(Closed) Prayer vs. medicine

posted 7 years ago in Christian
Post # 3
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

I have strong feelings about this subject. I have worked abroad in remote areas before. One day, some missionaries came to my village. There was a woman who came to them with an open abcess on her foot. It must have been incredibly painful for her. I went to get my medical kit in order to clean it up for her.

When I came back, I found the missionaries praying with her. Prayer is all very well, but they hadn’t even cleaned her wound first. I was very angry… medicate first, pray later, I almost shouted! What is more, they then sent her away before I could even dress her foot! They said that it was down to God whether or not she would heal. I was angry because they had no way of knowing whether or not God would have wanted me to treat her, but that seeing as I was there, ready to help, they should have at least encouraged me to try.

Jesus had a mission to heal the sick and we should do the same with all the resources at our disposal, including modern medical technology. God works through people, and modern medicine is doing good work. Remember that you shall know them through the fruits they bear. Modern medical technology is good fruit! It saves lives!

As far as the problem of human suffering goes, this is a separate issue… but I wouldn’t confuse the problem of human suffering with the question of whether or not medicine or prayer are better than one another. In conclusion then, I must reiterate:

Medicate FIRST


That is all.

Post # 5
1081 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2013


I’m not Christian, but I’m a firm believer in science and medicine…. I am asking these as a legitimate questions, not as any kind of personal attack, so please understand! I just want to understand the viewpoint. πŸ™‚


If God created the scientists and doctors who have discovered/formulated/created treatments/cures/vaccines for diseases… why is it wrong to take medicine or to see a doctor?

Why can’t it be “God’s plan” that you get a disease and then are cured by medicine, especially if he created those who created the medicine?

Why did he create scientists and doctors if he does not want you to seek their help or benefit from their discoveries?

Why are vaccines wrong, if God created the scientists who made them, and if they prevent agonizing pain and death?

I ask that last question because I teach children with special needs, many of which have not received any vaccinations, and I contracted Pertussis from one of them (I had the vaccine as a child, but it wears off by mid-20s). It was the WORST experience of my life… weeks of coughing so hard and so long I had a perpetual migraine, I was vomitting blood from coughing so hard, I couldn’t sleep for days because of constant coughing, it got to the point where all I could do was wallow in misery coughing and screaming and sobbing and coughing. It was AGONY, and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemies…. so if God created a scientist who was smart enough to create a vaccine to PREVENT this kind of agony, why do so many people refuse to get the vaccine? Especially since choosing to not vaccinate yourself (or your children) may seriously harm someone ELSE.



Again, I am just curious to know the reasoning behind these… it’s something I’ve never understood, and would just like to understand the view. πŸ™‚

I am not trying to offend anyone, and if I have inadvertently offended anyone, sorry!

Post # 6
8036 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@kris325:  I’m not religious so take this with a grain of salt. I’m agnostic. I see no evidence that prayer doesn’t work, but the whole “God has a plan” thing doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do everything in your power to live life to the fullest, and know that your every action has consequences.

The way I understand it, is that God gave humans free will. That’s why it confuses me when people say “Oh it’s all part of God’s plan”. We all have choices, and that includes when it comes to medical care.

If it’s all part of God’s plan, why in some cases do innocent children die, and in some cases, serial killers live in freedom and health to old age? It doesn’t make sense to me. Maybe it’s not supposed to, but still. Just from things like that, I would not invest all my resources into praying.

Anyway, like PPs have said, medicine first, prayer second (or do both at once!).

Post # 7
10635 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: January 2011

I think prayer can have a place when it comes to healing.  I’m not really sure how it is best achieved.  I know many people from my denomination will not pray for God to heal someone.  They will pray for someone, but if the outcome isn’t good, they do not want people to think it’s because they didn’t pray enough.  They don’t believe that God cures people because of prayer.  While I agree with that, my actions don’t always follow.  I find it difficult myself to not pray for a person to be well when they are really sick and it’s someone I love.

That’s a bit different than what you’re talking about though.  I do not at all agree with using prayer in the place of medical treatment.  People die from this.  I think parents should be charged with abuse if they withhold neccessary treatment from their children.

