What does it really mean to pray
Can Prayer Heal?
It is precisely in emergency situations that people begin to pray who would otherwise never get this thought. A corona infection or another serious illness can be such an occasion. But can a prayer do anything at all? The Giessen clinic pastor Susanne Gessner often encounters people in difficult and difficult situations and has learned: "A prayer can strengthen a person." In medicine it is now known how psychological and physical processes influence each other.
Healthy connection and closeness to God
It is good for people when they feel solidarity and closeness, especially in times of illness. Pastor Gessner explains: “During prayer, a person makes sure that ONE is at his side in his illness.” It is healing when a person in his need is heard by others, but also by God. Those who experience such assistance while praying experience comfort and strength. There is also power in knowing that other people are praying for you.
This is how the 26-year-old medical student Caro * from Mainz describes it. She was sick with Covid-19 and suffered from severe pneumonia. She was in the hospital and felt particularly bad one evening. She told the radio station YOU FM: “I prayed and knew that so many other people were praying for me too. And suddenly it felt like I had a lot less fever, even though it was still just as high. That was really like a heavenly energy boost. ”She has long since returned to her apartment in Mainz.
Being allowed to be before God as we really are
Susanne Gessner works at the University Hospital in Giessen and explains: “In times of 'social distancing' in particular, we can feel connected through prayer. Externally, Covid-19 patients are separated from other people by many barriers such as locks and protective clothing, so closeness can no longer be lived unbroken, "says pastor Gessner. She learned that there is another wholesome aspect of praying in addition to the feeling of connectedness: “When I talk to God, I am accepted in my being, with my fears, with my anger, with my hope, with my path through the disease. That is why a prayer strengthens a person in his being. We are allowed to be who we really are at this moment. "
What praying can do
She experiences particularly touching moments in the hospital when she prays together with patients: "It is healing when someone else hears how I am and finds words where words are missing." Sickbed God's presence becomes clearly noticeable. Then a special form of closeness arises with those who are taller than us. ”She describes:“ Prayer together creates a stronger bond than would be possible through a normal conversation. ”She also experiences with the praying patients, that something begins to loosen: "Suddenly a tear rolls down your cheek or someone breathes and smiles." It is not uncommon for this to happen through familiar prayers such as the Our Father or a psalm.
No guarantee of recovery - but a calmer journey through life
Despite these deep and strong experiences of faith, from the point of view of the clinic pastor Susanne Gessner, a prayer is not a “miracle pill”, no guarantee for recovery. She explains: “Prayer helps to be able to walk the path that lies ahead, trusting that someone will go with you.” With Jesus' prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane, the biblical Passion story in particular makes it clear that prayer cannot prevent death. The evangelist Mark writes that Jesus' soul was grieved to the point of death and that he asked God: “Father, everything is possible for you; take this goblet from me. ”Some patients tell of bad diagnoses and severe blows of fate. "Then words often fail me. Sometimes I can only endure inevitable hardship in silent prayer. ”But even in the greatest hardship, God remains opposite. Pastor Gessner recalls the words of Jesus on the cross: “My God, my God, why did you leave me?” Even if God's presence is no longer noticeable, Jesus sticks to the address. That means: From this grows the hope that every person can turn to God with his complaint in his existential need. Pastor Gessner trusts that God will hear such a desperate prayer.
God's answer to the complaint
The Easter message of the resurrection is the answer to Jesus' call to prayer on the cross. In many psalms, too, the complaint is often followed by thanksgiving and praise from God.
“Between death and resurrection, between lamentation and praise, there is a void. Each individual can fill this void with his or her experience - or: God fills this void with experience ”, said the pastor.
on the topic special "Contact with God - praying during the Corona period"
to the topic special "Praying"
What is behind Jesus' healing miracles?
(Rita Haering, April 2020)
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