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Questioning The Power of Prayer

April 13, 2006 | 5,782 views

A large study found that prayers from strangers had no effect on the recovery of patients who had undergone heart surgery.

In addition, patients who knew they were being prayed for experienced more post-operative complications, possibly because of anxiety due to raised expectations.

The study, which lasted almost ten years and involved more than 1800 patients, was designed to overcome flaws in previous investigations of the subject.

The study's authors stated that the findings should not be considered the last word on the effects of intercessory prayer, and that the study did not cover either personal prayers or prayers from friends and family members.

At least one earlier study seemed to indicate lower complication rates in patients who received intercessory prayers; however, others found no difference.

The current study did not find any difference between patients who were prayed for and those who were not, and a somewhat higher complication rate -- 59 percent as opposed to 51 percent -- for patients who knew they were being prayed for.


Dr. Mercola's Comments:

You may have heard the media using the studies to "prove" that prayer doesn't work. This is a great example of not relying on the media to provide you with an opinion.

Ideally it is always best to go back to the original study or article and carefully review it based on your analysis. That is why I provide you with links to the articles and studies.

Sure I provide my comment, but that is all it is, my impression which is not intended to be the final word on any subject. I am on a journey, just like you to seek the truth and every day I learn new information that causes me to update and revise my understanding of how this world operates.

I would encourage you to do the same. Don't rely on anyone, including me, to give you the answers. If the subject is important to you, do your own analysis and investigation and reach your own conclusion.

If you reach a different one then mine, very shortly you will have the opportunity to voice your opinion on this site as we will be deploying Web 2.0 technology to have one of the most advanced forum discussion groups on the net.

Getting back to this study though a key to remember here is that this research was primarily with surrogate prayer -- in other words, the effect of someone else praying for others. While this isn't the last definitive word on the subject, it is also very clear that the most powerful form of prayer comes from people is praying for themselves and not for others.

When you pray for others, you may not be able to overcome their belief systems and their ability to manifest their intentions which are frequently negative due to a variety of self-sabotaging experiences and beliefs.

Frankly, there is no question that prayer works. We have many studies now to document that. The science is very solid in excellent peer-reviewed publications. The science is so solid, that it is criminally negligent for physicians not to recommend it.

And talk about cost-effective; there is no cost to prayer except for time. It makes no logical sense to me why someone would not utilize this resource.

Other simple and powerful techniques that can provide similar benefits to prayer include journaling and meditation.

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