Scientific Power of Prayer

April 5, 2012

This is a bit of a side-trip for me, but I think (and hope you’ll agree) it’s appropriate.

Earlier today, I got an email from Rasmussen about a new Newsmax video on the scientific power of prayer (i.e., what prayer does to your brain) – you can see it here:  http://w3.newsmax.com/newsletters/mhr/prayer_video.cfm?promo_code=E95F-1

But this reminded me of a talk I heard nearly 25 years ago, while I was at a conference in Las Vegas, before I even moved here.

The speaker and her husband were both researchers at the Harvard Medical School, and had left to form a brain science institute – which is beside the point.  She was there to talk about a double-blind study that she had conducted which demonstrated the healing power of intercessory prayer.  Basically, a group of believers in Albuquerque were asked to pray for individual patients in a hospital in San Francisco.  They didn’t know the patients’ names – only their room numbers, and the patients – while they knew they were in the study (though not the details) – didn’t know if they were being “treated,” or if they were in the control group.  The patients were not selected for religious views, but only willingness to participate in a study, and didn’t know the nature of the “treatment” they received.

The findings – people being prayed for by strangers more than 1,000 miles away recovered more quickly from the same kinds of medical conditions as experienced by the control group.  To me, that was a profound and stunning discovery, for at that time, I was going through a fairly agnostic stage of my life.  Though I’d been an active believer in times past, at that point, I was not – God, prayer, religion, none of them were a part of my life.  However, I’ve always prided myself on an analytical, scientific turn of mind, and when I heard about this study, done by Harvard researchers and not by Christian activists, it really hit me hard, and stuck with me.

When I saw the Rasmussen email about the Newsmax video, this all came rushing back, and I thought I’d take a moment to share it here with you, to consider for yourself.  Believers won’t be surprised, but a few non-believers might want to look into this a bit more.

Ned Barnett – Nevada Conservative


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