Cassie Steele – OCP News Service – 7/8/19
There were 18.1 million people diagnosed with cancer in 2018 and the number of new cases is expected to rise to 27.5 million by 2040. If you’ve recently become part of this statistic, you’re most likely exploring different options for dealing with cancer. Apart from pursuing medical interventions, one way that most people have dealt with this is a life-threatening disease is to go back to their spiritual roots. Indeed, the church can give us the strength we need to overcome challenging health issues like cancer. The power of prayer cannot be overstated as it is our personal connection with God that can bring about spiritual healing that our body needs. Here’s how prayer can provide you with inner healing when dealing with cancer.
The Stress of Cancer
It’s impossible not to feel stressed when you’re dealing with cancer. However, stress can be very detrimental, especially when your physical body is already weak due to chemotherapy. Stress can significantly affect your heart by increasing your heart rate and decreasing oxygen levels. Combined with the potential cardiovascular side effects of chemotherapy, stress could lead to a decreased quality of life. As such, it’s important to have proper stress management as well as heart-protection strategies to monitor your heart health when dealing with cancer. As a devout Orthodox Christian, prayer can help you deal with the stress of cancer. Prayer promotes inner healing and will give your heart and soul the peace it needs during this difficult time.
How Prayer Can Promote Inner Healing
As St. Theophan the Recluse said, “prayer is the test of everything; prayer is also the source of everything; praying is the driving force of everything; praying is also the director of everything. If prayer is right, everything is right. For prayer will not allow anything to go wrong.” Indeed, prayer can be the most powerful tool we have in dealing with challenging health issues like cancer. Prayer is an integral component of our lives as Orthodox Christians because it’s our direct connection to God. Though we might be going through a tough time, we can use this time to renew and strengthen our relationship with God. Cancer survivors have found that prayer can pluck away any stress, pain or fear that one may experience, and it can strengthen your resolve as you continue to fight the disease.
The Religion-Health Connection
Apart from spiritual healing, prayer has also been found to positively affect cancer patients’ psychological and physical well-being. The role of religion via prayer in physical healing is complex and cannot be fully understood from a scientific perspective. However, studies have found that prayer promotes a relaxation response and can enhance one’s sense of self-efficacy. These, in turn, have been found to enhance the immune system. Prayer, along with spirituality, has also been found to increase cancer patients’ quality of life. People who turned to their faith upon receiving a cancer diagnosis are also the ones who reported better physical health while dealing with cancer.
Dealing with cancer is definitely not easy. However, we shouldn’t let the fear, stress, and pain of it all dictate how the rest of our life will turn out. One of the ways you can overcome this challenging health issue is through prayer. Prayer is a staple in every Orthodox Christian’s life and it can give you the inner healing that your body needs in order to effectively beat cancer. Though it might be difficult to understand how prayer promotes spiritual, psychological and physical healing, cancer patients who have turned to prayer have reported better physical health while dealing with this disease.
Cassie Steele-OCP News Service