Several studies have shown a link between patients with higher levels of spiritual well-being reporting better physical health. The authors of these studies say religion and spirituality can help cancer patients find meaning in their illness and provide comfort in the face of fear. People can think about what’s meaningful to them and what brings them a sense of peace and tranquility. It’s different for everyone, meditating, getting out in nature, spending time with loved ones, and volunteering are all associated with positive health benefits.
Perhaps for most people, the healing power of faith involves a healing of the mind and emotions, the intangible spirit, and of relationships with others. Faith can put physical illness beneath us, where it belongs, return dominion to us, and give us power to live victorious and fulfilling lives.
Hope on the other hand has the power to “sustain us through the most difficult of times and circumstances. Having the ability to look forward keeps us moving forward, and hope plays an important role in this process”.
Jerry Groopman, MD, author of The Anatomy of Hope, writes that hope is different than merely thinking positively because hope requires an understanding and acknowledgement of the obstacles. He says there is “no room for delusion” if we are to be truly hopeful. “For my patients,” Groopman writes, “hope, true hope, has proved as important as any medication I might prescribe or any procedure I might perform.”
‘Hope is a necessary component of the therapeutic process’
Tom Knox researcher and writer admits, “What I discovered astonished me,” “Over the past 30 years a growing and largely unnoticed body of scientific work shows religious belief is medically, socially, and psychologically beneficial.” Most of the available evidence shows that prayer is most effective as a complementary rather than a primary therapy, nevertheless there is reasonable proof that prayer most definitively has a healing effect. Above all else, it has most certainly been acknowledged that through prayer we can find comfort in the most trying of times.