Over the past twenty years, dozens of studies show that prayer, faith and belief in God has a positive effect on physical, spiritual and emotional health. Dr. Harold C. Koenig is the Director of Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health and is considered among the country’s leading authorities on faith and healing. According to Dr. Koenig, it was reported in 2015 that an analysis of more than 1,500 reputable medical studies “indicate people who are more religious and pray more have better mental and physical health”.
If you are wondering what kind of impact faith may have on physical health, Koenig, the senior author of the “Handbook of Religion and Health”, says that involvement in a faith community, enables people to better cope with stress, experience greater well-being “because they have more hope,” and have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure and “probably better cardiovascular functioning.” Dr. Koenig reports that nearly 1,200 studies done on the effects of prayer on health show that religious people are motivated to live healthier lives.
It is interesting to note how being involved in and attending religious services on a routine basis offers a trusted support system providing a connection to social interaction and bonding. Clay Routledge, social psychologist and professor of psychology at North Dakota State University, writes that recent studies found that praying together promotes feelings of unity and trust. It seems that social prayer may be a factor in bringing people closer together.
The intent of this article is to show that prayer and faith have a positive impact on one’s total health – mind, body and spirit – and to emphasize that our parish provides and supports ministries that promotes whole person health.