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Q: Religion: Academic Studies and Data on Prayer ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Religion: Academic Studies and Data on Prayer
Category: Relationships and Society > Religion
Asked by: nronronronro-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 04 Oct 2002 21:31 PDT
Expires: 03 Nov 2002 20:31 PST
Question ID: 72734
I am looking for 3-4 university studies on prayer.
Specifically, looking for data on "intercessory prayer."

As I recall, a study was performed at UC-San Francisco Medical Center.
 Religious people prayed for patients in intensive care.  The patients
were not aware they were being prayed for...

Hence, the study was double blind.  Conclusion?  These patients had
30% higher recovery rates than the control group.

I am looking for 3-4 similar studies.  Please post any comments and
data, either for or against these studies.
Thanks !
Subject: Re: Religion: Academic Studies and Data on Prayer
Answered By: bobbie7-ga on 05 Oct 2002 01:07 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello nronronronro-ga,

Thank you for your very interesting question.

The following study is similar to one study mentioned in your

Randomized, Controlled Trial of the Effects of Remote, Intercessory
Prayer on Outcomes in Patients Admitted to the Coronary Care Unit.

“Objective:  To determine whether remote, intercessory prayer for
hospitalized, cardiac patients will reduce overall adverse events and
length of stay.

Design: Randomized, controlled, double-blind, prospective,
parallel-group trial.

Patients:  Nine hundred ninety consecutive patients who were newly
admitted to the coronary care unit (CCU).

At the time of admission, patients were randomized to receive remote,
intercessory prayer (prayer group) or not (usual care group). The
first names of patients in the prayer group were given to a team of
outside intercessors who prayed for them daily for 4 weeks. Patients
were unaware that they were being prayed for, and the intercessors did
not know and never met the patients.

Conclusions:  Remote, intercessory prayer was associated with lower
CCU course scores. This result suggests that prayer may be an
effective adjunct to standard medical care.”

In Editors correspondence dated June 26, 2000, Donald R. Hoover, PhD,
and Joseph B. Margolick, MD, PhD question the design and findings of
the above study.

Another  study from  the Department of Medicine, Beilinson Campus,
Rabin Medical Center, Petah-Tiqva Israel:

Beyond Science? Effects of remote, retroactive intercessory prayer on
outcomes in patients with bloodstream infection: randomized controlled

“Objective: To determine whether remote, retroactive intercessory
prayer, said for a group of patients with a bloodstream infection, has
an effect on outcomes.

Intervention: In July 2000 patients were randomized to a control group
and an intervention group. A remote, retroactive intercessory prayer
was said for the well being and full recovery of the intervention
Conclusions: Remote, retroactive intercessory prayer said for a group
is associated with a shorter stay in hospital and shorter duration of
fever in patients with a bloodstream infection and should be
considered for use in clinical practice.”

More than fifty 50 letters  were sent to the Journal concerning the
above study.

A 2001 study in the Mayo Clinic:

Intercessory prayer and cardiovascular disease progression in a
coronary care unit population: a randomized controlled trial.

“OBJECTIVE: To determine the effect of intercessory prayer, a widely
practiced complementary therapy, on cardiovascular disease progression
after hospital discharge.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: In this randomized controlled trial conducted
between 1997 and 1999, a total of 799 coronary care unit patients were
randomized at hospital discharge to the intercessory prayer group or
to the control group. Intercessory prayer, ie, prayer by 1 or more
persons on behalf of another, was administered at least once a week
for 26 weeks by 5 intercessors per patient.

CONCLUSIONS: As delivered in this study, intercessory prayer had no
significant effect on medical outcomes after hospitalization in a
coronary care unit.”

A study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine:

Does Prayer Influence the Success of in Vitro Fertilization-Embryo

“The objective of the study was to assess the potential effect of
intercessory prayer (IP) on pregnancy rates in women being treated
with in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer.

