Should Your Doctor Pray With You?

As physicians, we interact with patients during some of the most important moments of their lives — at their births and at their deathbeds, at events bursting with spiritual significance. And yet most of us are afraid to talk about spirituality with our patients, much less discuss religion, out of fear that such conversations would be inappropriate. We are afraid even though many patients want to discuss these matters with their. By one estimate, 48 percent percent of patients would like physicians to pray with them.

That is what is so striking about the professor’s story. Here he was, a hyper-rational atheist, on the receiving end of a sermon from a surgeon who was clearly not afraid to “talk God” with his patients. He was so unafraid, in fact, that he didn’t bother to figure out whether his patient was interested in sharing a moment of Christian prayer.

The surgeon was also oblivious to the likelihood that a Corinthian-laden bedside prayer would have caused most patients to worry about the risks of the procedure. The professor’s take: “He told me everything would be fine, and then he prayed over me like a priest doling out last rites! If I didn’t understand the statistics, I would have wondered what I was getting myself into.” More.

 

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About The Rev. Thomas C. Jackson

Ordained to the priesthood in December, 2010.
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