you heard of intercessory prayer? That's what
happens, for example, when your friend Fatimah
is trying to become pregnant and you ask God to
help her. Your prayer is called intercessory because
you are interceding, which is a polite term for
scientific studies have been done to investigate
whether this kind of prayer helps the people who
are prayed for. A new one was recently brought
to the attention of the Realization.org
mail group by Gary Schoubourg. As reported
by the New
at Columbia University, expressing surprise at
their own findings, are reporting that women at
an in vitro fertilization clinic in Korea had
a higher pregnancy rate when, unknown to the patients,
total strangers were asked to pray for their success."
doctors found a big effect: prayers nearly doubled
a woman's chance of getting pregnant from 26 percent
to 50 percent.
to the New York Times, the doctors were reluctant
to publish their findings because they found them
difficult to believe.
lead author of the report, Dr. Rogerio A. Lobo,
Columbia's chairman of obstetrics and gynecology,
said he and his colleagues had thought long and
hard about whether to publish their findings,
since they seemed so improbable. In the end, the
differing pregnancy rates between the two groups
of women proved too significant to ignore."
is the next step? Perhaps the doctors should do
the study again, but with pregnant women who wish
they would miscarry. The
prayer groups would ask God to carry out what
doctors call a spontaneous abortion.
theological implications of such an experiment,
if the results were positive, would be quite interesting.
more on intercessory prayer, click