Religious Commitment Aids Health

Religious commitment may help prevent physical and mental illness and aid recovery from illness. Surveys of the US population during the past 60 years have established that religion holds a central place in the lives of many Americans. Ninety-five percent of Americans believe in God. More than 50% pray daily, and more than 40% attend church weekly. Analysis of published studies also show that more than 75% of people want their physician to consider spiritual issues in relation to their care and almost 50% want their physician to pray with them.

Religious people may cope better with illness by relying on their beliefs. Physicians can help religious people by encouraging them to pray more, meditate, attend worship, follow religiously-based mourning practices, seek forgiveness from others, and read holy literature. In short, it would seem that many religious practices that patients find potentially meaningful might become resources for enhanced prevention, coping, and recovery.

Archives of Family Medicine March/April 1998;7:118-124

COMMENT: My major passion is integrating dietary changes to correct chronic disease. However, dietary intervention pales in comparison to the spiritual and psychoemotional component of health. There is no question that one's inability to cope with stress causes far more heart attacks and cancer than smoking, high cholesterol, or a lousy diet.

Spiritual resources are incredibly powerful tools to facilitate healing at the most foundational level. It makes no sense to me to not access the most powerful force in the universe to aid our efforts. I am impressed on a regular basis by the power of prayer, not only in my own life, but in my family's, staff's and patient's lives. If you did not get a chance to listen to the Dr. Richard Swenson Focus on the Family broadcast last week I would strongly recommend obtaining the tape for $7 from Focus 1-800-232-6459. The presentation is from the physician conference out in Colorado Springs last November which I had a chance to attend. It is a very powerful and practical message that had most of the 800 physicians in tears..

Incidentally, I just learned this past weekend that Dr. Swenson actually receives this newsletter. If you decide to order this tape I would also suggest obtaining another tape from Focus called "From Mafia to Ministry". It is the incredible story of one of the main leaders in the mafia and how God transformed his entire life. When this tape was originally broadcast on Focus the calls coming into request it broke down the switchboards. I believe they received well in excess of 100,000 calls in one day top request the tape. It is the most incredible story I have ever heard in my entire life. It was so good, I ordered two dozen to give away as presents. I guarantee this tape will move you.

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