Prayer: Helpful or harmful to those with diabetes?

I’ve often wondered how prayer validates itself as a worthwhile activity to those who rely on it for healing and protection, with regards to diabetes and honestly, all other ailments. My main problem with the idea of prayer being efficacious stems from this absolute but undeniable fact:

God has never healed a Type 1 diabetic of Type 1 diabetes.

Furthermore, no Type 1 diabetic has ever experienced a spontaneous remission of the disease. Indeed, no Type 1 diabetic has ever been cured by any means other than a “man-made” transplant.

The question that undermines belief in prayer the power of prayer is obvious: if God does heal through prayer, why does he refuse to heal Type 1 diabetes, in every instance? Given the millions of people who have died from it, particularly those struck before the discovery of insulin in the 1920s, are we to believe that not a single one of those people of whatever fraction turned to prayer for healing at some point could be granted such? The odds are staggering. I suppose an alternative, if one is to maintain a belief in the power of prayer to heal, is that Type 1 diabetes is actually a (permanent) punishment from God, but then we have the problem of those struck with the disease in infancy and very young childhood, not apparently having committed any act worthy of divine retribution.

Perhaps there is another reasonable alternative I am missing in my analysis.

If prayer is not useful in treating Type 1, then the time spent doing it is time lost that could have been spent doing things that are proven to mitigate the effects of the disease- exercise, blood glucose tests, self-education, etc… Does a feeling count for anything? If I feel like doing 10 push-ups in the morning improves my blood sugars, but years of testing show no benefit, can I claim those push-ups do anything for my blood sugars? Yet people are often taken at their word when they claim divine healing through prayer and what may be a harmful habit is encouraged.

I do not mean to offend those who are religious. But the idea of repeating anything over the long term that never proves fruitful seems to be the very definition of futility to me.

I thought this was really interesting to read. I’m not the most religious person either but I would still pray from time to time. However, when I spend time praying for diabetes related things, I don’t pray for a cure but rather for the strength to cope with the possibility of NOT being cured. I don’t see T1 diabetes as a punishment (jeez, I hope it’s not a punishment or I was a very bad 7 year old :P) but I think it’s more like a challenge which will ultimately make us stronger, even if it’s destined to weaken us in other ways.

…Not that I’d go as far to say that it’s some sort of blessing from God because if it is he’s got a seriously strange perception of it, lol…but I just think it’s more like an obstacle he’s put in our way to see how we overcome it and to make us better people in other ways. I believe everything happens for a reason and maybe diabetes happens for a reason as well…

I’m agree with you. I never pray because I have no religion. One day in my life, I was talking to a friend, a religious man with type 1 and he tried to explain to me that his God had chosen him, it was a blessing from God. Strange things for me. He was praying a lot . I have many friends who are religious.

Well,I pray because God created me and that magnificent universe,it is a way of connecting with him and feeling close,no matter if I get what I like in life or not.Life is a phase,we go through it then to the lasting phase without pain,sickness or the rest.We pray phisically five times/day,without it I feel lonely & lost.

Live and let live has always been my motto; I won’t deny anyone the right to their personal beliefs, but I draw the line when they start prosthelytizing, which violates the U.S. Constitution. That said, many people do find that prayer has positive therapeutic effects, including helping them to deal with stress more effectively, which therefore makes their glycemic management easier. While no amount of gospel will ever convince me that some divine body has ever managed to cure anyone of type 1 diabetes (I’ve yet to meet anyone), for those who follow some of the Eastern religions, concepts like karma, reincarnation (notably in Hindu and Buddhism beliefs) seem to suggest that prayer or meditation may not necessarily alleviate a person of type 1 diabetes today, but in the afterlife, so there may be more to the idea of prayer than Western religious thought dictates.

Yes Scott, I think prayers can give positive effects. I think anyone has the right to have personal beliefs and I’m agree with U.S. Constitution (I studied it in University) . I think prayers can help to fight the stress. And I think that Oneless, Bobby , Sohair and all the others (I think that’s a big discussion!) who’ll write , have their opinion, their beliefs, their point of vue and I must say that’s good. I hope I don’t offend because I will be very sorry and sad.

