A new "scientific study" has given print/internet media the opportunity for a fun headline day. Here were some of the headlines published after a report from the American Heart Journal concerning prayer for heart surgery patients: "No benefit of prayer found after surgery" "Prayer for the ill may do more harm than good" "Prayer does not heal the sick"
Way to piss off a bunch of religious folk there, guys.
This study, along with all other studies concerning prayer and health, are a royal waste of time and money. They is no possible objectivity in these studies because the funding behind them is given to produce a certain response. It's all for propaganda- for Christians to say prayer is scientifically proven to be powerful or for scientists to say claim that it's proved to be useless. With both sides out to prove their own preconceived notions, who gives a rip what their research shows?
As a pastor, I have yet to meet someone hospitalized who, when asked if they wanted prayer, refuse it. Does it work? It depends what you're looking for. Sometimes they recover physically and sometimes they don't. But if you believe that there is a God who answers prayer, then is the most important result a healing in this life? Maybe the prayer accomplishes something more, something immeasurable in scientific terms. This entire subject is way beyond the realm of science to be able to answer in a single study. But keep trying there, scientist man. It's not like there's cancer to cure or AIDS to eradicate.
Allow me to propose just one hiccup in such a study. This study claims that people who didn't receive prayer did as well or even better than those that did. But what if, somewhere in the world, there's an extremely faithful, extremely spiritual little girl who prays every night before she goes to bed. And in her prayers, she prays for all the sick people in the world who aren't being prayed for. What if God chose to answer her prayers and that's why those un-prayed-for people did so well-- all because that little girl. How does that affect the research?
I need sleep. Pray for me.