Patients Desire Prayer in the Hospital

Specifically regarding prayer, 75% to 82% of Americans claim to pray regularly and/or believe in the healing power of prayer (2,3) and without specifically asking them, it is easy to overlook something that is important to them. Being hospitalized is disorienting and foreign to most people. I inform my patients of their option to take a sleeping pill while they’re in the hospital. Most patients would not think to ask for it until it is too late simply because they do not know that it is an option. I do not insist that they take a sleeping pill but I want them to know that it is offered. In the same way, most patients would not think to ask for prayer because they do not know that it is offered; that prayer with their doctor is an option. Patients are free to refuse a sleeping pill and they are free to refuse prayer if it is not something that they feel will be helpful.

(2) 75% of 35,000 Americans age 18 or older reported that they pray at least once per week, with 58% praying at least once per day.

Data from the Pew Forum U.S. Religious Landscape Survey conducted May 8 to Aug. 13, 2007 among more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older; released in 2008.

(3) A Time/CNN Poll found that 82% of Americans believed in the healing power of prayer. Time Magazine. June 24, 1996: 147:19.


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