Research shows prayer doesnt work .

Charlie - posted on 05/17/2011 ( 34 moms have responded )

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Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found.



And patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of post-operative complications like abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the expectations the prayers created, the researchers suggested.

Because it is the most scientifically rigorous investigation of whether prayer can heal illness, the study, begun almost a decade ago and involving more than 1,800 patients, has for years been the subject of speculation.



"One conclusion from this is that the role of awareness of prayer should be studied further," said Dr. Charles Bethea, a cardiologist at Integris Baptist Medical Center in Oklahoma City and a co-author of the study.



Other experts said the study underscored the question of whether prayer was an appropriate subject for scientific study.



"The problem with studying religion scientifically is that you do violence to the phenomenon by reducing it to basic elements that can be quantified, and that makes for bad science and bad religion," said Dr. Richard Sloan, a professor of behavioral medicine at Columbia and author of a forthcoming book, "Blind Faith: The Unholy Alliance of Religion and Medicine."



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Prayer ...healing properties or blind faith ?



http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health...

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Sneaky - posted on 05/17/2011

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I don't want to take away anyone's faith and hope - I just can not believe that anyone would think that having a complete stranger pray for you on the other side of the world would be, in any way shape or form, helpful to healing.

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'Research' can shove it. I've seen enough real life examples to know that prayer works. Granted, you don't always get the answer you WANT, but prayer always works.

Sneaky - posted on 05/17/2011

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PS I can NOT believe that someone would pay money to research this! Don't try to cure cancer or anything, lets spend money researching prayer and then we can faith heal everyone with cancer, whoo hooo!

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Ok, I'll start by saying that I'm not a believer and I don't pray. However, I think prayer can work in different ways. Say, I'm sick. You pray for me. This makes you feel like you're helping and it helps you to cope. Now, say I'm still sick and I'm a believer (which, again, I'm not). I pray. Does it cure me? No, medicine does. Doctors do. But does the prayer make me feel closer to my god? Does it give me comfort? Yes. So I think prayer does help, just not in the ways people may think it does.

Sherri - posted on 05/17/2011

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I think that it does bring comfort and positive thoughts to the patient and positive thoughts and thinking are known to help patients.

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Meghan - posted on 05/20/2011

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My opinion is definatly that prayer as well as positive thinking both have tremendous healing properties. I think it is also said that " the mind is much more powerful than we know". With that said, i have personal experience with illness and prayer and"positive thinking". My mother contracted Hep C from a dirty needle poke while working in Labor and delivery, years ago. I have literally watched her have days where she is positive and hopeful, then there are days where she feels nothing but despair and hopelessness. On these positive days she feels less pain, she has more energy, and her all around quality of life seems pretty good given the circumstances. Now on the days that she wakes up and feels no sense of hope or faith and to be quite honest, is pissed off at the world, she will suddenly sound congested or look like she has a little more fluid in her belly than usual. I have done a study of my own over the past months and found that if I sit with her and say my prayers with her before she falls asleep, the next morning seems to be much more pleasant for her. People that have terminal illness are so incredibly vulnerable in the way that every thought, every gut wrenching feeling has the ability to manifest itself in one way or another. So I surely believe that having faith in something will give you the motivation to go on....something to look forward to.

ME - posted on 05/20/2011

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I think there is ample evidence that personal reflection and meditation (of which prayer could certainly be an example), DOES help people who are ill. Because the positive effects all seem to have to do with personal mind-set, it shouldn't be surprising that the prayers of strangers do nothing for sick people...

Lacye - posted on 05/20/2011

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I don't agree with this study. I have seen instances where prayer has helped people. Just because it didn't help with those people in particular doesn't mean anything. The way I look at it, people can't prove it exists but yet they can't disprove it either.

Gina - posted on 05/20/2011

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Thanks Joy, that's what I was trying to say, you just made more sense than me.

Johnny - posted on 05/19/2011

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There is a huge difference between "feeling" better and actually "being" better. I have no doubt that prayer and positive thinking can improve the way we feel and manage an illness, but it has not ever been proven to change the course of it. Obviously people are brimming with anecdotes of someone they know who prayed hard and was cured, but there is absolutely no way to prove or disprove that the prayer had any effect at all whatsoever on the actual course of the illness. There are many people who have seemingly miraculous recoveries from things who did not pray or even have a positive outlook.

Gina - posted on 05/19/2011

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While I do think prayer helps, I'm just saying I don't want strangers praying for me.I do believe in prayer, for people who believe it's a powerful thing.

Dana - posted on 05/17/2011

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Eh, I've also seen research that shows it does work too. To each their own, why does anyone give a shit? If you believe then carry on believing, if you don't then don't. Big deal.

Johnny - posted on 05/17/2011

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To me this study is just a giant expensive serving of Duh!

I don't even necessarily believe that positive thinking works. On the one hand, my grandmother, who was an atheist, lived for 12 years after they gave her one year to live on what she claimed was "the power of positive thinking".

On the other hand, one of my close friends, someone so positive and cheery that she annoyed the shit out of us sometimes, died last year from colon cancer at the age of 28. Three months short of the mark on the one year they gave her to live. She had just married her sweetheart and ended up missing the honeymoon they had booked to Bora Bora. As well, while she was not religious, she was deeply spiritual and prayed regularly. In her case postive thinking, planning for the future and prayer did jack shit.

