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105 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The power of prayer in black and white
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,...
Published on February 18, 2011 by N. B. Kennedy

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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A spiritual journey through the human brain
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...
Published on April 12, 2011 by Jennifer Chatham


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105 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The power of prayer in black and white, February 18, 2011
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This review is from: Gray Matter: A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer . . . One Patient at a Time (Paperback)
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 spiritual intervention and resent his intrusion. He was afraid others might overhear him! He wondered if prayer should even factor into his brain surgeries. "The role of prayer in health care," he notes, "is itself a gray matter."

But one day he plunges ahead. To his surprise, he finds that not only do his patients and their families appreciate his prayers, but he discovers a new confidence and joy in his work. In time, after he goes public with his prayers, he finds that nurses and colleagues are surprisingly supportive, and many even ask to join his prayer circles. "The experience has been nothing short of phenomenal," he says.

From his simple desire to pray, Dr. Levy expands his efforts to heal his patients' minds and spirits as well as their bodies. He becomes bolder in bringing spirituality into the medical picture and finds that adapting biblical concepts like forgiveness into doable steps often brings patients to a place of peace and comfort.

This is a well-written, finely paced story of the kind of doctor you would want to find wielding the instruments if you were flat on your back on an operating table. Dr. Levy is the anti-House, a calm and reassuring presence in times of great fear and anxiety. Though he probably charges around the corridors of a hospital with the same sense of purpose as a Dr. House, this book illuminates those still moments in the exam or pre-op room when it's just a doctor and his patient, quietly preparing to face down a brain gone haywire. It's a terrific read for your gray matter!
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38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply amazing, February 19, 2011
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This review is from: Gray Matter: A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer . . . One Patient at a Time (Paperback)
This book depicts the life of Dr. David Levy, one of the top neurosurgeons in California, and how he began to implement praying and spirituality into his neurosurgical practice.

By introducing God in a loving, non-judgemental way Dr. Levy was able to restore hope and peace to patients who faced potentially grave circumstances.

Along with allowing us to follow in his journey through rediscovering God, Dr. Levy also lets us take a very in-depth look into how neurosurgery works from the surgical perspective. Many of the stories leave you on the edge of your seat, wondering if the next blood vessel will burst or if the team will make it in time to detach the aneurism before it breaks off and dramatically changes the life of the person being operated on.

Throughout the book Dr. Levy does an excellent job at bridging the gap between science and spirituality, and shows that both are effective tools at accomplishing tasks that in the end benefit the whole person, and that the two should not be separate, but co-laboring partners.

It is an eye opening reminder that we all have a call on our life and a purpose, and that in order to fulfill that we are required to step outside of the boundaries of comfort and put behind us the opinions of others, regardless of their position or ours.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great read, February 20, 2011
This review is from: Gray Matter: A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer . . . One Patient at a Time (Paperback)
Gray Matter is the fascinating story of a neurosurgeon who decides to risk his professional reputation and career when he becomes deeply convicted to pray with his patients before surgery. Not even knowing how he was going to accomplish this task, Dr. Levy moves forward and profoundly touches many lives with such a simple gesture. Not meant as a means of converting his patients to Christianity, he has been obedient to God's leading in this "small" task and God uses him greatly.
I was especially touched by Dr. Levy's honesty. He knew what this could cost him in his career, but was determined to obey God. He is so transparent in his description of his nervousness of even offering to pray with a patient for the first time in preop. I think this would be a great book for any medical professional who has struggled with living out their faith. In the medical arena, where religion can be considerd only good for the "placebo" affect, this is a book which has a message worth reading. 5 out of 5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A spiritual journey through the human brain, April 12, 2011
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 motives are true, he is overcome with feelings of misgivings as he worries about his career and his reputation if word were to leak that he helped treat his patients with prayer. However, as he gains confidence in this new approach and sees how it can actually change an outcome for the better, he throws caution to the wind and he finds that he is not ostracized and shares God with any of those who may ask.

All is not a steady journey however, David's faith is tested many times throughout the course of his spiritual awakening and after a very devastating event occurs with one of his patient's, he's not sure if he has the strength to hold himself up, let alone those of the family. With skill and patience and prayer, David is able to overcome all obstacles and stand united before God.

