Book Review: Testing Prayer: Science and Healing by Candy Gunther Brown
Review by Sandra Crosnoe via Finding Gems & Sharing Them (Nov 30, 2018)
Having had polio at age 2 (now 66), health and healing has been a lifelong priority as you can well imagine. My personal experiences will probably color my review of the book, Testing Prayer by Candy Gunther Brown, so you should be aware of that. A short version of my journey would be that around the age of 12, I met the Lord and had a physical touch from Him that resulted in my being able to stop wearing a Milwaukee brace early following a spinal fusion.
On the next visit to the doctor, he confirmed that I could indeed stop wearing the brace. It was not a complete healing, because there was still deformity to my body, but there was definite improvement not only in my spine, but I went from being sickly all the time to not so much. Through the years, I sought the Lord off and on regarding the matter, sometimes more intensely than others.
In more recent years, my breathing has been an issue. Around the year 2000, I had a sleep study done, which resulted in me using a bi-pap machine to sleep at night. At that time I had an arterial blood gas done that has remained in my files; I just found it again the other day when filing a new one. But I will come back to that.
In 2017 my cat, Ivory, was diagnosed with early stage kidney disease and I had stem cell therapy done on her. I would lay hands on her and pray for her kidneys at night repetitively — often feeling a heat transfer. Somewhere in that time frame, I began to lay hands on her and pray; then lay hands on my chest and pray for my lungs and my heart. The scripture the Lord gave me was “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” I told Him I was not righteous; His answer to me was that He was my righteousness. So I kept on praying.
The arterial blood gas done recently that I compared with the one back in 2000 showed improvement (not the decline you would expect to see in an aging person having had polio).
I tell you all this personal background to give you some perspective to how I saw the book Testing Prayer. Surprisingly to me the book started out with a trip through healing ministries history from the Toronto Blessing forward and backward mentioning many names I was familiar with through the years and a few new ones.
The author then discussed the difficulties of collecting data surrounding prayer and measuring results. There were so many factors involved. Some people were willing to share; some ministries objected to the intrusion. Sometimes there were medical follow-ups but more often than not if there were, the results were not common knowledge. Nevertheless, the author managed to report rather extensively on cases and shared many stunning stories, some with medical data, a few less credible and one apparent falsification.
One of the powerful takeaways for me was that some who ultimately got healing sought prayer many, many, even hundreds of times. Most of the body of the book was from an eight-year study and incredibly well sourced. Approximately one sixth of the hardcover book is references and footnotes.
Another thing I believe she helped me with was something I have sensed but became clearer with this book. I don’t think it was something specific she said, but some of the ministries taught and she conveyed that when we pray for someone who needs healing, we do not need to lay the responsibility of having faith on them. We share and pray in faith for people and have the faith for them reaching out on their behalf. We trust the Lord for the results, which may be slow and through the years or mighty instantaneous miracles. In any event, keep praying!
“And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he has committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:15-16 KJV
[Special thanks to Cindy Cain for helping me edit this review prior to release. It reads much better now!]
Rod MacIlvaine, pastor of Grace Community Church in Bartlesville, wrote a review of the book Testing Prayer here. It was his mention of this book in a podcast that I listened to that made me aware of the book.