Greetings, One and All,
Just wanted to say I felt compelled to delete my previous response. I reacted too strongly to what was written about the power of prayer. I am a preacher, after all. It was not my intention to prosilytize, I think I felt threatened, because it appeared to me that God Himself was being attacked. It was sort of like someone was threatening my Father, and I felt the need to stand up for Him. Anyone that knows me, knows that I do not use tudiabetes as a forum to push my own religious agenda. That is not why I am here. However, I did have a very powerful conversion experience 28 years ago that was very real, and no one can argue that or take it away from me. It turned my whole world upside down–for the better. What I do know is that the power of prayer has worked over and over in my life–and no one can argue that either, and even if God chooses not to heal me of Diabetes, I will still continue to pray, and my faith in God will not fail, because that is where my strength lies.
Peace, Ya’ll

I do not see how anything that provides hope would be harmful. If prayer were the ONLY response to diabetes then I would say, yes only responding to diabetes with prayer is harmful.

I have never EVER thought, “I’ll pray instead of check my BG right now” and I imagine most diabetics with a prayer life would say the same thing. That seems weird to think that the time praying would somehow take away from checking my blood or going to the doctor.

If prayer does not provide comfort then don’t do it, but to say it could be harmful (again I agree if it is the only response) just seems like an attempt to bash religion.

I am certainly not trying to bash religion, and having rather fierce libertarian tendencies, I support everyone’s freedom to practice whichever religion they choose, or no religion at all. I am only questioning the efficacy of one aspect of religious practice as it relates to health issues, diabetes in particular.

If someone claims standing on the street in a bunny suit heals their Type 1 diabetes, I would say that they definitely have a right to engage in that activity and even to claim it improves their health. But having that right does not shield the claim that person is making from questions about its veracity. Such questions do not imply a disregard for or opposition to the individual’s freedom to stand on the corner in a bunny suit or even to make claims that are not borne out by the evidence.

I suppose my point is that claims of divine healing through prayer should not be sacrosanct but rather, subject to the same degree of scrutiny as is focused on non-supernatural claims of the same type.

Asking if prayer works or not is not the same as asking if it is harmful or helpful. This can go on and on so I will just say this.

The bunny suit could help you if you believe it does but you could get dehydrated if you wear it during summer so that would be harmful. Praying can be helpful if you believe in God and that prayer helps, but praying in the middle of the highway would be harmful.

Religion/Spirituality/Prayer are allvery personal things, and people have different asks of them, and get different things out of them.

What I know for sure…is thta I have diabetes. Waht I don’t know is why (did God give it to me as the trail-did the devil…it is just one of those human things to edure). At this point, to me, it doesn’t really matter; I have it and I must deal wiht it.

That being said, music helps my diabetes, as does prayer, days off, and proper meds (my case insulin-T1) however, stupid bosses, crazy drivers and um…cinnabuns (yep–I indulge occasionally–its a sanity factor) do not help my diabetes.

So whats a girl to do…hopefully more of the things that help my diabetes than do not. I beleive in balance (everything in moderation kinda thing), and live and let live. My life is mine to live, other peoples are theirs to live. I will help when I can and when I can’t,well that is the way it is (I have learned over the years to say no-hard thing for me to learn)

Like others have said–I see no way of prayer being harmful, unless it is the only thing one is doing for their diabetes.

I am a Christian. Therefore I believe God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent, etc. To pray with the purpose of thinking I can change his mind and make him do things that are not in his plan seems pretty ridiculous and short-sighted.
I pray mostly to change me. To ask God to work through me to fulfill his purposes for my life and to bring glory to him.
Do I know why I have diabetes? No, not yet. But everytime I meet someone who is newly diagnosed (and unbelieveable it has happened multiple times!) and I am able to help them, I feel like I have a little bit of a purpose with my diabetes.
Sometimes praying gives me comfort, relieves my stress, etc. That can have an obvious positive effect on my diabetes.
Can God choose to heal diabetes through prayer? Of course. Am I waiting for that and not testing my blood sugar or taking my insulin. Of course not!

I suppose my main issue with your approach Sara is that, like amputees, Type 1 diabetics are never in the “plan” to get healed. So, I’m not sure that God, if such a thing exists, would ever choose to heal diabetes or is even capable of such a thing. If it happened just one time, I may be persuaded otherwise. I imagine many amputees have the same questions- why can they never be given new limbs?

