Prayer Tops List of Treatments in Army Medical Study

Posted by on Aug 5, 2013 in Military Prayer | Comments Off on Prayer Tops List of Treatments in Army Medical Study

helmandIn a survey of more than 16,000 active duty troops, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reports that prayer is the most common “alternative medicine” (CAM) used in the military. Additionally, the Army-backed study indicates that active duty members use alternative therapies for stress reduction at rates up to seven times higher than civilians, and among both troops and civilians, the most popular therapy is prayer.

The report confirms that prayer continues to be “at the top of the list of treatments” for combat stress.  Scientific research from World War II reported similar findings:

“The Studies in Social Psychology in World War II Series,” produced by the Social Science Research Council, was one of the largest social science research projects in history.  Volume II, The American Soldier, Combat and Its Aftermath, Princeton University Press, (1949), reported data on the importance of prayer to officers and enlisted infantrymen.  Prayer was selected most frequently as the soldier’s source of combat motivation.  The motivation of prayer was selected over the next highest categories of “thinking that you couldn’t let the other men down,” and “thinking that you had to finish the job in order to get home again.”  From the responses, “did not help at all,” “helped some,” and “helped a lot,” 70% of enlisted men in the Pacific Theatre (n = 4,734), and 83% in the Mediterranean theatre (n = 1,766) responded “helped a lot,” as did 60% of Infantry officers (n = 319).

These data would suggest that combat men who had experienced greater stress were at least as likely to say they were helped by prayer as those who had been subjected to less stress” (p. 176)…[T]he fact that such an overwhelming majority of combat men said that prayer helped them a lot certainly means that they almost universally had recourse to prayer and probably found relief, distraction, or consolation in the process (p. 185).  [Emphasis added.]

We are encouraged by this recent report by the Army reaffirming the importance of prayer to those who fight for our freedom and it further validates the necessity of prayer to their health and survival. 


How has prayer affected your life in a positive way?  Post a comment and share it with us!

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