Gray Matter: A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer... One Patient at a Time
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Gray Matter: A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer... One Patient at a Time

4.02 of 5 stars 4.02  ·  rating details  ·  462 ratings  ·  115 reviews
A perfect blend of medical drama and spiritual insight, "Gray Matter" is a fascinating account of Dr. David Levy's decision to begin asking his patients if he could pray for them before surgery. Some are thrilled. Some are skeptical. Some are hostile, and some are quite literally transformed by the request. Each chapter focuses on a specific case, opening with a detailed d...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 21st 2011 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published 2011)
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Nancy Kennedy
David Levy was a hard-charging, high-achieving neurosurgeon who loved his work and was good at it when he became convinced that he wanted to pray with his patients before their operations.

Though he was certain about his desire, Dr. Levy was -- perhaps for the first time in his career -- nervous and apprehensive. He was afraid he would come across as soft, superstitious, unprofessional, or even worse, that his skills were in need of divine help. He was worried that patients might not want spiritu...more
In the memoir Gray Matter , Dr. David Levy shares his journey to combine medicine and faith. Dr. Levy slowly came to faith over a period of years, but eventually he began to chafe at compartmentalizing his belief in Christ. However, he found that most medical professionals he worked with—especially his fellow surgeons—considered themselves men of science who were above spiritual concerns. Yet he became convinced that God wanted Him to pray aloud with his patients before their surgeries. Initiall...more
An inspiring read. To read of a spiritual journey of one who supplicates to god when expected to atleast equal him as a NeuroSurgeon, is very humbling. Hatsoff to Dr.Levy's inner urge to help patients as people and not as a medical case, and to give them a chance at holistic healing.

Mention about sin and Jesus dying for our sins made me cringe, but the spontaneous healing that confession and forgiveness brought to people was jaw-dropping. The two are not simple acts, they need immense courage to...more
A wonderful and fascinating read! What a great leap of faith for Levy to start praying with his patients. Something I have never seen as a patient, that's for sure. Levy has a great balance of patient stories, his own background, and explanations of neurosurgery. I would love to see him speak sometime.
A Very good book about Dr. Levy's experiences with having prayer with his patients. I am a firm believer in the power of prayer in the healing process. Nice to see that a physian has that same understanding.
Wow! Who doesn't love to read stories about lives transformed?! By choosing to be courageous and humble and "inviting God into (his) consultations, exams, and surgeries", Dr David Levy has been able to be witness to God's amazing grace and power to physically and spiritually restore the lives of some of his patients.

For a highly gifted neurosurgeon who hones practical skills and instruments with nearly superhuman precision, it is out of the disappointment over bad outcomes in which he began to...more
David Levy is a skilled neurosurgeon . . . who prays with his patients. He takes us through his training and background (he started as an auto mechanic with no ambitions), then tells how he became religious, then how he eventually started praying with his patients and even helping them to let go of their emotional baggage, forgive others, and move forward with their lives.

Dr. Levy believes that having emotional baggage can interfere with one's health and healing. He also believes (and knows fro...more
Gray Matter is a spiritual journey through the human brain setting precedent into a new realm of medical recovery, using many personal insights into the realm of humanity through science and prayer.

Dr. Levy feels at the top of his game, he is a perfectionist who can do no wrong and being such, he feels he is not giving his all to his patients and begins to entertain thoughts of introducing prayer to his patients. Tentatively at first, he approaches prayer like it were a disease even though his m...more
"Gray Matter" is an autobiography about a neurosurgeon's journey of faith and how his willingness to follow God's leading to reach out in faith has transformed how he practices medicine. It's very suspenseful. We follow specific cases from the consultation and Levy's offer to pray (or talk about forgiveness), how they respond, him performing the procedure, and waiting to see how the patient came out of the surgery. The surgery scenes weren't gory unless talk about veins, arteries, coils, and glu...more
Randi S
Gray Matter by David Levy, MD is about a neurosurgeon who decides to pray with his patients. Seems simple enough - prayer, not a big deal, right? Well, not in the medical world. We must remember that doctors are scientists and (often, not always) scientists have a hard time wrapping their heads around the idea of God (let alone putting their trust in Him). We have been blessed with Christian doctors for our sons and myself. Dr. B delivered both of my boys and gave me all of my prenatal, postpart...more
Dr. Levy, a California neurosurgeon, recalls his conversations with his patients in the exam room before entering into their surgery. Good rapport with a patient is a necessary part of the surgery process, and, with the element of adding prayer, can make a profound difference in the few moments before surgery and can add calm and peace to an otherwise tense situation. I found this book very enlightening and although it was about another peoples lives I thought about my own while I was reading an...more
Judy Cox
Jan 07, 2013 Judy Cox rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Judy by: Dain
If before undergoing brain surgery your neurosurgeon offered to pray with you, what would you think? As unusual as that proposition is, that is what the author of Gray Matter does routinely with patients before performing surgery – if they accept his offer.