If your at all queasy reading surgical procedures then steer clear of this book, everything is explained in graphic detail from the simplest procedures to the most complex. I was squeamish a few times and had to set it aside for a while. I liked Dr. Levy's human side, his worry, even though he is a neurological surgeon, he has fears and worries just like everyone else and I enjoyed seeing that human approach. I like the follow up stories that Dr. Levy shared throughout the story and how prayer had worked for them and their lives. I felt though that David was a bit stiff in his approach, and would've seen him loosen up over time, but with his high-end line of work, I am sure relaxation is something hard sought for, even with the best of intentions. I recommend this to anyone about to have a major operation and looking for spiritual guidance, as well as anyone who enjoys spiritual stories in which prayer is used as a healing purpose.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I would let Dr. Levy operate on me!, February 26, 2011
This review is from: Gray Matter: A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer . . . One Patient at a Time (Paperback)
I have been an operating room nurse since 1997. I have seen thousands of procedures preformed by hundreds of surgeons, but I have never witnessed a surgeon pray with a patient. Dr. Levy is a neurosurgeon in California who feels led by God to pray with his patients. This book contains multiple stories where Dr. Levy has taken the courage to step out of his own comfort zone to bring glory to the ultimate Healer. This decision resulted in a huge impact in the lives of the people he interacts with on a daily basis, including his patients and their families, technicians who work with him, and other physicians. As a healthcare professional, I loved hearing about his patients, even when the outcome was not ideal. Dr. Levy is a great example to Christian physicians and healthcare providers.

In the words of Dr. Levy, "with the particular set of skills he (God) gave me, he allows me the profound privilege of having a hand in physical healing-and sometimes... helping my patients find their way to emotional or spiritual health. It is a privilege that humbles me and for which I am grateful to God with every new patient I meet."

*I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for my review. The opinions are solely mine.*
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a must read!, March 4, 2011
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This review is from: Gray Matter: A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer . . . One Patient at a Time (Paperback)
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.

Cons:
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.

Pros:
Now that the long list of cons are out of the way, on to the things I liked about the book. First, I learned a good bit about the physical problems of the circulation around the brain. Levy wove much information into the book, and did it in a way to keep the reader from getting lost in the technical information.

What I liked best was Levy's honesty. He showed his struggles to integrate his faith into his life. The wrestling that we all have when it comes to stepping out in faith was presented well in the book. Inner turmoil, the desire to be accepted, times of failure, and prompting of the Lord that guided him to success are all part of his journey.

Dr. David Levy shows how meeting the spiritual need of people plays a critical role in physical health, and his position as a doctor allows him a great opportunity to minister to the real needs of everyday people. If you know someone struggling with bitterness and unforgiveness, this book does a GREAT job showing how learning to forgive improved the health of some of the patients he encountered.

His story also convicts the reader. Seeing faith lived out in a tangible way shines light on the fact that our lives also provide an opportunity to be real, and to present an unpretentious faith to those we come in contact with in our lives and places of work.

If you read one book this year, this should be the book.

Eddie Snipes
Author of I Called Him Dancer
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Making a difference..., February 21, 2011
This review is from: Gray Matter: A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer . . . One Patient at a Time (Paperback)
Often, as Christians, we say that we want God to be a part of every aspect of our lives. But, do we really mean it? What would happen if we were to go so far as allowing God to be part of our daily routine in our careers by publicly praying with others and sharing our faith openly and willingly? Neurosurgeon Dr. David Levy did just that.

Gray Matter, written by Dr. David Levy and Joel Kilpatrick, chronicles Dr. Levy's journey as he began asking patients "May I pray with you?" Some patients were receptive, some were put off and some were skeptical. With compassion and kindness, Dr. Levy began making a spiritual difference in his patient's lives sharing prayer, forgiveness and Jesus Christ with them.

In his book, Gray Matter, Dr. Levy takes his readers into surgery with him. While respecting his patients' privacy, he gives fascinating glimpses into the world of neurosurgery. He also gives raw and sometimes painful glances into his own heart as a surgeon striving to do his best for his patients. Interwoven throughout his book is the common thread of the power of prayer and healing through forgiveness.

I am not a medical person and I typically don't read medical books. However, I found Dr. Levy's book to be incredibly fascinating and easy to read. The descriptions of his surgical procedures were neither dry nor gory but rather captivating and gripping. I also appreciated Dr. Levy's honesty in his own spiritual journey as he came to the place where he could say with utmost certainty "God is good."

