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Prayer: An Ancient Healing Practice Becomes New Again

Ameling, Ann RN, MSN

Complementary and Alternative Therapies
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Prayer is an ancient healing practice not generally available in our health care system. However, the majority of Americans believe in the healing power of prayer. A recent Time/CNN poll found that 82% of Americans believe that prayer can cure serious illness, 73% believe that praying for others can cure illness, and 64% want their physicians to pray with them. Nurses should know what prayer is, should be familiar with the growing body of literature on the effectiveness of prayer, and understand potential uses of prayer as part of holistic nursing practice.

Professor, Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing, Yale University, School of Nursing, New Haven, Connecticut (Ameling)

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