The power of prayer

The power of prayer
Cheri Mills (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Cheri Mills (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Dr. Terry Burden (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Dr. Terry Burden (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Dr. Jim Hunter (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Dr. Jim Hunter (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - We deliver stories often of pain, heartache and community outcry and often we hear the plea for prayer. We did not want to get into the debate of believers and non-believers but it's a subject that everyone has a comment about.

When the subject of prayer was posted on Facebook prior to the airing of this story thousands commented both positive and negative.

"I have seen what prayer can do. I have seen what prayer can do in my own life," Cheri Mills said with commitment.

Mills gives prayer full credit for where she has landed. Mills explained she was fearful of everything.

"I started as a very timid person. I had suffered from panic attacks," Mills said.

For 10 years, Mills suffered from what she calls bondage and fear. After suffering a panic attack in the choir, Mills said to herself if she could just make it home she would never sing again. She did make it home and that is where she stayed.

She removed herself from everything including the church choir.

Mills said, "My world started getting smaller and smaller until I was a prisoner in my own body."

The key to getting out of that self-inflicted prison was prayer.

"It was through prayer, that gave me the strength to start taking back every area of my life," she said. "Not only to the point that I was before the panic attacks but it took me beyond that."

Mills believes in that power so much she started the 1 Voice Prayer Movement to heal humankind. Participants meet in a different church each month with a goal to bring every race, every denomination and every neighborhood together in prayer.

Mills said their goal is, "to pray for our city, state, nation and world."

Medical Research focusing on the power of prayer in healing has nearly doubled in the past 10 years.

"Prayer helps us calm ourselves down. Reduce our anxieties. Sometimes lowers our blood pressure," said Dr. Terry Burden from the University of Louisville's Department of Religious Studies.

After refusing to even review a study with the word prayer in it four years ago, The National Institutes of Health is now funding a prayer study through its Frontier Medicine Initiative.

"I also think God has blessed us with extraordinary minds and spirits and there's a lot of wonderful healing that goes on. I would not mess with a God that I didn't think would heal somebody. Spirituality is so experiential, if a human being says to me 'my life was changed, this happened to me because of prayer,' then I have a hard time arguing with that," said his co-worker, Dr. Jim Hunter.

We asked Dr. Burden, "Does prayer work?" He had no trouble answering.

"It does. There's no doubt about that. My granddaughter came down with E.coli. Prayer made a difference. We know that. A believer knows that. A believer who trust in the power of prayer knows that," Dr. Burden said softly, but with force.

"Anybody who will call his name in prayer knows he answers. He's a God who answers," Mills said with a smile.

All three of the believers stressed there is a disclaimer. God answers prayer according to his will, his wisdom and his love for us.

Dr. Hunter said God does answer prayer but, "sometimes the answer is yes. Sometimes the answer is no and sometimes the answer is not right now. Just like a parent, not right now!"

KentuckyOne Health is studying the science behind prayer in a program called i-scope as they prepare students of all healthcare professions to practice in today's healthcare environment.

Norton Women's and Kosair Children's Hospital has a blanket ministry program called Comfort Covers, which provides blankets to both adults and children receiving inpatient and outpatient care.

The blankets are made by dedicated volunteers at Northeast Christian Church, prayed over and then delivered by hospital chaplains to help bring peace and comfort to patients during trying or stressful times. The cover's state, "Stitched with care, created in love. Every good gift is from above."

Four local students from Holy Angels Academy in Louisville have been named winners in the 2015 U.S. Try Prayer! It Works! contest, a national competition that encourages students to express their faith through art, poetry and prose.

The local winners were selected from nearly 2,000 finalists in the 20th annual contest.

The winners are Jessica Kramer, who was the first-place winner in the 6th grade division; Austin Kramer, who won first place in 10th grade; John Klapheke, who finished second in 10th grade and Caroline Olson, who won second place in the 12th grade category.

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