It looks like laughter has some competition as the best medicine. More evidence is emerging that prayer can play an important role in medical treatment and recovery. Two recent studies found that patients who suffered from infertility or heart disease were significantly helped by the prayers of strangers from places as far away as Australia.
One of the prayer experiments was conducted on women at an in vitro fertilization clinic in Korea. Half of the women were randomly selected to have believers from the United States, Canada, or Australia praying for them. Those interceding were given photographs of the hopeful mothers, though neither they nor their caregivers knew about the study.
The author of the study, Dr. Rogerio Lobo, chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University's School of Medicine, admitted that he did not expect to find that prayer has a measurable impact. The experiment indicated, however, that women who were prayed for were twice as likely to become pregnant as the women in the control group who were not prayed for. The findings were published in the September 2001 issue of the Journal of Reproductive Medicine. "I'm the first to say we don't know what this means," Lobo told MSN.com.
A separate study, also a DOUBLE BLIND study, led by Dr. Mitchell Krucoff of Duke University, was conducted on a group of 150 cardiac patients scheduled for angioplasty. His research appeared in the November 2001 issue of American Heart Journal. The study found that those receiving "off-site" intercessory prayer-again, without their knowledge-had fewer complications than any other group, including those who received other in person "complementary therapies" (guided imagery, stress relaxation, or healing touch) before surgery.
NOTE: if you search the web, you will find many hits for a 2006 study of cardiac bypass patients which boasted of being the LARGEST study on the subject and concluded that "prayer can actually cause more complications" The media loved it, however, it should be noted that this was NEITHER a double blind study (i.e. unlike the two foregoing studies, patients who were being prayed for, KNEW they were being prayed for) nor a clinical study (and epidemiological studies while they can boast of having large numbers, are known in the scientific research field for being EXTREMELY INACCURATE not only because of the methods of the collection of data, either existent data or by survey which is very inaccurate but because many factors, any one of which could influence the study, are omitted) This study partially out of Harvard (why am I not surprised - Harvard has the best scientists money can buy as suggested by a bunch of other bogus research) was reported on in the "American Heart Journal" of April 2006.
While believers already appreciate the benefits and influence of prayer, too many scientists remain committed to a rigid materialism that denies any role for divine intervention. Studies like these may not allow the medical community to fully understand the workings of a sovereign God and His healing touch, but they make it harder for them to deny His power.