por Jorge Hessen  

Year 11 - N° 522 - June 25, 2017

Faith and prayer as therapeutic openings of contemporary hospitals

Implications of Spirituality on health have been scientifically evaluated and documented in hundreds of scholarly articles, demonstrating its relationship to various aspects of physical and mental health, probably positive and possibly causal. Strictly speaking, associations between Spirituality (religiosity) and immunological activity, mental health, neoplasia, cardiovascular diseases and mortality, as well as intervention aspects with the use of intercessory prayer, have been consubstantiated in hospital environments.

There is a growing accumulation of evidence on the relationship between Spirituality (religiosity) and physical health. However, because this evidence is not yet strong enough, it is only a promising field of investigation. It is, with no doubt, a field of research with enormous potential. Moreover, systematic investigations have shown that spiritualized patients deal better with the stresses of life, recover more quickly from depression, and experience less anxiety than those dealing with negative, unbelieving and materialistic emotions.

In this type of care, we identify that there is a concept of health as something, the result of the balance between man and the world, between the immanent and the transcendent, which approaches what is called holism and systemic view of life. The press has reported that doctors and hospital institutions in the contemporary world already include in their routine, in a systematic and definitive way, the practice of encouraging patients to strengthen hope, optimism, good humor and Spirituality (religiosity), as essential resources in the fight against diseases. These procedures work as remedies for the soul, obviously with beneficial repercussions for the physical body. This has been observed, above all, in treatment centers for serious diseases, such as cancer and pathologies that require from the patient a superhuman effort.

Therapy of Hope - Many doctors now realize that patients, supported by some kind of faith and hoping for recovery, actually have better prognoses. This practice is associated with reduced anxiety, depression and decreased pain, among other repercussions. It has been proved that maintaining a more confident and hopeful state of mind unleashes an increase of reactions that only does well.

Researchers at the University of Alabama in the United States have applied a treatment called "Therapy of Hope." The process consists in helping patients to build and maintain hope in the face of illness, according to the maxim that it is necessary to strengthen the Spirit so that the body can recover. The American National Cancer Institute has created a kind of guide to help physicians, nurses, and psychologists on how to use the patient's Spirituality (religiosity) for their own benefit. Its applicability also extends to psychotic patients, adults and children; people with other disabilities, as well as suicides and drug addicts (people addicted to drugs).

As the patient makes an insight to enhance his faith, it becomes possible for him to recognize his identity and rebuild his self-esteem, which leads him to regain hope and confidence in his own adaptive resources. An intervention that emphasizes the importance of the elaboration of a new project of life for itself is thus constructed. The stimuli of Spirituality (religiosity) heal the patient by imposing order on the chaotic experience that has developed in him.

Spiritism explains that it is through a process of personal development that the patient gains strength to neutralize the disease. Spiritism seeks to persuade the patient to re-orientate his mental behavior through the intelligent and reasoned faith, suggesting an ethic of charity, which must result in a particular way of motivation for a great life and of overcoming the appeals of the physical world.

The importance of prayer in hospitals - Spirituality (religiosity) - in harmony with health - is a goal to be won by those who really want to heal themselves.
The illness remains an entity with a broad impact on aspects of approach, from basic pathophysiology to its complex social, psychic and economic relationship. It is crucial to recognize that these various aspects are correlated in multiple interactions. As studies in the area of Spirituality and health intensify, once we have seen the beneficial results in restoring the energy of debilitated patients, the first (even heterodox) theses will begin to improve conclusions and obtain results.

Irrespective of the causative agents of the disease, the stimulation of spiritual values ​​is placed in a very convenient position: it not only demonstrates sharing responsibilities with modern medicine, but signals intervening where it proves impotent. In this sense, let us reflect on the importance of encouraging prayer in hospitals.

Prayer is an ancient practice of many different religions, traditionally associated with well-being, health promotion, introspection, and Spirituality. Incidentally, prayers are best practiced through religiosity. It is obvious that "Spirituality does not supplant medicine and doctors; it simply comes to prove that there are things they do not know and invites them to study them, that nature has resources that they ignore, that the spiritual element that they do not know, is not a chimera, and that, when they take it into account, they will open new horizons to Science and will have more successes than now". (1)  

Mind as a source of energy - Prayer acts on individuals, influencing the immune system, according to a pioneering study conducted in 1988 at the General Hospital of San Francisco, California. In this hospital "it was possible to prove that the patients who received prayers presented significant improvements, needing even a smaller amount of medication". (2) For us, Spiritists, it has special characteristics because "together with ordinary medication, elaborated by Science, magnetism makes us aware of the power of fluid action, and Spiritism reveals another powerful force in healing mediumship and the influence of prayer". (3)  Allan Kardec, in commenting on Question 662, in The Book of Spirits, says that "thought and will represent in us a power of action that reaches far beyond the limits of our bodily sphere". (4) Strictly speaking, "electricity is dynamic energy, magnetism is static energy, thought is electromagnetic force" (5). But one thing is clear, prayer cannot change the nature of the tests by which man must pass, or even divert its course, and this, because they are in the hands of God. There is evidence that man must endure until the end of his days, but God always takes into account his resignation.

Although the prayers we say will not divert us from our troubles and delusions, they are a comforting balm to our sick soul, for it makes us enter the stages of soft calmness and joy that only the one who prays is able to understand. Therefore, the prayer has the unspeakable gift of showering us with the strength to endure struggles and problems, internal and external, to put us in a position to overcome obstacles that before seemed impossible to deal with.

Thought is the driving dynamo of physical life for the Spiritual life, which allows us to establish a positive relationship with the Spirits who participate in the healing activities. While it benefits us with all this, it can also bind us to Spirits, whose presence will be detrimental to the act of healing. Every coin has two sides and the laws of nature are two-way roads. Mind is a source of healing or destructive energy.



(1) KARDEC, Allan. Spiritist Magazine, November, 1866.
(2) Source available on site <> access on 09/18/08.
(3) KARDEC, Allan. The Gospel according to Spiritism, Rio de Janeiro: Ed FEB, 2004, Chapter 28, item77.
(4) KARDEC, Allan. The Book of Spirits, Rio de Janeiro: Ed FEB, 2000, question 662.
(5) XAVIER, Francisco Candido. Thought and Life, 9th ed. Rio de Janeiro: FEB, 1991. P.16.


Eleni Frangatos - eleni.moreira@uol.com.br




O Consolador
 Revista Semanal de Divulgação Espírita