scientific studies have been done to determine
whether praying for sick people helps them get
better. (This is sometimes called intercessory
prayer.) So far, the evidence suggests that
it does, even when the sick people don't know
that someone is praying for them.
addition, at least one study has shown that prayer
can increase a woman's chance of becoming pregnant.
studies have been published in legitimate, peer-reviewed
Randomized, Controlled Trial of the Effects of
Remote, Intercessory Prayer on Outcomes in Patients
Admitted to the Coronary Care Unit
William S. Harris, Ph.D.; Manohar Gowda, M.D.;
Jerry W. Kolb, M.Div.; Christopher P. Strychacz,
Ph.D.; James L. Vacek, M.D.; Philip G. Jones,
M.S.; Alan Forker, M.D.; James H. O'Keefe, M.D.;
Ben D. McCallister, M.D.
is probably the most rigorous study to date. Published
in October 1999, it examined about a thousand
heart patients and found a positive effect even
though the patients didn't know people were praying
for them. From Archives of Internal Medicine,
a journal published by the American Medical Assocation.
The full text is on the web. This paper has a
bibliography of previous research studies.
Prayer Influence the Success of in Vitro Fertilization-Embryo
Transfer?: Report of a Masked, Randomized Trial
Kwang Y. Cha, M.D., Daniel P. Wirth, J.D., M.S.,
and Rogerio A. Lobo, M.D.
intercessory prayers were offered, women's chances
of becoming pregnant were twice as great. From
Journal of Reproductive Medicine, September
On Their Side
summary for general readers of the paper at the
top of this list. From the New Scientist.
This article requires registration (the site offers
a free seven-day registration).
page was published on February 2, 2000 and last
revised on October 25, 2001.