A short excerpt of the abstract:
“Study Design: Prospective, double-blind, randomized clinical trial in
which patients and providers were not informed about the intervention.
Statisticians and investigators were masked until all the data had
been collected and clinical outcomes were known. The setting was an
IVF-ET program at Cha Hospital, Seoul, Korea. IP was carried out by
prayer groups in the United States, Canada and Australia. The
investigators were at a tertiary medical center in the United States.
The patients were 219 women aged 26-46 years who were consecutively
treated with IVF-ET over a four-month period.”

After clinical pregnancies were known, the data were unmasked to
assess the effects of IP after assessment of multiple comparisons in a
log-linear model. The IP group had a higher pregnancy rate as compared
to the no-IP rate. The IP group showed a higher implantation rate.

Conclusion: A statistically significant difference was observed for
the effect of IP on the outcome of IVF-ET, though the data should be
interpreted as preliminary.”

Source: Journal of Reproductive Medicine

Intercessory Prayer and Its Effect on Patients with Rheumatoid

“This (2000) study suggested that personal intercessory prayer was
useful in the medical treatment of patients with rheumatoid arthritis,
improving overall health. However, distant prayer showed no overall

Interventional Cardiology
American Heart Journal -  November 2001

Commentaries on intercessory prayer:

Adriane Fugh-Berman, assistant clinical professor of health care
science at George Washington University of Medicine, told the "Post"
that trying to scientifically determine prayer's effect on health was
almost impossible. "Prayer studies are interesting, but from a public
health point of view they are not the best place to put our dollars."

Dr. Gerald P. Bodey, MD commenting on distant intercessory prayer.
Source: Archives of Internal Medicine

Brian Bolton, PhD also comments on distant intercessory prayer:
Source: Archives of Internal Medicine

A technique known as therapeutic touch, prayer on someone's behalf and
other kinds of "distance healing" may have a positive effect on
patients, according to a University of Maryland School of Medicine
researcher, who has reviewed dozens of studies. His findings are
published in the June 6th edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Additional information that may interest you:

“Scientific Research of Prayer: Can the Power of Prayer Be Proven?” by
Debra Williams - 1999 PLIM REPORT.

An ABC news report: “A Miracle or Simply Chance?

“Dr. Elizabeth Targ, a psychiatrist at the Pacific College of Medicine
in San Francisco, has tested out prayer on critically ill AIDS
patients. All 20 patients in the study got pretty much the same
medical treatment, but only half of them were prayed for by spiritual
healers. Ultimately, 10 of the prayed-for patients lived, while four
who had not been prayed for died. In a larger follow-up study, Targ
found that the people who received prayer and remote healing had six
times fewer hospitalizations and those hospitalizations were
significantly shorter than the people who received no prayer and
distant healing.”

“Dr. Deepak Chopra, who is well-known for his insights on science and
spirituality, says these prayer experiments are proving what he's been
saying all along: There are healing forces in nature that science is
only beginning to understand.

But the final verdict on prayer is still not in, says Dr. Gary Posner,
a skeptic of remote healing who says most prayer studies to date have
been sloppy and untrustworthy.

I suspect that 50 years from now people looking back at this genre of
prayer research will kind of shake their heads and call it junk

Source: ABC News

An article dated Nov. 6, 2001 “The Power of Prayer in Medicine
People Who Are Prayed for Fare Better” by Jeanie Davis  
WebMD Website

“A Frontier of Medical Research: Prayer” by Jane Lampmann, Staff
writer of The Christian Science Monitor

“Many believe faith heals” by Andrew Holtz dated December 16, 1996.

Search Criteria:

university studies “intercessory prayer” 
“intercessory prayer” heart patients university studies
The Mind-Body Medical Institute "intercessory prayer"

I hope you find this helpful.

Best Regards,
nronronronro-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars
Fantastic, Bobby7.   I'll get started reading right away.  Thank you !!

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