Power Of Prayer: Prayer and Medicine - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

04/19/2006 - Tyler

Power Of Prayer: Prayer and Medicine

At Tyler's Spine and Joint Hospital, Neurosurgeon Dr. Charley Gordon has performed thousands of surgeries. Trying to quantify prayer or God for that matter is something he says may be impossible.  "As I reflected on this study in particular, which was well organized and well thought out, I realized what we are really trying to do with this study is to test God. From a scientific perspective it was almost like we were asking God to respond to a certain incantation. And I don't think God will really do that," says Dr. Gordon.

Tyler Urologist Dr. Jim McAndrew agrees. After more than a decade of practice, he see little science can do to measure prayer. "The power of prayer is really hard to quantify," says Dr. McAndrew. "It's a supernatural phenomenon and its hard to use traditional scientific methods to quantify supernatural things."

But despite the lack of scientific proof, both these surgeons believe and have witnessed the power of faith, spirituality and prayer in the practice of medicine. "I really have, Clint. In fact I see miracles on a weekly basis, so often so I hesitate to say I've almost become used to them," says Dr. Gordon.

"Well I've seen some things that I cannot explain by my own intervention," says Dr. McAndrew, "where patients who should have not done as well, did better than I expected. I personally attribute that to the power of prayer."

"And it's very powerful in some patients lives," notes Dr. Gordon. "The thing about it is you never know when those prayers will be answered and the answer is not now or maybe later. And I think that is what is tricky about this Harvard study is that they looked for a certain outcome that we can understand as a yes. And I think that God does not always answer our prayers in the way we would like to see Him answer our prayers. He's not a trained chimp that does what we want every time and that's why He's God and we are not."

Both of these doctors pray for and with their patients before surgery. After thousands of cases only a handful have not wanted their doctor to pray with them.

Through experience and personal conviction these doctors say they believe prayer is a crucial part of in the treatment of their patients and to their own personal practice. And no "scientific" study will be able to prove otherwise. "When I pray with them before a major surgery you can almost see a major sense of relief and comfort in their faces," says Dr. McAndrew. "And most of my patients want me to pray with them."

"The reason I pray with my patients is really selfishly for my benefit," says Dr. Gordon. "I feel better empowered to be the best surgeon that I can be if I ask for divine intervention. And I can say without a single doubt in my mind that it has my a difference in my practice and I can give you many stories about times where I felt God was leading my hands and the outcome of my patients was materially different."

"Well, I not only believe in the power of prayer but in the sovereignty of God. It is for us to present our petitions to God but ultimately it is God's choice on the outcome. He is not a genie that we can rub and make demands because His will is sovereign," says Dr. McAndrew.

"The Bible tells us the universe itself speaks of the majesty and glory of God and I think that we have to approach what we see with a certain element of wonder and with awe. And unfortunately that have no place in scientific exploration. So yes I think that scientists will never be able to replace faith and I think that is exactly how God intended it," Dr. Gordon.

Clint Yeatts reporting, cyeatts@kltv.com .

**Here on the Power of Prayer Page look for a link to Dr. Gordon's website Designed On Purpose.

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