Prayer: Helpful or harmful to those with diabetes?

I've often wondered how prayer validates itself as a worthwhile activity to those who rely on it for healing and protection, with regards to diabetes and honestly, all other ailments. My main problem with the idea of prayer being efficacious stems from this absolute but undeniable fact:

God has never healed a Type 1 diabetic of Type 1 diabetes.

Furthermore, no Type 1 diabetic has ever experienced a spontaneous remission of the disease. Indeed, no Type 1 diabetic has ever been cured by any means other than a "man-made" transplant.

The question that undermines belief in prayer the power of prayer is obvious: if God does heal through prayer, why does he refuse to heal Type 1 diabetes, in every instance? Given the millions of people who have died from it, particularly those struck before the discovery of insulin in the 1920s, are we to believe that not a single one of those people of whatever fraction turned to prayer for healing at some point could be granted such? The odds are staggering. I suppose an alternative, if one is to maintain a belief in the power of prayer to heal, is that Type 1 diabetes is actually a (permanent) punishment from God, but then we have the problem of those struck with the disease in infancy and very young childhood, not apparently having committed any act worthy of divine retribution.

Perhaps there is another reasonable alternative I am missing in my analysis.

If prayer is not useful in treating Type 1, then the time spent doing it is time lost that could have been spent doing things that are proven to mitigate the effects of the disease- exercise, blood glucose tests, self-education, etc.. Does a feeling count for anything? If I feel like doing 10 push-ups in the morning improves my blood sugars, but years of testing show no benefit, can I claim those push-ups do anything for my blood sugars? Yet people are often taken at their word when they claim divine healing through prayer and what may be a harmful habit is encouraged.

I do not mean to offend those who are religious. But the idea of repeating anything over the long term that never proves fruitful seems to be the very definition of futility to me.

Views: 1225

Tags: 1, god, prayer, religion, type

Comment by Bronagh on December 30, 2008 at 1:59am
I thought this was really interesting to read. I'm not the most religious person either but I would still pray from time to time. However, when I spend time praying for diabetes related things, I don't pray for a cure but rather for the strength to cope with the possibility of NOT being cured. I don't see T1 diabetes as a punishment (jeez, I hope it's not a punishment or I was a very bad 7 year old :P) but I think it's more like a challenge which will ultimately make us stronger, even if it's destined to weaken us in other ways.

