Thursday, February 02, 2006


Prayer is a generally considered to be a form of communion with a Higher Presence or God. However, in certain religions, Prayer is offered to enlightened or spiritual beings such as certain Catholic or Muslim saints. Prayer is sometimes spoken of being divided into two major categories- the Prayer of petition and the Prayer of union. In the Prayer of petition, the supplicant and the object of Prayer are separated and the object of the Prayer is for the supplicant to ask something of the object of Prayer. In the Prayer of union, the object is to blur the distinction between the identity of the one who prays and the object of Prayer. It is an attempt to obtain a unitive state with the Divine Presences, to become one with God.

Believe it or not, Prayer has been subjected to the rigors of scientific investigation. One researcher, both a pastor and a chemical engineer, the Reverend Franklin Loehr, chronicled the effect of his Prayer on seeds and seedlings. The fortunate recipients of his Prayers sprouted faster, producing sturdier plants. See our article on Psychic Healing for the effects of the Laying on of Hands on water used to irrigate seeds by researcher, Bernard Grad.

One scientific study took place with patients in a Coronary Care Unit in the San Francisco Medical Center. The purpose of the study was to see the effect of Prayer by an outside, intercessory group, in this case, Christians, on approximately one half of 393 patients chosen for this study. The balance of the patients, acting as a control group, were not subjected to intercessory Prayer. The results were that the group which was targeted for intercessory Prayer required less antibiotics, diuretics and ventilatory aid than the control group in a statistically significant way.

In another similar, but larger study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, a similar result was found. The study, conducted by researchers at Kansas City's Mid-America Heart Institute at St. Luke's Hospital involved 990 patients with severe, life-threatening coronary disorders. From this group, 524 were extracted randomly to be a control group. The remain group of 466 patients were targeted for intercessory Prayer by five Prayer group members. In this case, neither doctors nor patients knew that the experiment was taking place nor that a certain group of patients were prayed for a total of 28 days. At the end, 35 different medical measurements were used to calibrate the difference between the two groups, the result weighing dramatically in favor of those targeted by the Prayer group. The comparison between the two groups involved looking whether patients remained on respirators or required pacemakers, type and frequency of taking specific medications, length of stay in the hospital, speed of recovery and whether they lived or died.