Dr. David Levy believes in the power of prayer. He acknowledges that there is a limit to what he can do even as a highly trained and experienced surgeon but suggests that there is no limit to what God can do to touch or heal a person emotional...more
Eddie Snipes
I read a lot of books, but few actually leave me feeling inspired and glad I invested my time. This is one of those books. I wasn’t sure what I was getting into, but the deeper into the book I went, the better it became.

This book has a lot of testimonials. If you don’t like reading about faith and the spiritual lives of others, you may be bored. But then again, you might change your mind during the read.

Now that the long list of cons are out of the way, on to the things I liked about t...more
This book was so interesting. I kept wondering how I would feel if a Hindu doctor came up to me and asked me if he could pray with me. I hope my answer would be, "yes."
But, to be praying with patients, what a great idea. I like how it seemed to help him focus on his work better and be a better people doctor. I couldn't put it down.
Liked this line: I know that God is good no matter what we see in this room. (pg 209)

Loved this idea: (pg.246) "I confessed to God what I had done, and I received God...more
So far I am very much enjoying this book. The topic is one that every medical professional of faith and prayer should look and and consider.

I finished this book and I found it very fascinating on two levels.
First is my role as a caregiver. As an RN I have always felt that spirituality and prayer helps in so many factors in the care of a patient.

I completely understood and empathized with many of his feelings of the need to be perfect, to not fail, and the fear of what can happen if you do some...more
Trinity Rose
Gray Matter by David Levy and Joel Kilpatrick is a true story of David Levy. He is a famous brain surgeon who prays with patients before and after surgery. I really found this interesting and will be keeping it for my own personal library. Dr. Levy isn’t perfect as he admits many times, but he loves the Lord and isn’t ashamed to pray and talk to others. At first it was hard for Dr. Levy to ask to pray for others as any time we witness to others, the first time is difficult.
After prayer the patie...more
Stephen Gallup
Physicians who write about their craft (Atul Gawande, for example) have a willing audience in me, so I didn't hesitate to pick up this one when I came across it. Turns out that the practice of medicine forms the setting, but the actual subject matter is prayer. Despite the subtitle, the degree of that focus took me a little by surprise.

Almost all of the content is a series of interactions with various patients (ranging from a fetching two-year-old to a crisp upper-level business executive to a r...more
What happens when a neurosurgeon decides to pray with his patients prior to surgery? The autobiography Gray Matter by Dr. David Levy recounts his experiences as he discovers the power of prayer in his life and in the life of his patients. His journey of building up courage to ask patients to pray, being unashamed when his colleagues discover what he is doing, and keeping his faith strong when procedures do not go well all show how faith may be brought into the workplace while being careful to be...more
Anna Chang
Kudos to a doctor who is not only attentive to the links between emotional, spiritual, and physical health, but also uses wisdom and discretion to make them know to his patients. Although this is told by Dr.Levy's perspective, it must be a remarkable gift or bed-side manner that enables his patients to feel comfortable and unthreatened when he offers prayer. he seems to do it genuinely and respectfully...and the cases show that it makes a world of difference to his patients. At times I was caugh...more
Kara Larson
Thought provoking book on how a neurosurgeon started incorporating prayer into his patient encounters both in the office and before and after surgery. I was challenged to explore a patient's spiritual history ("In what faith/religion where you raised?" and "Are you practicing now?") and spend time focusing how the emotional/religious history, specifically bitterness, affects a person's physical suffering. I appreciated the reminder that by introducing prayer the medical provider becomes human an...more
Gray Matter is a memoir of one neurosurgeon's attempt to radically treat patients both physically and spiritually. As a Messianic Jew and an acclaimed vascular brain surgeon, David Levy began to notice drastic correlations between patients' health and their ability to forgive others and make peace with God. As someone who has gone under the knife, I know that surgery is one time in anyone's life when they will seriously contemplate God and their mortality, and so I understood from the get-go tha...more
Jessica R. Patch
Mar 01, 2011 Jessica R. Patch rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Jessica R. by: Tyndale Publishers
Dr. David Levy started out a mechanic. He was used to getting his hands in the middle of complex machinery, so he decided to to try the mechanics of gray matter. He found out he was rather talented and gifted as a neurosurgeon, but he wondered if he could be even better if he offered spiritual care along with physical care.

