What does prayer and religious ritual achieve in the healing of the person?

PritchardPresented by Rt. Revd John Pritchard, Bishop of Oxford, President of Guild of Health

Bishop John introduced the topic with personal examples of prayer for people within a church setting. He acknowledged a wide spectrum of attitudes towards prayer. Some perceive a closed mechanistic universe in which divine intervention makes no sense. Others articulate an interventionist God. Somewhere in-between these extremes lies a more textured approach in which exists mysterious space for healing.

There was discussion about the nature of prayer – modern spirituality, prayers that resonate and last, making space for God’s love. There is a difference between personal and public intercessions, and prayer for healing. Ritual can be helpful to bring meaning and mediate symbolic impact. With cultural changes in society, ritual needs to adapt to circumstances in which people find themselves, in death, birth, sickness and accident.


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