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When A Doctor Prays


It is no secret that there is power in prayer. Don’t believe me or unsure? Well, other than simply asking you to trust me, let me give you some interesting facts. Studies at Duke, Dartmouth, and Yale Universities have all concluded that there are positive effects of prayer on our health. Other studies using MRI scans show dramatic changes in the brain while a person prays. There is broad agreement among the scientific and medical community that prayer is impactful, even if they don’t understand why.

There are many things in this life we don’t understand. For example, when a drunk driver walks away from an accident without a scratch, while the family in the other car loses loved ones, or when a young healthy woman who never smoked is diagnosed with lung cancer. For me this is where the story takes a personal turn.

It was my wife that was diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of thirty-eight. We did not understand it, nor did we expect it. We did what we always did, we prayed. But something else unexpected happened. At the first visit with an oncologist we didn’t know what to expect. We were surprised by two things when the oncologist, Dr. Benjamin Jones, walked into the room. The first thing that surprised us was how young he was. The second thing surprising was the Bible verses framed and placed on the table, along with other items of a Christian characteristic. This got my attention and I asked the doctor if these “religious things” had a reflection on him. He responded by saying, “Yes, I’m a believer.”


You can probably guess what happened next. It was the first time we prayed with our new, young doctor. We did not know him prior to that day, but in that moment, we knew him as deeply as people can know one another. It was beyond knowing him in the physical sense. We instantly knew him beyond what he did, we knew him for who he was. That prayer mattered. I don’t remember the words, no-one jumped up and down or did some kind of rain dance, it was just a simple bowing of the head in sincere reverence and offering a prayer to God. Lorie had seen many physicians prior to this but none had prayed with her, prayed for her, until now.

Pastors are often found at the hospital bedside of parishioners. However, physicians who attend the beside of their patients with prayer may be more impactful than anyone else can be. You see, the doctor- patient relationship is unique, especially for the chronic or critically ill. When that doctor prays for his or her patient it is transformational. When the doctor prays it transcends what is physical. It communicates to the patient that they are so cared for by their doctor that their physician gives them the best of their medical mind but, also goes beyond the natural to what is supernatural. He is petitioning heaven for healing or comfort. Modern medicine and prayer have something in common, they do not always bring healing. But modern medicine and prayer also differ. Modern medicine may not heal a person and perhaps may not even help, whereas prayer may not heal a person but, it always helps. It helps in ways I am not able to explain. The great universities of the world are not able to explain this but, it helps none the less. When a doctor prays for his patient, he is practicing a form of medicine more powerful than any drug on the market. He is infusing Heaven’s love directly into the heart and soul of the patient. This is what happens when a doctor prays. He may not be able to bring miracles down but, he can lift that person up. Perhaps the best description of a praying doctor and all of his actions are found in the Christian Physician’s Oath…

With gratitude to God, faith in Christ Jesus, and dependence on the Holy Spirit, I publicly profess my intent to practice medicine for the glory of God.

With humility, I will seek to increase my skills. I will respect those who teach me and who broaden my knowledge. In turn, I will freely impart my knowledge and wisdom to others.

With God’s help, I will love those who come to me for healing and comfort. I will honor and care for each patient as a person made in the image of God, putting aside selfish interests.

With God’s guidance, I will endeavor to be a good steward of my skills and of society’s resources. I will convey God’s love in my relationships with family, friends, and community. I will aspire to reflect God’s mercy in caring for the lonely, the poor, the suffering, and the dying.

With God’s blessing, I will respect the sanctity of human life. I will care for all my patients, rejecting those interventions which either intentionally destroy or actively end the lives of the unborn, the infirm, and the terminally ill.

With God’s grace, I will live according to this profession.

It is no surprise that this is framed and hanging on the wall in the exam room where Dr. Jones meets his patients. Because this is what happens when a doctor prays.

Live Your Legacy,

Jeff Duncan

President / Founder

Lorielife Legacy

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