This book shares his trials and triumphs personally and professionally as he offered prayer to patients, guidance for those who needed to forgive(if they allowed him to)and t...more
Glenda Alexander
Dr. David Levy is an amazing doctor that stepped out of a comfort zone to live his faith with action.

Not only does Dr. Levy practice his faith, he also made a deliberate effort to share that faith.

I found myself admiring this doctor and wish there were more doctors like him (especially my doctors)that believed in the power of prayer. Dr. Levy readily admits that all he is and all he does is a blessing, a gift that is not his to keep, and he has found that his patients not only do much better wi...more
Birds In the Air
WOW! A VERY different book. I am inspired by the first half of this book. As a physician it has, ocassionally, changed how I practice. For those looking for this type of faith journey, I have rated the book a 4*. Unfortunately, however, I believe this doctor carried his plan too far. He seems to have started to provide counseling which he is not trained to do. He also may be taking the risk of forcing a patient into a relationship that is unwelcome to them. A physician, esp a NEUROSURGEON is an...more
Jennifer Nelson
I picked this book up as a free kindle offer and was surprised to find it an excellent, riveting, and inspiring read. Dr. Levy tells the story of God's work in His life, first prompting him to begin praying for his patients and then leading him into other areas helping people find spiritual healing. He speaks honestly of his experiences, his failures, and his doubts, and in all of it God is SO glorified.

I was especially touched by Dr. Levy's stories about helping people gain freedom from bitter...more
I found the premise of this book fascinating - the idea that a neurosurgeon found it necessary to blend faith and prayer with his profession. He tells of his own journey to begin praying with his patients before surgery and his realization that, though he is required to almost play God and repair nearly impossible brain abnormalities, he needs the help and guidance of a Being more powerful than he and his skills combined. I found it refreshing and faith-affirming - people are not just their phys...more
Amazing stories of brain surgery, and inspiring stories of how a simple pre-op prayer can lead to spiritual healing. Dr. Levy is one neurosurgeon who doesn't believe he is God, but rather a servant of God.
I thought the first 1/3 of this book was highly repetitive, but once Levy started talking about his personal life and journey to become a doctor, I thought the book picked up a good pace. I thought Dr. Levy was incredibly bold not just to pray with patients (that seems like a no-brainer to me - hahaha - no pun intended!), but once he ventured into acting as their priest/pastor/bishop as one they confessed to, I thought he stepped over a line.

Overall, fascinating read. And I hope to high heaven...more
It is remarkable that Dr. Levy was so focused on the total well-being of his patient, spiritual included. As a religious person, it wasn't such an eye-opener to me the power of prayer. I have been blessed with that realization and relationship my whole life.

What I did realize through this book is that I NEVER want to have brain surgery, or any type of surgery for that matter. The numerous risks involved is CRAZY!!! It is amazing that we have doctors who are skilled and willing to do it, but such...more
As a medical student endeavouring to incorporate spiritual & emotional health into my care for patients, this was an inspiring read. I was in fact surprised to learn of such positive response from patients in offering prayer as part of the health visit, and I don't know if the response would be the same here in Canada, but he at least gives some insight into how to approach it. I would love to chat with Dr. Levy, and ask him more questions. I do not know how a surgeon was prepared to address...more
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