The Power of Prayer

kevinFor this post, in order to discuss what I want to about prayer, I’ll have to dive into personal life a little bit.  At the end of July, of this year, I woke up one morning with an extreme and sharp pain in my side.  I decided to go to the hospital to find out what was wrong with me and a mass was discovered on my liver.

Instantly, from many people I knew, the “pray” word started being thrown around: “We’ll keep you in out prayers,” “We’re praying for you,” “I pray that you’ll be alright,” etc.  Next, I will go into a time-line of what what was happening to me, what people were praying for, and what the reality was.

Mass Found on Liver

Most likely prayer: That the mass is either a cyst or a benign tumor.

Reality: A few days later I had an MRI scan and it appeared that the mass was a malignant tumor.  The only way to be sure was to have the mass surgically removed in order to perform a biopsy.

Mass Most Likely Malignant Tumor (need surgery)

Most likely prayer: The surgery will go smooth (no complications) and after the mass is removed the biopsy will show that it is a benign tumor.

Reality: I had many post-operation problems.  From my positioning during the surgery, a nerve was pinched causing numbness in parts of my arm and some of my fingers.  I developed a blood clot in my lung.  And last, my incision would not heal properly, forcing me to do a special technique to help it heal.  Also, the pathology report came back showing that the mass was indeed a malignant tumor and a very aggressive one.  My next step was to see a cancer specialist to see if chemotherapy was needed, although the surgeon said it seemed very unlikely since the tumor was completely removed.

Tumor Removed, Need to See if Chemotherapy is Necessary

Most likely prayer: Chemotherapy will not be necessary.

Reality: As it turns out, my form of cancer is very (VERY) rare.  Removing the tumor, without chemotherapy, only gives me a 50% chance to survive.  Adding chemotherapy, my chances are raised to at least 75%.  So, it appears that I am going to start chemotherapy in a couple of weeks.

So what can we learn from all of this?  Not only were no prayers answered so far in the course of my cancer, but it appears the exact opposite of the prayer came true.  What conclusions can be drawn from this?  I would say that either prayer does not work (God doesn’t exist) or God really hates me.  And out of those options, I’m really hoping prayer doesn’t work.  Because statistically, chemotherapy will give me at least a 75% survival rate, but most likely higher since I had a complete tumor removal.  But if we follow the other prayer trend, it doesn’t seem like it will turn out so well, since it appears that God wants me dead.  Here’s to science.


One Response to The Power of Prayer

  1. hamster says:

    The greatest wonder of prayer is that it always works in some way or another. What is rarely discussed is that wonder is plainly put: confirmation bias. Perhaps religious response to this would be that God works in ways we don’t always understand, or maybe later after you are better, you may conclude that you grew from the experience and are better off or more mature from it, and how could you not? Prayer is always right in this way.

    I like to focus on what is good and bad about prayer. I got tired of being offended everytime someone wanted to pray for me so this is the way I deal with it. One bad is that it falsely verifies the presence of a god that cares and acts on our behalf (although it doesn’t verify the absence of one).

    One good is that it causes people to focus on whatever problem or need in a positive way which may be the first step to finding a solution. I used to be so annoyed when people told me they would pray for me but now I just translate into “we’re going to think about a solution to your problem.”

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