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Parsley and Prayer - Don’t confuse health fads with effectiveness

Parsley and prayer have a common element - they may be overlooked, but their usefulness and effectiveness hasn't changed.

Remember when just about every plate coming out from a restaurant kitchen was adorned with a sprig of parsley? 

When I attended cooking school, one of my professors asked the class if parsley had a purpose on the plate. Some of the students in the class, who already worked in the restaurant industry quickly answered that it was a useless piece of garnish. The professor smiled and informed the students that folks had forgotten the benefits of parsley. He went on to explain that parsley was a natural breathe freshener and had been served as an after meal palate cleanser. But he lamented that its spot on the plate had been usurped by fancy mints and candies. It didn’t mean that the mints were any more effective than parsley, just more fashionable.

Like parsley, prayer has been squeezed from the plate when it comes to health care. That wasn’t always the case. Prayer as a source for healing is at the vary core of the Bible. Time after time the Bible illustrates that simple, heartfelt turning to God in prayer brings healing.  There are 929 physical healings recorded in the Old Testament and 31 in the New Testament.  Although, St. John observes that not all of Jesus’ works were recorded. (John 21:25) Jesus’ teaching, though, sets the expectation for continued use of prayer for healing. Prayer has never lost its usefulness. Recently use of prayer has been growing. A study by the National Institutes of Health has identified a growing trend in use of prayer to address health concerns.

I googled “healed of cancer” and found the story of Dodie Osteen, the mother of televangelist Joel Osteen.  She began to feel ill and her condition continued to worsen. As a trained medical nurse she felt she needed medical attention, but her first action was to pray. Mrs. Osteen based her prayer in her understanding of the Word of God and the understanding that God cares and heals. She was diagnosed with cancer. Surgery and chemotherapy were offered, but she declined. Instead she went home to fight the disease with prayer. She vowed not to be a victim of a disease, so she got up every morning and dressed. Mrs. Osteen writes,”When I was in the house alone, I thought about myself, the pain, sickness, and symptoms, and I would get weary and full of pity. But when I forced myself to go out and pray for someone else, my health began to come back to me.”(Healed of Cancer by Dodie Osteen)

One of Mrs. Osteen’s doctor’s commented, “It is one thing to read about miracles but it is another to sit by and watch one happen.”

Medical studies are finding that prayer is important to treatment. The US National Library of Medicine at the National Institutes of Health has published a study from Brazil that found the most used form of complementary/alternative medicine is prayer and that prayer “significantly” affects quality of life issues for cancer patients. The study’s conclusion states it,”should not be discouraged by physicians.” (www.scielo.br)  

Mrs. Osteen makes the point that she thinks of her healing as starting the day she received the diagnosis. I can relate to that. I needed to have a physical exam for a job. The examination turned up a growth on my back that the physician identified as cancerous. Before I left his office an appointment was made for me with an oncologist. As soon as the doctor made the pronouncement, I started reaching out to God. My faith had taught me that prayer would guide my journey. Before I could keep the appointment, the growth dropped from my back leaving no sore or scar.  I returned to the first doctor who cleared me for the job and canceled the oncologist appointment.

Although most studies today limit the use of prayer to ameliorating symptoms of disease, such as cancer, Dodie’s experience and mine, indicate that we should not limit its possibilities. 

Like parsley, prayer is just as effective now as it ever has been  Let’s make sure it keeps its place on the health care plate.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

KarenM February 20, 2013 at 04:49 AM
This is such an encouraging message and a reminder that when we place God and our relationship to Him foremost in our thoughts, healing follows.
Bonita K. Rea February 21, 2013 at 11:25 PM
BKay More emphatically it is interesting to note that every one of those healings recorded in the Old and New Testament came about by turning to God in prayer. Not one healing in the Bible was a result of intrusive treatment of any kind. Our job is to "pray without ceasing" until we see that all mankind is benefited by recognizing God's healing love to all his children.
Ellen White February 21, 2013 at 11:39 PM
Thank you, Stormy. Loved this!
Jane Carey February 22, 2013 at 03:07 AM
A great comparison of parsley &. prayer! I remember my mother telling me the breath freshening quality of parsley. It is true that often the original value of things is often forgotten, denied,, or not passed on to the next generation. As you bring out, the healing power of prayer sincerely & humbly given - retains both it's value & power to protect and to heal in any & every circumstance. I thought it was wonderful to mote that Dodie Osteen's health returned to her as she prayed for others. She proved the truth of the "two great commandments - love God first & foremost , and thy brother as thyself. Jane Carey
Joanne Greenman February 22, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Thanks Stormy for this great blog. I feel I can share it with anyone to show the power prayer has in healing and how it can reveal our true being as God's children.
Stormy Becker Falso February 22, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Thank you Karen. I also find it encouraging that recognition of the healing power of pray is growing.
Stormy Becker Falso February 22, 2013 at 06:53 PM
Thank you BKay! Yes, when we talk about getting back to the basics of healings the Bible gives us a wonderful map and instructions for turning to God.
Stormy Becker Falso February 22, 2013 at 06:54 PM
You are welcome Ellen. I think it's important to recognize and record the importance of our relationship with God and expect healing.
Stormy Becker Falso February 22, 2013 at 06:56 PM
Dear Jane, I have thought about the comparison of parsley and prayer for years. We do get so caught up with the latest and greatest styles, but it truly is the simplicity found in prayer that lights the way to healing.
Stormy Becker Falso February 22, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Dear Joanne, Thank you for your kind comments! I think that prayer is the simplest and most powerful form of healing. Thank you for sharing this blog!
Makaela T February 24, 2013 at 06:31 AM
I love the idea that all prayer for health is effective and cannot have a negative impact, because it is all based on pure motives; and that there is not one correct way to pray. Why not look for a permanent cure rather than a temporary fix for pain and suffering?
Stormy Becker Falso February 25, 2013 at 12:52 AM
Dear Makaela, Thanks for you comment! I appreciate your insights and agree!

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