For the 33 miners who have been trapped half a mile underneath the Chilean earth, the past 69 days of their lives have been filled with fear and uncertainty, their first glimpse of daylight must surely be a heavenly sight. But throughout the entire ordeal, there is one thing that has remained constant: Prayer.
Since Aug. 22, when the first glimmer of hope came in the form of a note scrawled in red ink, telling of their survival, the miners – and their families – have had their unwavering faith put to the test. Family members, religious leaders and entire communities have held candle-lit vigils around the clock as the world watched and prayed for their safe return.
Shrines with statues of saints – and even one of The Pope – have adorned the ground above their underground prison, and religious leaders have sent bibles down the tubes used to deliver supplies.
And all the prayer has had an effect on the personal faith of some of the men, like Frank Lobos – who, according to his brother, was not a religious man before he became trapped -- have actually found faith throughout their agonizing ordeal. In a letter written by Lobos to his family members, he recounted the miracle of the “white butterfly” that led him safely to refuge when the dust of the collapsing earth filled the air around him.
In a country known for its deep-seeded religious beliefs and extraordinary faith in God, it’s no wonder to me that these men are today being pulled to safety and celebrated one-by-one.
Studies have shown the power of prayer when it comes to healing the sick, and it’s no different when it comes to praying for the health and safety of “los 33.”
One study of cardiac patients published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, concluded that intercessory prayer – or prayer on another’s behalf – may be effective in supplementing standard medical care.
Experts examined the health outcomes of 990 patients with serious cardiac conditions, who were newly-admitted to the hospital. Half of the cardiac patients received daily prayer for four weeks from five volunteers who believed in God and in the healing power of prayer, while the other half received no prayer.
Not surprisingly, what they found was that the group receiving prayers from the volunteers had 11 percent better outcomes when it came to complications like chest pains, pneumonia, infection, and death, than the group that received no prayer.
So, are we witnessing a modern-day miracle?
Absolutely – perhaps, even 33 of them.
Dr. Manny Alvarez is a Cuban-American OB-GYN who serves as a senior medical contributor for the Fox News Channel and senior managing health editor of FOXNews.com. To read more from Dr. Manny, click here.
Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.