As a faith-based healthcare system, Adventist HealthCare is intentionally engaged with the spiritual dimensions of healing and health. While it might be most evident through our chaplains and various programs for spiritual care, it is something that ripples through and impacts everything that we do.
Speaking personally, there are few things more fundamental to me than how prayer is part of my spiritual health.
I can’t remember when I first learned to pray. It was undoubtedly when I was very young—and it has always been an important part of how I live my life. There are several times during the day when my prayers are quite structured (such as when I first awaken in the morning or at mealtime). And formal prayers such as those we have before Adventist HealthCare meetings or in church are a part of my daily routine.
But that’s just a small part of my prayer life. Very early on I was taught that “prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend,” and innumerable times each day I find myself opening my heart to God, expressing my gratitude or concerns, and seeking the grace and guidance that comes from the Divine. I think the best prayers are the most direct and honest prayers, and so I find myself saying “Help me” and “Thank you” a lot. I suspect I’m not alone in this.
Prayer is an essential part of how healthcare engages with the spiritual aspects of patient care. While every faith and tradition has different practices relating to prayer, we appreciate and respect the role that prayer plays in the lives of each of our patients, their families, and our caregivers.
When patients are facing the complex set of issues related to health and healing, prayer can be such an important part of life. In the search for answers, in the management of pain, in the successful implementation of therapies, in end-of-life care or in confronting loss, prayer can play a significant role. And in moments of great joy—such as the birth of a child or the achievement of a milestone in healing or recovery—the gratitude that comes from our hearts forms the richest prayers of our lives.
Our commitment to the physical, mental, and spiritual healing of our patients, and the way that is expressed in our service within our communities, will continue to motivate our own inquiry into the fundamental connections between body, mind, and spirit. It’s a process I deeply care about, and it is in my prayers, every day.
Through its commitment to return the soul to medicine, integrative medicine will continue to develop innovative and meaningful ways to address the fundamental connection between mind, body, and spirit in health and healing.