To say it is all part of a plan I can never understand does not bring me comfort, or anything really but misery and frustration. I can accept a decision I disagree with if I understand the fundamentals behind it, even if that decision has negative impacts for me. A god would not need to change its mind to satisfy me. But a god would need to explain to me why my particular disease is a special case.

Prayer to any deity can be said to have three outcomes: Yes, no, and wait. Coincidentally(?), these are the only things that can happen regardless of whether or not there is a god listening to and answering prayers. Either you get exactly what you asked for, something happens that precludes you getting what you asked for, or nothing happens and time goes on until one of the two former outcomes is clear.

I could say then, that my coffee mug on my desk answers prayers, but that the answer will always be “yes”, “no”, or “wait”. I could pray to it as you pray to the Christian God and claim that prayer to my coffee mug is equally effective.

The one thing I have seen mentioned in these replies that I did not think of when I wrote this is the placebo effect. I know it is real and so if someone believes that something they are doing is going to affect them in some way, that sometimes the effect(s) do manifest in statistically significant ways. But this happens without any need for supernatural explanations.

Dear Readers. Napoleon said that if God did not exist we would have to invent him. Did he intend this as a pragmatic statement or was he the greatest cynic in history? Look, if you believe that an omnipresent, omnipotent, omnisciant being is out there to take care of you personally them I would think this wuld be good for morale and therefore good for a diabetic.

I am a Christian. One do not always have to pray for cure, but for the strength to cope and deal with the disease and I know this disease was placed in my way so that I can help others. I also believe that there are sects that make a mockery of God’s healing powers.
Sometimes people just pray without really believing or doing anything from their side. It’s like praying for the apple to fall in your lap but you are sitting 9 metres away from the apple tree. If you do not do your side why expect God to help. If you do not believe that He would help why would He. I believe that through the Holy Ghost he will work with you so that you will believe in the end… The other thing I do believe is that there is a life after this - our bodies grow old and sick but our souls do not - I’m 46 but I still feel the same as when I was 20 - this must be a sign that my soul will go on to a next life when my body dies.
And I do feel that everyone has a right to their own opinion.

This whole argument isn’t really about whether or not God can or will heal a type ! Diabetic or anyone else for that matter. This argument really boils down to whether or not God even exists.
I would rather live my life as a Christian and get to the end and find out there is no God, than live my life as a non-Christian and get to the end and find out there really is a God.


I’v had Type ! Diabetes for 45 yrs. I’m 46 yrs old. I’v been on the pump for the last 13 yrs, for the second time. My A1C_ is 9.8 it’s always been high my blood sugars are very difficult to control. 13 yrs ago I had alot of problems with my eyes and kidneys. I thought to myself “This is it, when everything goes terribly wrong” They put me back on the pump, put me on med’s for my kidneys and lasered my eyes. My kidney doctor told me I must have an angel watching over me. Today, same blood sugars, pretty much same A1C kidney disease gone. No signs of it. This disease scares me to death I know, You know, and I know what it can do. I don’t understand how my body can take so much. I do thank god every day. I feel like a ticking time bomb waiting to off. I try to get my blood sugars under control but they can go from 468 and in a hour 62 then back up again. It’s not like this all the time, this is a worse case. Sooo “God or No God”? I think there is because, who has been watching out for me. Vicky

Hey Jason, I stumbled upon this blog post when I was reading your other posts about symlin (great info, thanks for taking the time to share it with us). This post about the power of prayer reminded me of a piece I heard on NPR last year about a recent study involving heart patients who were prayed for and how it affected their recovery. The final results of the study were that there was no positive benefit and for some (who believed they were being prayed for) it adversely affected their recovery. Check it out here:

I’m seriously considering trying the Symlin. Your posts were encouraging. I just have to get mentally geared up before taking it on. Thanks again for all the information you took the time to organize, edit and share - I may be in touch later. :wink: Jessica

I dont think religion is much of a factor. Science actuall has been brought into the mix. google THE INTENTION EXPERIEMENT I would LOVE to try that here… in regards to diabetes. What could it hurt???