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Prayer

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Does prayer heal?

Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with a deity, an object of worship, or a spiritual entity through deliberate communication. Prayer can be a form of religious practice, may be either individual or communal and take place in public or in private. It may involve the use of words or song. When language is used, prayer may take the form of a hymn, incantation, formal creed, or a spontaneous utterance in the praying person. There are different forms of prayer such as petitioner prayer, prayers of supplication, thanksgiving, and worship/praise. Prayer may be directed towards a deity, spirit, deceased person, or lofty idea, for the purpose of worshipping, requesting guidance, requesting assistance, confessing sins or to express one's thoughts and emotions. Thus, people pray for many reasons such as personal benefit or for the sake of others. Yoga is also a common form of prayer.
Prayer and Healing is a topic that has featured a lot on the minds of many people across the globe. This has led many researchers to conduct experiments with the purpose of proving or disapproving the idea that prayer contributes to an ill person’s healing. Thus, arguments regarding this topic have abounded with those supporting the idea that prayer contributes to healing advancing that prayer is not restricted by distance, it has a positive effect on life, and in the Bible, many people followed Jesus in order to receive healing. On the other hand, those opposing the significance of prayer concerning healing advanced that even though prayer plays a crucial role in a person’s healing, medicine is the ultimate answer. Secondly, the opponents also observe that prayer does not contribute to healing, as the miracles depicted in Churches are stage-managed.
This essay explicates points proving the essence of prayer for healing.
Firstly, prayer leads to healing because it is not restricted by distance. This is a significant point when exploring the effects of prayer concerning faith. Williams (1999), advances an experiment that was carried out to stop the spread of fungus. The experiment comprised of two groups, and one of the groups interacted frequently with the facilitator while the other group was somewhat sidelined. Consequently, the group that interacted frequently with the facilitator depicted a positive result compared to the other group. The purpose of this experiment was to provide the basis of faith and doubt as concerned with prayer. Thus, it can be summed that, despite prayer been non-local, an individual’s faith contributes significantly to one’s healing process. In addition, care, consciousness and empathy play a significant role.
Secondly, prayer contributes to healing because of the positive effect it has on life. Williams (1999) provides an example of a patient that was sick and asserted it as God’s plan for her. The patient prayed often to receive healing. Arguably, the patient believed that God is the cause of everything and has a purpose for doing so. Since God has the power over everything, he can facilitate healing just as he makes a person fall ill as a form of punishment. An example is also provided of a lady who abandoned her church in an early age and indulged in the world of drugs. Eventually, she was blaming her ill health on God’s punishment for her lack of prayer. This proves that prayer contributes to healing.
Thirdly, Arlandson (2007) quotes from the Bible, to prove that prayer contributes to healing. Arlandson (2007) provides an example from the book of Mathew chapter fifteen verse thirty to thirty one. From this scripture, it can be deducted that many crowds followed Jesus for a sole purpose, and that is healing. Notably, the crowd following Jesus brought people who were lame, mute, and blind and Jesus healed them. Arguably, prayer contributes to healing.
On the other hand, those opposing the essence of prayer in healing advance that despite it been a necessity, drugs play the ultimate role in the healing of a person. Byrd (2006) advances that from the research conducted, prayer did not actually result to a person’s healing as he provides an example of Sovereigns from England who resorted to prayer in order to live longer, but did not. Wheeler (2006) also refutes the idea that prayer contributes to healing as he indicates that what is depicted in churches as miracles are theatricals organized before a church service commences in order to prove the power of prayer.
In conclusion, the evidenced advanced in support of prayer and healing holds more than that of the opposing group as credible references are provided. For instance, the point regarding crowds that followed Jesus for healing has been repeated severally in the Bible, which gives it credit. Notably, prayer plays a crucial role in people’s life, which explains the different attitudes held by people regarding their suffering or well being, which proves the point that prayer contributes to healing.

Most major religions involve prayer in one way or another. Some ritualize the act of prayer, requiring a strict sequence of actions or placing a restriction on who is permitted to pray, while others teach that prayer may be practiced spontaneously by anyone at any time.
Scientific studies regarding the use of prayer have mostly concentrated on its effect on the healing of sick or injured people. Meta-studies of the studies in this field have been performed showing evidence only for no effect or a potentially small effect. For instance, a 2006 meta analysis on 14 studies concluded that there is "no discernable effect" while a 2007 systemic review of intercessory prayer reported inconclusive results, noting that 7 of 17 studies had "small, but significant, effect sizes" but the review noted that the most methodologically rigorous studies failed to produce significant findings. Some studies have indicated increased medical complications in groups receiving prayer over those without. The efficacy of petition in prayer for physical healing to a deity has been evaluated in numerous other studies, with contradictory results. There has been some criticism of the way the studies were conducted.
Muslims pray a ritualistic prayer called salatin Arabic, facing the Kaaba in Mecca, five times a day. The command to ritual prayer is in the Quran in several chapters. The prophet Muhammed showed each Muslim the true method of offering ritual prayers thus the same method is observed till date. There is the "call for prayer" (adhan), where themuezzin calls for all the followers to stand together for the ritual prayer. The prayer consists of standing, by mentioning ‘Allāhu akbar’ (Allāh is Great) followed by recitation of the first chapter of the Quran. Afterwards the person bends and praises God, then prostrates themself and again praises God. The prayer ends with the following words: "Peace be with you and God’s mercy". During the prayer, a Muslim cannot talk or do anything else besides praying. Certain Shia sects combine the 5 prayers into 3 times a day, providing several hadith as supporting evidence.
Once the ritual prayer (salat) is complete, one can offer personal prayers or supplications to God for their needs. These are called dua. There are many standard invocations in Arabic to be recited at various times, e.g. for one's parents, after salat, before eating. Muslims may also say dua in their own words and languages for any issue they wish to communicate with God in the hope that God will answer their prayers.
Christian prayers are quite varied. They can be completely spontaneous, or read entirely from a text, like the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. The most common prayer among Christians is the Lord's Prayer, which according to the gospel accounts (e.g. Matthew 6:9–13) is how Jesus taught his disciples to pray.[38] The Lord's prayer is a model for prayers of adoration, confession and petition in Christianity.[38]
Christians generally pray to God or to the Father. Some Christians (e.g., Catholics,Orthodox) will also ask the righteous in heaven and "in Christ," such as Virgin Mary or other saints to intercede by praying on their behalf (intercession of saints). Formulaic closures include "through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, through all the ages of ages," and "in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
It is customary among Protestants to end prayers with "In Jesus' name, Amen" or "In the name of Christ, Amen."[39] However, the most commonly used closure in Christianity is simply "Amen" (from a Hebrew adverb used as a statement of affirmation or agreement, usually translated as so be it).
In the Western or Latin Rite of the Catholic Church, probably the most common is theRosary; In the Eastern Church (the Eastern rites of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church), the Jesus Prayer. The Jesus Prayer is also often repeated as part of the meditativehesychasm practice in Eastern Christianity.[40]
Roman Catholic tradition includes specific prayers and devotions as acts of reparation which do not involve a petition for a living or deceased beneficiary, but aim to repair the sins of others, e.g. for the repair of the sin of blasphemy performed by others.[41]
Other forms of prayer among Catholics would be meditative prayer, contemplative prayer and infused prayer discussed at length by Catholic Saints St. John of the Cross and St. Theresa of Jesus

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