Medicine And Books

Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine

BMJ 1995; 311 doi: (Published 28 October 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;311:1174
  1. John Roberts

    Throughout history, healing and religion have been inseparable. Only in the past 400 years, especially in the West, have the two disjoined enough for George Eliot to write in Middlemarch, “It is seldom a medical man has true religious views--there is too much pride of intellect.”

    Larry Dossey, a doctor in New Mexico, would rebut Eliot. Prayer, he says, is--and should be--integral to healing and to the practice of medicine. Before seeing patients each day, he takes time in his office to pray--or meditate, since he believes the two are the same. (He also repeatedly says that his prayers are his own and he would not reveal his beliefs to his patients.)

    “Never once did I pray for specific outcomes-- for cancers to go away, for heart attacks to be healed, for diabetes …

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