...Not that I'd go as far to say that it's some sort of blessing from God because if it is he's got a seriously strange perception of it, lol...but I just think it's more like an obstacle he's put in our way to see how we overcome it and to make us better people in other ways. I believe everything happens for a reason and maybe diabetes happens for a reason as well...
Comment by Brigitte on December 30, 2008 at 2:31am
I'm agree with you. I never pray because I have no religion. One day in my life, I was talking to a friend, a religious man with type 1 and he tried to explain to me that his God had chosen him, it was a blessing from God. Strange things for me. He was praying a lot . I have many friends who are religious.
Comment by Sohair Abdel-Rahman on December 30, 2008 at 3:24am
Well,I pray because God created me and that magnificent universe,it is a way of connecting with him and feeling close,no matter if I get what I like in life or not.Life is a phase,we go through it then to the lasting phase without pain,sickness or the rest.We pray phisically five times/day,without it I feel lonely & lost.
Comment by Scott Strumello on December 30, 2008 at 5:40am
Live and let live has always been my motto; I won't deny anyone the right to their personal beliefs, but I draw the line when they start prosthelytizing, which violates the U.S. Constitution. That said, many people do find that prayer has positive therapeutic effects, including helping them to deal with stress more effectively, which therefore makes their glycemic management easier. While no amount of gospel will ever convince me that some divine body has ever managed to cure anyone of type 1 diabetes (I've yet to meet anyone), for those who follow some of the Eastern religions, concepts like karma, reincarnation (notably in Hindu and Buddhism beliefs) seem to suggest that prayer or meditation may not necessarily alleviate a person of type 1 diabetes today, but in the afterlife, so there may be more to the idea of prayer than Western religious thought dictates.
Comment by Brigitte on December 30, 2008 at 7:06am
Yes Scott, I think prayers can give positive effects. I think anyone has the right to have personal beliefs and I'm agree with U.S. Constitution (I studied it in University) . I think prayers can help to fight the stress. And I think that Oneless, Bobby , Sohair and all the others (I think that's a big discussion!) who'll write , have their opinion, their beliefs, their point of vue and I must say that's good. I hope I don't offend because I will be very sorry and sad.
Comment by Bobby on December 30, 2008 at 7:47am
Greetings, One and All,
Just wanted to say I felt compelled to delete my previous response. I reacted too strongly to what was written about the power of prayer. I am a preacher, after all. It was not my intention to prosilytize, I think I felt threatened, because it appeared to me that God Himself was being attacked. It was sort of like someone was threatening my Father, and I felt the need to stand up for Him. Anyone that knows me, knows that I do not use tudiabetes as a forum to push my own religious agenda. That is not why I am here. However, I did have a very powerful conversion experience 28 years ago that was very real, and no one can argue that or take it away from me. It turned my whole world upside down--for the better. What I do know is that the power of prayer has worked over and over in my life--and no one can argue that either, and even if God chooses not to heal me of Diabetes, I will still continue to pray, and my faith in God will not fail, because that is where my strength lies.
Peace, Ya'll
Bobby
Comment by debb on December 30, 2008 at 8:52am
this is a tough one for me. i'm not exactly the most religious person in the world. i don't go to church or totally believe everything that i am told. but i think for some, prayer has a calming effect and in that context it can help them get through a rough time. recently our friend saundra went through a tough time and she says knowing we were all there rooting for her helped her get through something she felt she wasn't going to come through. our love and support helped her. she was able to reduce some of the stress and fear and start to calm down so that the new medicines that they gave her could do their job. she came close to death a few times before that happened. never underestimate the power of prayer. it's an internal thing. it won't keep you from death if it's your time or even beget a cure. but what it does emotionally for those who believe in it is something i have never seen anywhere else. these people know that what will happen is going to happen so they except it and relax. i can't explain it any better then that. i wish i could. it's like a shot of whiskey for some or a day of shopping for others. it calms them. i don't think i would ever want to take it away from them. would you? whatever they believe helps them, i'm all for and i have said a few prayers in my lifetime as well. it can't hurt.
Comment by George Simmons on December 30, 2008 at 8:56am
I do not see how anything that provides hope would be harmful. If prayer were the ONLY response to diabetes then I would say, yes only responding to diabetes with prayer is harmful.

I have never EVER thought, "I'll pray instead of check my BG right now" and I imagine most diabetics with a prayer life would say the same thing. That seems weird to think that the time praying would somehow take away from checking my blood or going to the doctor.

If prayer does not provide comfort then don't do it, but to say it could be harmful (again I agree if it is the only response) just seems like an attempt to bash religion.
Comment by Jason on December 30, 2008 at 10:21am
I am certainly not trying to bash religion, and having rather fierce libertarian tendencies, I support everyone's freedom to practice whichever religion they choose, or no religion at all. I am only questioning the efficacy of one aspect of religious practice as it relates to health issues, diabetes in particular.

If someone claims standing on the street in a bunny suit heals their Type 1 diabetes, I would say that they definitely have a right to engage in that activity and even to claim it improves their health. But having that right does not shield the claim that person is making from questions about its veracity. Such questions do not imply a disregard for or opposition to the individual's freedom to stand on the corner in a bunny suit or even to make claims that are not borne out by the evidence.

I suppose my point is that claims of divine healing through prayer should not be sacrosanct but rather, subject to the same degree of scrutiny as is focused on non-supernatural claims of the same type.
Comment by George Simmons on December 30, 2008 at 10:40am
Asking if prayer works or not is not the same as asking if it is harmful or helpful. This can go on and on so I will just say this.

The bunny suit could help you if you believe it does but you could get dehydrated if you wear it during summer so that would be harmful. Praying can be helpful if you believe in God and that prayer helps, but praying in the middle of the highway would be harmful.

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