Does Prayer Work?

May 8, 2018

Dr. Larry Dossey, in his book Prayer Is Good Medicine, takes a look at what research in the medical field has turned up regarding the healing effects of prayer.  He asks us to keep in mind the following scientific facts as we pray for others and ourselves.

In the past 35 years more than 130 controlled laboratory studies show that prayer or a prayer like state of compassion, empathy and love can bring about healthful changes in those being prayed for.  Prayers have been tested like a new medicine might be.  Here is just one example.

 A study was done using 393 patients in the coronary care unit of San Francisco General Hospital.  Prayer groups in various parts of the United States were asked to pray for the sick individuals assigned to a “treatment” group, while no one prayed for those in the “control” group.  Except for prayer, all patients received the same high-tech therapy.  No patients, no doctors and no nurses knew who was being prayed for.

The results of this study show that the prayed-for patients did significantly better on several specific measurements.  Distance did not seem to be a factor.

Dr. Dossey reminds us that when we investigate prayer scientifically we can only show that it works, but not how or why it works.  This does not mean that prayer always works, any more than drugs and surgery always work, but statistically speaking, prayer can be effective!

Jeanne Leonardi


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