How The Power of Prayer Helps Me Face My Psoriasis

The summer after I graduated from high school, members of my church gathered to pray for me. They knew about my daily challenges with severe psoriasis, and that I was going to enter a psoriasis day-care clinic for six weeks. I felt cared for and I appreciated their attention.

I hoped beyond hope that something miraculous would happen, but a part of me remained skeptical. The experience also raised several questions for me as a young person of faith. Is it selfish to pray for yourself when the world has real problems? Is it possible to know if such a spiritual practice can be a healing force in the face of a physical condition like psoriasis? Am I wasting my time praying if my health doesn’t improve?

Days passed, and nothing changed. Not only did my psoriasis not improve, but it took longer than expected to respond to the daylong treatments I underwent at the clinic.

I came away wondering if I should just give up on prayer altogether. Today, I’m an ordained minister, but I still suffer from severe, chronic psoriasis. If prayer didn’t heal my psoriasis, I needed to see if something else could come from it.

Prayer Can Be a Strategy to Cope With Illness

A couple of my favorite stories from the Bible are about people with physical ailments affecting the skin. In one story, Naaman the leper is healed after bathing in the Jordan River. In another, Paul’s prayers that the Lord remove a “thorn” in his flesh go unanswered.

I have to say, my own experience with psoriasis has been more like Paul’s than Naaman’s. One of the reasons I identify with Paul’s story is that his continued suffering resulted in personal growth through patience and humility. So has my “thorn,” psoriasis, made me a more compassionate and understanding person.

Prayer as Part of a Holistic Approach to Wellness

My experiences as a patient and minister have taught me that prayer can be part of a holistic approach to treating a person’s body, mind, and soul.

If someone asks if they can pray for me, the gesture touches my soul both through their offer and the prayer itself. Much of my emotional healing from the bullying and teasing that I faced in childhood came through prayers.

As a minister, I’ve seen the beneficial power of prayer in others. When my friend’s sister-in-law Lucy’s cancer became very advanced, I was asked to visit the family. Lucy was in and out of consciousness, but she accepted my invitation to pray for her. With her loved ones gathered around, Lucy squeezed my hand at the end of the prayer. I truly believe that prayer offered some peace and solace to Lucy, who passed away a couple of days later.

Prayer alone may not cure or heal illness. Still, science, faith, and experience have shown me that it can help treat not only a condition but the whole person. Whatever health matters you may face, try making prayer or meditation part of your treatment plan.

You can read more about my experiences in my blog for ishonest and on my website.

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