Just Pray, don't do anything?

My friend told me that : “When you are sick, just pray to God for healing and wait for miracle. Don’t go to hospital or have medicines because doing that means you don’t trust in power of God”. I think my friend was satirizing Catholic faith. How can I respond to him? Thank you very much.

There is no Catholic teaching that tells people to forgo medical treatment and just pray. That’s Christian Science, not Catholicism. Several Catholic saints were even medical doctors.


God gave us wise scientists and doctors for a reason.

One of the best pediatricians that my niece saw was a graduate of Seton Home Study School/Our Lady of Divine Grace.

Prayer changes our internal dispositions and makes us better able to absorb the nuanced information that can seem overwhelming.


It’s so cliche and I absolutely detest when the ONLY thing people do during a tragedy is say “my thoughts and prayers” are with you. Thoughts and prayers are NOT enough. Get out there and do something, see a doctor, donate, volunteer, protest, cry, just do something.


We also have a responsibility to take care of our bodies as they are a temple made in the image & likeness of God.


You may like this youtube Video.

Love this guy.

1 Like

I think you might like this quote from St. Augustine

“Pray as though everything depended on God. Work as though everything depended on you”

I never really been asked about the ‘do nothing just pray’ view, but if I were asked about it, because I’m a student , I would probably answer something like this.

Let’s say that you have a test tommorow. Do you pray about it then go on with your day without studying because you “trust God”? Or do you pray and put effort into studying as well? Most, if not all, would answer the 2nd option. If it was as you said, then if I do the 2nd option I don’t fully trust God, because I did something about it.

Some would argue that the case is different, but is it really? Both are duties we need to do. One is an obligation for me as a student, the other is an obligation for me as a follower of Christ who told me to take care of my body as it is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Just my opinion :slight_smile:


My mom used to tell an old joke about praying.

A guy prayed very hard to God to win the lottery. He prayed and prayed and prayed. He prayed at Mass every day, "God, please let me win the lottery next week. " He lit candles and did novenas.

Lottery drawing day came and the man did not win.

The upset man went back to church and complained to God, “Here I prayed and prayed and prayed and I felt sure you would help me win that lottery. And I still lost!”

The voice of God came down out of the heavens and said, “I was ready to help you, but you need to at least buy a ticket!”

1 Like

I like this from St. Teresa of Avila that addresses the same kind of issue:

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
Compassion on this world,
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which he looks
compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.



Not once did Jesus speak against going to the doctors. As a matter of fact, He accented the need of going to the doctors:

5:31 Jesus said to them in reply, ‘It is not those who are well who need the doctor, but the sick. 5:32 I have not come to call the virtuous, but sinners to repentance.’ (St. Luke)

So the Divine Doctor has no problem with us going to our local medics for health assistance!

Now there are sects and others who purport that it is God’s will that we be fully dependent upon him… some of these groups have died down, along with the “snake handlers.” Yet, some persists, at least partially–I understand that the Jehovah Witnesses rather let people die than allow blood transfusions (though they may have reversed that belief).

The Catholic Church and hospitals:

The Roman Catholic Church is the largest non-government provider of health care services in the world.[1] It has around 18,000 clinics, 16,000 homes for the elderly and those with special needs, and 5,500 hospitals, with 65 percent of them located in developing countries.[2] In 2010, the Church’s Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Health Care Workers said that the Church manages 26% of the world’s health care facilities.[3] The Church’s involvement in health care has ancient origins.

Jesus Christ, whom the Church holds as its founder, instructed his followers to heal the sick. The early Christians were noted for tending the sick and infirm, and Christian emphasis on practical charity gave rise to the development of systematic nursing and hospitals. The influential Benedictine rule holds that “the care of the sick is to be placed above and before every other duty, as if indeed Christ were being directly served by waiting on them”. During the Middle Ages, monasteries and convents were the key medical centres of Europe and the Church developed an early version of a welfare state. Cathedral schools evolved into a well integrated network of medieval universities and Catholic scientists (many of them clergymen) made a number of important discoveries which aided the development of modern science and medicine (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_and_health_care)

Maran atha!


1 Like

Hi, Tawny!

It is the Golden Rule: Love Yahweh God Above All and your neighbor as yourself!

Love includes care.

Maran atha!


What if God created medical herbs/etc. Wouldn’t that be denying of what God gave you ?
Thats like saying “Don’t eat food,pray for your hunger to go away” <- Tell that to starving Africans
You were given food to eat for a reason.
Same goes for medicine

Hi, A!

…and don’t forget the temerity and slothfulness: a) we take God for granted (test God) and we become complaisant (I do nothing 'cause God got my back!).

Maran atha!


Hi, Niko!

…funny you should say that… I was sitting on a barber’s chair and this “new age swami” was introducing me to this “body healing” thing… she ended up with ‘we don’t need to eat.’

These people have this “mind-over-matter” thing going… yeah, if you think it, you wont be hungry–that’s true… but the body will waste away as it cannibalizes itself if we refuse to nourish it regularly.

Maran atha!


Your friend has given you very bad advice. This is in no way Catholic teaching.

Satire ridicules a position. The Church doesn’t have this position. His attempt at satire is misplaced.

Well I think its important not to be attached to worldly goods.
But some people take take it too extremely

Love the Saint A quote. words to live by

1 Like

If a man is drowning in the ocean and he prays that God saved him. All of a sudden a helicopter lowers a raft and offers to help but the man declines, saying he’s waiting for God to help.

God gave us the beauty of modern medicine for a reason. Our bodies are created in God’s image. Let’s treat it as such and keep ourselves safe and healthy!

Similarly if a man is drowning, thoughts and prayers will not help him, someone has to jump in and save him or throw him a life ring.

Hi, Niko!

I concur.

I am not saying that supernatural things are not possible, just that they are not possible without God–the human condition cannot make things happen just by running with the “mind-over-matter” school:

Thus on March 27, 1942 Alexandrina began an absolute fast which was to last more than thirteen years until her death, her sole nourishment being Holy Communion which she received with deep devotion every morning. Initially she would vomit any food that she attempted to eat, and since she herself did not understand the grace at first, she like others thought her end was near, because obviously one cannot normally live without food for very long, and this cause her to cry out:

“Oh Jesus, my love, do not abandon the one who loves you so much! Oh days which never end! Oh Heaven which never approaches!" Turning to her relatives she groaned, “When you hear the bells sound for my death, go down on your knees, pray and thank Jesus and Our Lady for coming to take me.”

Initially, her desire for food and drink was very strong On 24 May, feast of Our Lady Help of Christians, after almost two months of absolute fasting “with a burning thirst and a longing for food”, Alexandrina cried out in anguish, “I sigh, I die, I long to satisfy my soul with the food of Paradise!”

As the months passed, news of Alexandrina’s fast spread far and wide. Crowds of pilgrims began to visit her, asking for her prayers. (http://www.miraclesofthesaints.com/2010/10/miracle-of-eucharist-total-fast-from.html)

Maran atha!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.