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Prayer and Sickness


Several 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 seems to suggest that it does.



A Randomized, Controlled Trial of the Effects of Remote, Intercessory Prayer on Outcomes in Patients Admitted to the Coronary Care Unit
By 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.
This 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 they were being prayed for. 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.

God On Their Side
By Nell Boyce
A summary for general readers of the research paper listed immediately above. From the New Scientist.


This page was published on February 2, 2000.

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