What does prayer have to do with health and long life? It depends. If you asked C.S. Lewis, three time Oxford Don when he was an atheist, he would have told you, "I don't know," or "probably nothing." But when he became a theist and was Surprised by Joy, his answer would have been different. The question of spirituality and health has been tossed around by researchers for decades. The findings are interesting.
Two quotes from Shakespeare come to mind. First, Hamlet and Horation upon having seen Old Hamlet's ghost, Horatio comments, "Tis wondrous strange." Hamlet's response: "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio." (Horatio, model of temperance and rationality and a student at Wittenberg is studying philosophy probably rational humanism, exclusive of ghostly phenomena.) In the second quote Hamlet is speaking to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern when they ask him, "Whasss up?" He says, "There is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so." Then he explains, "I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a King of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams."
In the first quote, clearly, I do think that there are more things in heaven and earth than are "known" by science and mankind at this point. In other words, nothing is yet "conclusive" and the jury is still out regarding many concepts that scientists have "believed" to be, and then were forced to revise and update, i.e. quantum mechanics...chaos theory. This is even more the case with the biological sciences whose research funding is controlled by vested interests. In the second quote, Hamlet, speaks about the impact of one's thinking on one's own perception and reality. It's amazing that he says he could be locked in a space as tiny as a walnut shell and yet count the space as infinite, except for the "bad" dreams. He makes it clear that his THOUGHTS govern his condition, his "good/bad" perception.
My friend Angie is a prayerful woman of the Christian faith. Recently, she was diagnosed with diabetes. A nurse in England, years ago, she respects science and medicine. She also respects the Word of God. Both, to her thinking, are not mutually exclusive, but interchangeable, fluid. God inspires knowledge and gives wisdom about the body. But this must be investigated, researched and prayed about; one must be able to prayerfully discern the truth and decide which paths to take, not always easy when vested interests are lurking about often influencing and skewing pharmacology research and medical practice. The results sometimes have been devestating. Certainly, As long as the profit motive is king, Big Pharma will continue to face lawsuits, unless there is tort reform, laws which the medical industrial complex are continually lobbying for and may succeed in achieving in more states than just former President Bush's Texas.
Currently, Angie is taking medication for the diabetes, but she has also changed her eating lifestyle,
and has lost twenty pounds. Her knee pain has abated and she is able to increase her exercise and walk for longer periods without tiring; there is less weight pressure on her knees. She eats everything and is not particularly selective, except her calorie regimen is locked at around 1500 calories a day. She prayed about all of this and determined to lose the weight slowly and steadily (something she found very difficult to do beforehand and keep off) not caring if it takes one year or two years.
Without any allergies, she can enjoy three meals, including white carbs, and still lose weight. Here is an example of some of her selections.
Breakfast: always a poached egg and two waffles OR an English whole wheat muffin or toast OR cereal and milk.
Lunch: salad mixed with sunflower seeds, fruit, tomatoes (items can vary) and a portion of rice, OR stewed vegetable (egg plant, cabbage, broccoli, etc.) which she enjoys with a small portion of basmati rice.
Dinner: chicken, fish, beef or pork (not a humongous portion) mixed salad and sometimes just salad and a small portion of basmati rice. If she just has salad, it's a larger plate of salad and some rice.
She has no food selection restrictions. She credits her success thus far to her faith and prayer, her simple food plan and her determination to be healthy with God, giving her the inner strength to be healthy. Was the diabetes a wake up call? Yes. But that's OK. She is determined that she will be able to regulate her condition with her meal plan, God's help, faith, prayer for continued strength and exercise as she becomes more physically fit.
For me, if she has created her own lifestyle plan which works according to her body, faith, belief and fitness level, then go for it, Angie! Our bodies are individual; the same plan doesn't work for everyone. But if one can find the will and the strength and the lifestyle that works for him or her, that's fabulous!!!! And best of all, IT'S FREE!!!
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