Does prayer work?

Does prayer work like the Bible says it does? Or does it even work at all?

Answer #1

From Slate (

“Patients who received prayers were marginally more likely to develop complications (52.5 to 50.9 percent) and substantially more likely to develop major complications (18.0 to 13.4 percent) than patients who received none.” The Deity in the Data What the latest prayer study tells us about God. By William Saletan Posted Thursday, April 6, 2006, at 2:37 AM ET

Brother, have you heard the bad news?

It was supposed to be good news, like the kind in the Bible. After three years, $2.4 million, and 1.7 million prayers, the biggest and best study ever was supposed to show that prayers . . . help patients recover after heart surgery. But things didn’t go as ordained. Patients who knowingly received prayers developed more post-surgery complications than did patients who unknowingly received prayers—and patients who were prayed for did no better than patients who weren’t prayed for. In fact, patients who received prayers without their knowledge ended up with more major complications than did patients who received no prayers at all.

If the data had turned out the other way, clerics would be trumpeting the power of prayer on every street corner. Instead, the study’s authors and many media outlets are straining to brush off the results. The study “cannot address a large number of religious questions, such as whether God exists, whether God answers intercessory prayers, or whether prayers from one religious group work in the same way as prayers from other groups,” the authors shrug.

Bull. If these findings involved any other kind of therapy, doctors would spin hypotheses about the underlying mechanisms and why the treatment failed or backfired. And that’s exactly what theologians and scientists are doing as they try to explain away the data. They’re implicitly sketching possibilities as to what sort of God could account for the results . . .

From the actual research article in the American Heart Journal:

Methods Patients at 6 US hospitals were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: 604 received intercessory prayer after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; 597 did not receive intercessory prayer also after being informed that they may or may not receive prayer; and 601 received intercessory prayer after being informed they would receive prayer. Intercessory prayer was provided for 14 days, starting the night before CABG [coronary artery bypass graft]. The primary outcome was presence of any complication within 30 days of CABG. Secondary outcomes were any major event and mortality.

Results In the 2 groups uncertain about receiving intercessory prayer, complications occurred in 52% of patients who received intercessory prayer versus 51% of those who did not. Complications occurred in 59% of patients certain of receiving intercessory prayer compared with the 52% of those uncertain of receiving intercessory prayer. Major events and 30-day mortality were similar across the 3 groups.

Conclusions Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.

Answer #2

Every prayed coming from a child ( Follower ) of God is answered and the answer is not always yes. . . . . . I once prayed that a matter I had recently learned o,f would be resolver and with in 10 minutes it was.

Answer #3

Notice sarasmiles comment about person being ‘miraculously’ cured. If a person prays when they are ill, or people pray for them and they are cured, a religious person thinks, “God answered our prayers and performed a miracle”.

A scientist looks at it and says, “Prayer had nothing to do with it, there is a natural cause for what we see here. If we understand the natural cause, we can help cure many more people who are suffering from the same condition”

Answer #4

I think God always answers prayers. It may not be the way we want it to be answered, but he does give an answer. Sometimes you never expect the ways he answers. :)

Answer #5

3/19/08 - Scientific Study proves: ‘Go to church and pray if you want to be Happy:’ Those with religious beliefs are likely to be happier than atheists or agnostics.

Research suggests religion can act as an “insurance policy” against the adversities of life.

Regular churchgoers also appear to cope better with events such as divorce or unemployment and may even be happier.

The study, presented yesterday at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference-in Coventry, used data from across Europe to investigate the effect of being religious on life satisfaction, as well as attitudes towards government policies.

Although the idea of religious belief as a “fortress” was not new, “this issue of insurance has surprisingly received only limited attention”, the report’s authors said.

The study concluded that the “stress-buffering” effect varies according to the life event and religious denomination, but “churchgoing and prayer are also associated with greater satisfaction”.

Authors Professor Andrew Clark and Dr Orsolya Lelkes also found strong faith led to different political attitudes. The religious were less supportive of unemployment benefits. Religion could even influence the evolution of social and economic institutions, they said.

Answer #6

sometimes I thank god for unanswered prayers… sometimes the answer is not what you want to hear.. but god does hear your prayers.

