The power of prayer
Does praying for a sick person's recovery do any good? In the largest scientific test of its kind, heart surgery patients showed no benefit when strangers prayed for their recovery.Honestly, my first reaction to this is what a waste of $2.4 million (and parenthetically, how expensive has biomedical research become? They randomized 1800 patients to be prayed for or not and it cost 2.4 million? I wonder how much they paid the prayers?). Abstract of original article is here(no free full text).
And patients who knew they were being prayed for had a slightly higher rate of complications. The researchers could only guess why.
Several scientists questioned the concept of the study. Science "is not designed to study the supernatural," said Dr. Harold G. Koenig, director of the Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health at the Duke University Medical Center.
Hopefully, further research funding can concentrate on interventions likely to actually, you know, benefit patients. I don't mean to disparage prayer and religion (especially given that I attend church regularly), but I agree with this editorial that describes prayer as
widely practiced . . . with no plausible mechanismat least biologically. I don't think you are going to learn much about divine intervention doing clinical research