A Case Study
Some time ago, Dr. Randy Byrd, a staff cardiologist at the San Francisco General Hospital, conducted his own ten-month experiment with prayer. Of 393 patients to the coronary care unit of the hospital, he assigned 192 of them to Roman Catholic, Protestant and Jewish congregations, giving these people the names and a brief description of their condition, and asking them to pray for the patients daily. The other 201 were not prayed for. No one in that hospital except Dr. Byrd knew who was being prayed for, not even the patients. The results were startling. None of those prayed for needed breathing tubes, for instance, and the prayed-for group faired far better than the not prayed for group.
What Palanca is not
Recently I noted one or two movements touting the fact that to receive palanca from their movement, all one has to do is log on to their website and download it. Where is the prayer and sacrifice in that? No, that is definitely not palanca. What have we done to palanca? We have relegated it to a nice, artfully created poster with sentimental and spiritual sayings on it, but prayer and sacrifice are not apparent in such “palanca.”
People of the Via de Cristo or any movement based on the Cursillo© movement, I call you back to the basic premise of palanca. Give up something significant while you pray; assume an uncomfortable position as you pray; lay face down and pray; stand on your head and pray; get up at 11pm, 12am, 2am 4am to pray; pray instead of lunch; get together with several others each day to pray for the weekend; spend a solid hour in prayer, anything that is a sacrifice while praying. Tell the people on the weekend what you plan to do, and then do it; but, don’t just send a poster, trinket or letter and forget about prayer and sacrifice.
— Rev. Carroll Lang