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Total Healing
Photo: Jeff Miller
As I came down one of the upper floors of the hospital, my pager sounded. Since faith and spirituality can take me anywhere in the hospital, I have had to join the beeper crowd. One of the surgeons wanted see me right away. I went to the physician’s lounge to meet with him and he explained the case to me.

A gentleman had come in for a second surgery. As they began to open his chest, a hidden vessel was cut and blood began pouring out. It took about 15 minutes before they were able to control the bleeding, stabilize the patient and proceed with the surgery.

The surgeon wanted me to speak with the family and explain that the situation was very tense and difficult. In doing so, I learned that they were a devout spiritual family, so we knelt down and prayed together.

Several of the patient’s daughters were out of the country. Also, there was some emotional and spiritual healing that needed to take place. We prayed and several hours passed. Then the surgeon came out and explained that he was able to get the heart beating again, and that the surgery had been completed successfully. He said that the patient was on his way to the recovery area and, after several hours of observation, if there were no further complications, the family could see him.

Dead, But Now Alive!

The surgeon, however, expressed concern that the patient might not recover consciousness and, if he did, that he may have had some “brain damage.” One of the daughters looked at me and said, “I know he is going to be okay. I have asked God to give me one more opportunity to speak with my father.” Then, the wife looked at the surgeon and said, “Doctor, thank you very much. How can we ever repay you?” To that the surgeon replied, “Don’t thank me. Thank God. Your husband was dead, but is now alive.”

The hours went by. The days went by. The patient regained consciousness and was able to speak with his family. Not only had physical healing taken place, but spiritual healing had also occurred.

“There has been an integration of medicine with religion, of spirituality with medical practice—called the twin guardians of healing—through the ages,” said Dale Matthews, MD, a leading proponent of prayer and spirituality, and associate professor of medicine at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington, D.C. This new interest in prayer and medicine has spawned a new description for “prayer as therapy” or, as some call it, “Complementary Medicine.” It does not take the place of medicine nor is it an alternative to medicine, but it combines prayer and traditional medicine.

Surveys are showing that a great majority of Americans want their healthcare providers to pray for, or with, them. And a good number have experienced the power of prayer in their lives.

We can say that prayer is a way to communicate by faith to a God whose existence we are very aware of. God will answer our prayer by grace, not because we deserve it but because we belong to Him and He cares for us. Prayer is an act of repentance and dedication to Him by our vocation as believers in His power.

The message above is simple. We must seek beyond physical healing to embrace spiritual healing. It is this kind of spiritual healing that connects us with God and with those around us.

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By Mario Ceballos, MDiv. Excerpts reprinted with persmission from Columbia Union Visitor, May 2006. Copyright © 2011 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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