Healing Words a Book Review


When I was young I used to hope that heaven existed because I couldn’t bear the thought of nothingness once the light was extinguished. I am the eldest of four children and the only one never to be christened. I didn’t frequent church and I don’t remember a time that I ever believed in God. But despite being an atheist I did used to pray. I specifically remember praying that Manchester United would win the league, and I also remember praying that when I got older I would have lots of money (well one out of two is not bad). Then there was this: –

Our father in art in heaven, hallowed by thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven, give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them our trespass against us, and deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, forever, and ever amen.

With the exception of a few funerals, I doubt I have uttered those words since I was in school over 20-years ago. I know they are probably not the grammatically correct words, but they won’t be far off. I remember them because we were forced to sing them each morning in school assembly, and back then I had no idea why?

I am currently in Paris working at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Grand Prix de Paris. The event is held at the Aviation Club de France (ACF) and the first time I worked here I flew in direct from a competition in Venice, Italy. I was traveling with a colleague of mine and we were both sick. We had the symptoms of the early stages of flu. They were symptoms I was familiar with, having caught flu several times in my life. I knew what would come next, and it involved spending several days sweating it out in a bed. But I couldn’t afford for this to happen. If I didn’t go to work there was nobody else who could do my job. It was a situation totally alien to me. Scared, I went to the chemist and bought myself some medicine. I then went to bed. After a few hours I could feel I was getting worse. It was then that I thought of affirmation and positive mental attitude. I started repeating this line to myself, over and over again. I must have said it hundreds of times that night.

“I will not get sick, I will not get sick, I will not get sick.”

When I woke the next morning, I was not 100%, but I knew the my illness has vanished. My friend spent the entire week lying in his hotel room suffering from the flu. I managed to work through an entire Grand Prix de Paris suffering from nothing more than a few sneezes and sniffles.

Healing Words by Larry Dossey is a book I purchased after reading Love and Survival by Dean Ornish M.D. In Love and Survival, Ornish started to draw my attention to the healing powers of love and happiness, something I had not given much thought to before. What greater incentive do you need to change your behaviour, than the understanding that if you are making your loved ones unhappy, you can also be doing them great harm both physically and mentally.

“But however badly needed a good book on prayer is, I shall never try and write it. In a book one would inevitably seem to be attempting, not discussion, but instruction. And for me to offer the world instruction about prayer would be impudence.” C.S.Lewis.

Dossey’s book is not a “How to” book on prayer. Instead it is an offering for you to set aside all of your previous judgments and beliefs about prayer, both positive and negative, and simply see what the record shows when focused through the lens of science whilst guided by thoughtful reasoning.

Was it prayer that helped me to avoid the flu in that hotel room in Paris? I guess I will never know, but the thought that it could have been prayer, is a comforting one. Healing Words is chocked full of examples of case studies and scientific proof that prayers help people. It also has examples of case studies where prayer can be used to harm people, just to remove any potential bias. It is a thoroughly interesting book and one that I recommend to anyone who is interested in improving their lives.

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  1. I haven’t read the book nor do I know the author, but I can attest to the benefits of prayer. For me, prayer is continual conversation, not some kind of ritual where you have to be on your knees with head bowed and eyes closed. Neither would I try to write a book on it but I would offer these words: intimacy and vulnerability. I’m very happy for this post, Lee, and I marvel at your journey.

  2. Matthew Pitt says:

    Prayer didn’t help in my opinion, you had a simple cold instead of flu; that’s the most logical explanation. That said, the power of the human mind is still not fully known and having belief or faith in something works for some people.

    My problem is I do not believe in God and there is no religion that reaches out to me and makes me even want to change this. If it were a book on positive thinking instead of prayer I’d possibly pick it up and read it.

    Catch you in Malta mate, say hello to my Frenchies for me!

    • Pudding,

      I think the important point is this. Why would having belief or faith work for some people and not all?

      You are right. There are too many things that we do not fully comprehend about the mind. For me prayer works, but that doesn’t mean it is God or any other deity that makes prayer work. I do not pray to God. I just pray. Praying allows me time to just think about those that I love, those that are less fortunate than me and those that need some help. You will remember I prayed for you when you first stopped drinking. We are selfish beings and I am finding that praying is helping me spare some of my thoughts and time with other people. It is making me a better person. I also feel great as I know I am contributing to a better place.

      I don’t believe in God or religion, but believe that it does tremendous good for millions of people. You said if it were a book on positive thinking instead of prayer you might pick it up? I say there aint that much difference.



  3. Hi lee
    Another great book review! bit worried zabout all the religious books you’re reading though..!
    I am sure you have a huge list of reccomended books but I would urge you to look at the work of Brene Brown – she has been researching shame & vulnerability for about 8 years. here is the link to 2 TED talks – its useful to watch them in order.

    She has a new book out called ‘Daring greatly’ which I haven’t read yet, but I am just finishing ‘The Gifts of Imperfection: Let go of who you think you’re supposed to be and embrace who you are’. This book is so poerful – full of humour, honesty, challenge and pure brilliance!
    let me know what you think…!

    Keep on your journey Lee – it never ends 🙂

    • Hi Jackie,

      The books that I choose to read – connected with the problems that I encounter in my life – end up choosing the next books that I read. For some reason it has taken me through a few religious books and I have learned a great deal. But I don’t have any plans to start going to church just quite yet.

      I have just watched the two TED videos and felt inspired enough to download ‘The Gifts of Imperfection.’ I will be reading it next week so keep an eye out for the review and thank you very much for creating this awareness for me.



  4. Nice very inspirational site. It gives hope when those are down. My site has a very inspirational book of my overcoming captivity in Iran during 911. My blog has links to all the info on my book.
    Take care and God Bless. Lori

  5. Hi Lee,
    This is an interesting post. I fully believe in the power of prayer. God is real. He is there. He hears our prayers. I could share countless examples of answered prayer. But, the most powerful part of prayer for me is not so much “the answer” as it is being in God’s presence. It is such an awesome privilege to communicate with God. Think about the relationship aspect of “Our FATHER who art in heaven …” That relationship is the most healing aspect of prayer for me.

    It was interesting to hear your perspective on prayer. Thanks for sharing, Lee!

    • Hi Peggi,

      Try as I might this is one area of my life that I just don’t seem to be able to have an open mind. I have tried to prise it open but it remains tightly shut. After reading Larry Dossey’s book I have an open mind that prayer works. In fact, since reading the book I pray every night. But I don’t believe in the existence of deities such as God. I have no idea what my block is? As you know I have read some religious books, this year, and even started to read the Bible (I have given up midway through Genesis because it is like reading a foreign language and incredibly irritating), but I still cannot believe that there is a God.

      Thanks for posting as always


  6. Just leaving you a comment to let you know that I came by to do a little camping and reading today.

    • I like it when you camp out around here. I have been working in Europe last week, this week and next so the posts have decreased. Will get back to normal when I get home.

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