take care of him may sound facetious but is not meant that way. If God didn't want us to use medicine, why did he give us all these doctors? Why did he allow the scientists to develop all these revolutionary treatments? If a person believes that strongly in God, they must also believe that God helps those who help themselves. God intends for us to use all the wonderful things he has given us including doctors, nurses, hospitals and medicines.
A quote from a prayer book states, "Prayer cannot bring water to parched fields, or mend a broken bridge, or rebuild a ruined city; but prayer can water an arid soul, mend a broken heart, and rebuild a weakened will."
Sometimes we come to life's crossroads
And view what we think is the end.
But God has a much wider vision
And He knows that it's only a bend
The road will go on and get smoother
And after we've stopped for a rest,
The path that lies hidden beyond us
Is often the path that is best.
So rest and relax and grow stronger, Let go and let God share your load, And have faith in a brighter tomorrow You've just come to a bend in the road.