Answer #7

I’ve Prayer tunes you in

  1. The purpose of prayer is as a tuning device.

  2. Prayer tunes entities into singleness of being and Harmoniousness of purpose.

  3. “Our God, our Guides, and fellow Spirits, we thank Thee for Thy countenance. Pray continue to abide with us.”

  4. “We are thankful for this past day, And pray that we have grown along the Way; In sleep we turn in search of Thee, For Knowledge, Wisdom and Harmony.”

  5. “We thank Thee for another day, That we may Love and Grow along the Way; Pray guide our feet where they may go, That we may help all others Grow.”

  Prayer helps you focus your subconscious onto goals that you desire. That extra focus helps your subconscious guide your conscious being during its daily travels.

Answer #8

Yes prayer works and changes. However you have to have faith in the Lord. If you have ever gotten in a bind and you made your way out. It wasn’t a coincidence it was God.

Answer #9

yes it dose

Answer #10

Well, I had a friend years ago who was diagnosed with cancer. He had tumors lining his insides from top to bottom. His last check up before he was to start chemotherapy he was “miraculously” cured. God answers prayers when HE deems it fit. God preforms miricals accordingly to his plans. Just because you pray and don’t get the answer you want doesnt mean God doesn’t hear them. Everything happens as it was meant and prayers can not alter the master plan. Prayers work even if only to get stress off your chest.

Answer #11

I believe prayer works. To some extent I agree with fillet’s exwife - it puts us in tune with God and reality, rather than inevitably making ‘magical’ changes to that reality. For example, as a young teacher, I had a really annoying little boy in my class, who wound me up every day, and in the end, I resorted to praying for him. (Yes, it might have been better to start sooner!) Within a week I’d learned from the headteacher that his parents had split up in traumatic circumstances and he’d seen his dad push his mum down the stairs. My initial prayers did not change him - but they changed everything about how I related to that boy.

I also believe that prayer can protect and change situations supernaturally - it’s not a case of us nagging God until He gives in, but instead us being invited to join God in the good things He already wants to get done. But we have to be prepared to be part of the answers to our own prayers!

Answer #12

All the time.

Most intercessory prayer is prayer for someone that is laid on your heart, more so than being told to as by the statistics in the above “test.”

Answer #13

I know where flossheal is coming from . when I have a problem with someone or there is someone that really gets to me, I pray for them. just the act of praying for them softens my heart to them. it is hard, for me, to hate and pray at the same time.

Answer #14

It depends on what you mean by “work.”

My exwife had an interesting take on prayer. She didn’t think God needed puny little humans to tell her (she said that God was a woman who looked like Angela Davis but talked like Barbara Jordon) what to do. She thought prayer is for humans. When she prayed and put her problems in God’s hands she felt better. To her prayer was like meditation or reflection. She didn’t expect her prayers to alter reality, just to make her more at peace with it.

Answer #15

Prayer definitely works !! - often in the most unexpected ways - unexpected timing - a lot of times the answer isn’t ‘no’, it’s ‘not yet’.

Answer #16

Multitudes of prayers are answered every day.

Answer #17

all prayers are answered - just sometimes the answer is no.

Answer #18

yes of course prayer works. god loves eveyone the smae he has no favorite person.

Answer #19

I think god laughs at our prayers sometimes but he always listens to them

Answer #20

it’s never worked for me

Answer #21

Prayer is a placebo. If you prefer the sugar pill to the real medicine, by all means keep taking it.

Answer #22

Prayer doesn’t change physics, if that’s what you mean.

Answer #23

Prayer definitely works. It’s just depends on how you recognize it. The Almighty doesn’t leaves anyone unanswered, the time span may however vary. Prayer is just a way to connect to Him and ask for the strength and courage needed to face the situation which comes your way. There are many associations(churches) which conduct special prayers for the needy and their prayers are answered.

Answer #24

Prayer is a way to gain strength and wisdom to face a situation. I believe that when you pray, you get a strength that helps you to walk your bad times with courage. There are even churches which conduct special prayers for the needy. The church I go to, Christian Life Assembly also conduct special prayers on request and I have even seen prayers working and making positive effects on peoples’ life. So, in my opinion, prayer works and not just works, it even has tremendous impact on our life.

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