People do recover from things that they weren’t expected to recover from, and I do think God plays a role.  I don’t think God ever cures someone because people prayed for it though.

Post # 8
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

View original reply
@lovelove1028:  “If God created the scientists and doctors who have discovered/formulated/created treatments/cures/vaccines for diseases… why is it wrong to take medicine or to see a doctor?

Why can’t it be “God’s plan” that you get a disease and then are cured by medicine, especially if he created those who created the medicine?

Why did he create scientists and doctors if he does not want you to seek their help or benefit from their discoveries?

Why are vaccines wrong, if God created the scientists who made them, and if they prevent agonizing pain and death?”

+ a million!

We can never understand God. God is a mystery greater than man. But if you believe that God is a loving Father, why would he want you to suffer when you have the means at your disposal to prevent it?

Allow me to share a story… apologies if you have heard it before…

Once there was a man who lived in a town where there was a great flood. He lived in a house on a hill. As the water rose, the people who lived at the bottom of the hill walked past his house on their way out of town. They told him that the water was rising, and that he should leave his house whilst he could.

“No” said the man. “God will save me!”

The water rose, and soon it reached his house. Before long, a boat came past, full of the man’s neighbours. They said that there was room in the boat, and that he should come with them.

“No” said the man. “God will save me!”

A second boat, and a third boat, came past, and the man gave the same answer both times. Finally, the water rose so high that the man had to sit on his roof to stay dry. He looked up, and he saw a helicopter above his head. The pilot shouted to him that there was room inside the helicopter, and that he could lower a rope ladder for the man. However, the man gave the same answer as before.

The water continued to rise, and the man drowned and went to heaven, where he got to meet God.

“I don’t understand” said the man. “I prayed and prayed for you to save me, but you didn’t help me!”

And then God said: “I sent you three boats and a helicopter… what more did you want?”


The problem is that if we wait around for flashes of blinding light and miraculous visions, we may be waiting for a long time. May I also draw your attention to Matthew 4, verse 5-7:

“Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. 6 “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:

“‘He will command his angels concerning you,
    and they will lift you up in their hands,
    so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

7 Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test’ “

People who do not medicate are putting the Lord to the test… this is obviously a Very Bad Thing, IMO. These people are trying to deliberately provoke him into proving himself, which is a very dangerous thing for them.


The problem of human suffering is a separate problem… why would a loving God allow so much suffering in the world? This is not a question with easy answers! I’m sorry you are suffering, and I’m sure God cares about you lots and lots as well!

Post # 9
175 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: February 2014





Post # 10
1877 posts
Buzzing bee

Prayer and medicine are not mutually exclusive.  In fact, they work well together and God often answers prayers by providing medicine that is needed.

Post # 11
31 posts



If God is that awesome..why gve someone a ilness and then take it away just because someone have been praying for that person?..Is it for his own show off “I’m thath great..I can get people sick..and then take it away”.


Why just not spare the pearsons their suffering from being scared and not give them a desise in the first place?


Medicine first..and in my opionion..is the only option.


Praying if it makes you feel better but it will not make a difference for the outcome of your sickness.


I hope as lovely that nobody will get offended but this is just how I see it.




View original reply
@lovelove1028:  I agree with you!


Post # 12
11231 posts
Sugar Beekeeper
  • Wedding: August 2013

Him and his girlfriend contracted aids. He prayed for them and she goes back to the doctor (he doesn’t believe in doctors) and has paper work proving she does not have aids now.

Okay, I really have to comment on this. My father passed away from complications stemming from AIDS. I am not religious (Agnostic).

1. They would have contracted HIV, not AIDS. You cannot contract AIDS. The progression of untreated HIV to AIDS takes about ten years. Without definitive antibody testing, the symptoms could be the flu or from drug use.

2. You can test positive for HIV during the acute stage (CD4+ decrease) and then head into the latent stage, where the disease is clinically dormant and you typically don’t have any symptoms (CD4+ increase). A person infected doesn’t even show antibodies until weeks after intial infection, so tests are going to show normal results.