What would happen if we all invited God to be part of our daily routine? We could all make a difference the way Dr. David Levy has as he asks each of his patients, "May I pray with you?"

***disclaimer... I was given a copy of Gray Matter for my honest review because of my affiliation with Tyndale Blog Network. I received no other compensation.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read!, February 22, 2011
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This review is from: Gray Matter: A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer . . . One Patient at a Time (Paperback)
This book, written by neurosurgeon David Levy, MD, and Joel Kilpatrick, is an account of Dr. Levy's decision to live openly for Christ and to pray for his patients. Written in a warm, first person style, this anecdotal account of Dr. Levy's experiences are a joy to read. Although the book contains medical terms and descriptions, they only add to the flow of the book--and I actually learned some interesting medical information.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book! With transparency, Dr. Levy shares his journey from being a car mechanic to going to college to become a brain surgeon, and how he transitioned from believing in God to putting faith in medicine to surrendering his control back to God.

I loved the stories about his patients, and at one point I almost wept at how one patient opened up to God in Dr. Levy's office. His accounts are inspiring, and he offers a great example for the rest of us to follow.

Additionally, Dr. Levy shares much about his personal and professional life, sharing his struggles and doubts. Sprinkled throughout are spiritual nuggets that stuck with me. My favorite quote is from page 56:

"Guilt comes naturally when we sin, and you can try to pay for sin yourself by feeling shame, or you can let Jesus pay for it and be forgiven."

I love the picture that this gives of us trying to pay our sin-debt by feeling bad about what we've done. Having wasted years beating myself up over stupid choices, this quote was particularly meaningful to me.

I highly recommend this book to everyone, but especially to those who feel that belief in God is not for highly-educated people.

Thanks to the publisher, Tyndale, for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Inside a Neurosurgeon's Head, June 22, 2011
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J. Short (West Virginia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Gray Matter: A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer . . . One Patient at a Time (Paperback)
When I first picked up Gray Matter I thought the author must have been very wordy since it is a 320 page book. I thought how could any one write such a lengthy book on just saying a short prayer with people.

I was surprised to find I was wrong and how much I enjoyed the book. He didn't talk about the prayer and how it helped in a more general sense, but we got to see a slice into the life of a neurosurgeon. Dr. Levy takes you on a journey into the brain and some of the delicate procedures he preforms on a routine basis, even though to his patients it is nothing but routine.

We meet his patients from an elderly lady to a toddler and everyone in between. I almost felt like I was holding my breath at times when he was describing surgeries. His writing style introduced us to his patients, and I was holding my breath as he was taking us into the ER with him.

I loved how he described how forgiveness can make a huge difference in healing once people decided to let others off the hook. While their unforgiveness may have seemed to be a totally separate issue, many times once the person quit being so bitter they improved in their physical health.

Dr. Levy doesn't shy away from the cases that were hard for him to accept. He does what he can, but that doesn't always mean his surgeries go perfectly. I thought it was very refreshing to hear a doctor talk about the cases where he felt he should have done something differently. It gave me a different perspective on doctors in general.

I couldn't put this book down, but that didn't mean it was an easy read. Some of the issues contained were a bit heavier than light hearted reading, but the book is very much worth reading and I do recommend it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very powerful & inspiring book!, March 9, 2011
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This review is from: Gray Matter: A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer . . . One Patient at a Time (Paperback)
As an ICU nurse, I work with Dr. Levy's patients occasionally and I am very fortunate to get to know him not just as a neuro interventional surgeon but as a person with a strong faith in God. He is a very good looking, humble, with great personality doctor and very popular in our hospital. I have seen him pray for my patients and the first time I've seen him doing it in one of my patients, I called my colleagues and told them what I witnessed and told me that he's been doing it for so long. I was touched and joined him in his prayers every time he does it with my patient. So, when he told me that he is writing this book, I can't wait to get a glance of it and I just got my copy today and I can't put it down. Very inspiring and powerful book! I've never seen one like this before and definitely, no matter what religion you belong to or your kind of faith, you will be touched with his stories. I have patients told me that he even pray for the family members over the phone if they are not able to go to the hospital to see their sick family. He inspired me that after I read the part where he shared when did he start praying on his patient, I also prayed for him, thanked God, and asked God to continuously bless him.
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Gray Matter: A Neurosurgeon Discovers the Power of Prayer . . . One Patient at a Time
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