A few years ago the US Templeton Baptist Foundation spent more than $7 million on a medical research under the supervision of Dr Herbert Benson, a cardiologist at the Mind and Body Center in Boston, to demonstrate the impact of supplications in patients and their role in speeding up their recovery.
The trial was conducted on 1,800 patients in six hospitals separate from each other, and all those who had been tested had already undergone coronary artery surgery, which was serious at that time.
The patients were placed in three groups. The experimenters decided that the first group would pray in specific churches for its members to heal, but without informing them. The second group decided not to pray for its members to heal and the third group, they were informed that the supplications will be raised for them to speed up their recovery in various churches in the country.
The aim was to observe the effect of the supplications, or their absence, in the first and second groups, and to observe the psychological effect of prayers on them. The third group was chosen only to observe the psychological effect of the supplications.
The experiment began with the reading of specific texts of supplications during ecclesial gatherings located in three American cities in different states. The preachers called for the healing of the sick by mentioning their names individually.
The famous American Heart Journal published the result of the experiment which showed doctors found no healthy changes in both cases – in the case of those on whose behalf prayers were held and those who were not prayed for.
The second surprise was the third group because these people knew that prayers would be said, on their behalf for their recovery, because their health deteriorated and some of them even had bad complications because they felt that their health was not so good and that it was necessary to pray for them in the churches of the country.
What applies to Western societies does not necessarily mean its application is good to our societies, we have no doubt we are better than them in spirituality.
However, it is clear that many of us pray frequently, without true love and faith, as the Egyptian proverb says, ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ so that most of the supplications becomes negative rhetoric messages instead of taking the initiative, and precautionary measures or do what is useful.
For example, when we hear that a person has been ill, we express our sadness or regret and call for his fast recovery instead of visiting him, sending a bouquet of flowers (‘haram’ according to fatwa) or even visiting him to check his health.
Note: The readers who have expressed their interest in participating in the establishment of the Private Charity Society, to assist the needy people, the meeting of the constituent assembly will take place on Monday at the headquarters of the Association of Social Workers in Adailiya, piece 4, at 5:45 pm. We look forward to your attendance for the success of this noble idea.
By Ahmad Al-Sarraf