Post # 13
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

View original reply
@Bloodymurderer:  The problem of human suffering is a far more complex one than the problem of medication. There are several schools of thought on this… I may return to add more, but I will summarise briefly off the top of my head…

1. ” If you jump off a bridge you should not get too upset with God when you hit the bottom.” If you smoke, you are more likely to get cancer. If you lie, you are more likely to get found out and suffer as a result. If you pollute the earth, natural disasters result from altered weather paterns etc. Parents try to make sure that their children’s bad actions have consequences… the only way they can become adults is to understand that you reap what you sow.

The problem with this argument: a loving parent would not allow their child to DIE as a result of a mistake they made!

2. We need pain to survive as human beings… if we do not feel physical pain, then we will hurt and damage ourselves… like in the case of leprosy, for example! Lepers cannot feel pain, and so they damage themselves by accident. Also, pain allows us to feel sympathy with others. The person who cannot identify with another’s pain through their own is a psychopath, who loves to hurt others. Pain has the potential to make us better people through identifying with others.

3. Sometimes, it is better to die than to continue suffering, especially if you believe in an afterlife. This is why we are sad to see our elderly relatives die, but we have to consider quality of life, as well as life for life’s sake (not relevant to this thread, but i’m just throwing it out there in general).

4. Sometimes, pain humbles us, and makes us realise that we need to believe in something greater…

My personal favourite is #2. When life gives you a lemon… you must try to make lemonade, even if it’s really tough sometimes! You can learn from things, even bad things. Does that make sense?

Post # 14
161 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2010

@kris325:  The Bible is very clear that sickness and disease does not come from God.  “The devil comes to steal kill and destroy. I come so that you might have life and have it more abundantly”.  The Bible also says that Jesus “went around doing good and healing all who were sick”.  God did not give you epilepsy.  Sickness and disease is just something that happens to human bodies.  Sometimes for no good reason, sometimes because of the choices we make.  But God does heal.  Prayer is not necessarily an act of begging God to do something but rather a time for you to connect with your Heavenly Father and increase in faith.  Prayer for healing is not separate from medicine.  God may choose to heal through supernatural means or He may choose to use man and medicine.  Faith in God for His healing means you can have faith that He gave man wisdom to create medicines that heal.  Take your medicines while knowing “that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose”.  God didn’t give you an illness but He can use something bad and turn it to good.  πŸ™‚

Post # 15
7976 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2013 - UK

View original reply
@vorpalette:  Yes! I don’t know how I missed that point originally…

… OP, please encourage them to go back and get retested! There are some really, really amazing drugs on the market for HIV/AIDS now, incredible drugs which allow you to live full lives for decades and decades.

Have a look on Google search about the latest medications you can try… they’re fantastic!

Post # 16
2702 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

Coupled with free will, this is one of the major conflicting teachings of Christianity.  You cannot following someone’s plan for you while making your own decisions.  It just doesn’t make any sort of logical sense.  So, IMO, I think God is more of a spectator, rarely interfering in our day-to-day lives.  If he did I have a hard time believing that he’d choose to help people in first world countries and ignore all of those starving children in Africa.  I believe prayer is type of meditiation that allows you to commune with God but doesn’t result in any direct action from him.

However, I do believe in the power of prayer for the person doing the actualy praying.  Prayer can help one maintain a positive attitude or help one build up the courage/strength/focus/desire to do something.  I think it can definitely help reduce stress and help one relax (just as any meditiation does).  This, in turn, can have positive effects on the person doing the praying. 

As far as medicine and prayer goes, I do not think you can pray an illness away, ever.  I don’t mean to dismiss your stories, but I did some quick poking around and came up with logical explanations for each situation.  Blood clot: could have dissolved, broken loose, or the medication she was given worked.  Snake Bite: venom didn’t pass or it wasn’t actually a water moccasin. AIDs: there are actually several things that cause a false positive (past pregnancy, organ transplant, blood transfusion, equipment malfunction).  I suppose you could argue that God made those things happen, but you can also agrue that the results would have been the same regardless of prayer. 

I 110% believe you should see your doctor and take your medication.  God gave us brilliant minds and numerous resources and I don’t understand why you wouldn’t use them.  It’s possible for God to indirectly help you.  Here is a link to a story that better highlights this concept.



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