Prayer video takes on its own life

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Lisa Barry, senior producer of Anglican Video, didn’t expect the group’s latest production to almost take on a life of its own – but, over the past year, it has.

The new one-hour video, slated for presentation on Vision TV in September, looks at the power of prayer in healing from an ecumenical and international standpoint. Once it has aired on Vision, it will be offered in international markets.

“We wanted to produce a video that would appeal to a general audience about the power of prayer and healing,” said Ms. Barry. “It’s an interesting topic and there’s growing attention on finding alternative methods of healing. We wanted to look at it not just from an Anglican church view, but from all aspects.”

The quest led Ms. Barry and the production team to locations in Canada, the United States and Britain. They interviewed scientists, scholars, doctors, theologians, native healers and clergy from many faith traditions. They also visited those who work with AIDS patients and with others treating individuals dependent on alcohol and other drugs.

“So far, the key thing we’ve been hearing from just about everyone is that prayer works – it heals – and it doesn’t matter what you believe in or how you pray, one method is just as effective as the others,” Ms. Barry said. “We didn’t go seeking to hear that, but it is what we’ve heard over and over.”

During its initial research, the team discovered that in Canada few resources are earmarked for researching the power of prayer in healing. There are, for example, only three healing centres where prayer is considered part of the holistic treatment of illness. In England, there are more than 80 such centres. Five years ago, very few medical schools paid any attention to the role of prayer and spirituality in healing. Now, more than 50 North American faculties are considering including it in the curriculum.

The biggest challenge ahead, as Ms. Barry sees it, is to edit the information down into an hour-long video program. She sees the potential to create a companion book to go along with the video.

“When I started talking to people and telling them we were doing a program about prayer and healing, they would say, `Oh, well, you just have to talk to. …’ It started out as a huge job and it just got bigger and bigger,” said Ms. Barry.

Nancy Devine is a freelance writer living in Aurora, Ont.

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