Ironically, I had another friend also die of colon cancer the same year. She had been given 6 months to live and made it past 2 years. This is a woman whose nickname was Eeyore. If you wanted to see the downside, you would just call Gen and she could point it out to you. With a great dose of humor and irony, but she definitely was a cynic and a glass mostly empty kind of gal. I spent a great deal of time with her while she was sick, and neither prayer nor positive thinking really entered into her mindset.

So I just don't buy into it. I think that these illnesses are so complex, dynamic, and always changing that they are impossible to predict. There is a reason that doctors rarely state with certainty what will happen in the course of an illness. It is truly impossible to accurately predict. There is so little known about all the little actions that change the course of what happens to us that ascribing anything as a force without significant study is foolhardy. And now we know that having others pray for us would perhaps be in that arena. It doesn't mean it doesn't feel nice or make us "feel" better, but it's unlikely that either prayer or positive thinking can be proven to actually change the course of an illness.

Krista - posted on 05/17/2011

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I'm really, really happy for your dad, Sara.

I guess I'm just not persuaded, though. There are many people out there who were just as beloved, and who were prayed for just as fervently, who did not make it. Do I think that the prayer helped? Likely. It probably improved his outlook, which I'm sure didn't hurt any.

But I think that a lot of people give prayer a lot more credit than I think it deserves. In a case like your dad's, I know many people who would give ALL of the credit to prayer.

Prayer and/or positive thinking are just one factor. They don't "work miracles" -- they simply aid in any healing that is already taking place.

[deleted account]

From my experiences, prayer works.

My dad had a massive heart attack five years ago. He was prayed for by everyone that KNEW him. And he knew we were praying for him. And he was praying for himself. At his one year checkup, there was no evidence that he had ever had a heart attack. The doctor was stunned. I'm sure many of you will call in coincidence or claim there must be a 'logical' explanation and that's fine. =)

Lady Heather - posted on 05/17/2011

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I don't think it matters or not so long if it makes the sick person feel comforted and other people feel like they are doing something to "help". Sometimes there isn't anything else you can do but offer your thoughts and prayers. I'm not religious and I still prayed to some god I don't believe in when our friend's baby was really sick.

Gina - posted on 05/17/2011

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Mary, I agree! Jodi, hell I don't want random strangers praying for me, The thought creeps me out!

Desiree - posted on 05/17/2011

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Just goes to show just how illogical people are wasting money on something that didn't need proof in the first place. the money could have been better used there I do agree whole heartedly.

Gina - posted on 05/17/2011

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I'm with Tracey on this, THIS is what they spent so much money on? Seriously!!! I believe that prayer brings me inner peace,but to heal me, or pray for strangers? Give me a break!

Desiree - posted on 05/17/2011

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Besides prayer doesn't work anyway if it isn't done from the heart.

Jodi - posted on 05/17/2011

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I'm sorry, I am in fits of laughter here, I really am. This is a study of having random strangers pray for these people, being told WHAT to pray for. In fact they weren't even being told to pray for these people at all - just a name and an initial. This has nothing to do with true prayer, or even true "good thoughts". Seriously, what a waste of money.

Desiree - posted on 05/17/2011

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Krista you are right prayer is a form of meditation, it can calm a person down, it can give us hope where science can't give anything but evidence.

No prayer is not an answer but it can be used together with. The human mind is not a logical thing. It can see or hear things that can't necessarily be seen or heard. We love every day its a feeling not proven. The Human species lives on hope, peace and love. Its just the way we are. Faith is just a very small part of us and doesn't need to mean religious. It has no gaurantees and niether does life. I normally tell people in life there are only 2 things I actually have to do 1 is breath and the other is die. Its the only thing in life that is proven it just depends on where, when and how.



EDIT: Sorry my grammer and spelling was disgusting.



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Krista - posted on 05/17/2011

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That makes sense, Mary. I think the difference, though, is that if I send "positive vibes" to a stranger, and this person does not know about it, and I find out that this person has recovered, I'm certainly not going to give my vibes any sort of credit. ;)

Mary - posted on 05/17/2011

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I'm a Catholic nurse...this means that I think, while prayer can be a positive, it is by no means an answer to any of life's problems or challenges in and of itself.

I also don't think of "prayer" as necessarily a restricted to those with religious faith. To me, it is very similar to the non-believer who sends "positive" vibes or "good thoughts" to those in need. A prayer (to me) when someone is ill, is a wish for a positive outcome. Some of us direct it to a particular god, others to the universe at large - same basic intention.

Krista - posted on 05/17/2011

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I just can not believe that anyone would think that having a complete stranger pray for you on the other side of the world would be, in any way shape or form, helpful to healing.

That's exactly it. I think that prayer can be useful to the person doing the praying, because it increases their positive outlook and reduces stress. I see it as very similar to meditation, in that aspect. But I think it's beyond illogical to think that one can affect a stranger's health through prayer.

[deleted account]

It doesn't matter how many times we tell them this, the believers will believe. I'd like it if religious thinking went away but I"m not that hopeful anymore.

Sneaky - posted on 05/17/2011

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2.4 million dollars . . . . to PROVE something that I already logically knew.

Thanks for posting that Loureen. I'm going to go and bang my head against the wall now ;o)

Desiree - posted on 05/17/2011

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I was thinking Oh No Again!! but I am in anyway. Ok so prayer is not proved to heal. So What at least it brings a degree of peace and measurment of hope. And who the hell asked the scientists to take that away from someone who needs it. I have seen that blind faith can create miracles. If we take away hope and faith then what do we have left?

Charlie - posted on 05/17/2011

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Oh whoops I was meant to post the link to the whole article , they actually spent a lot of money on this study .

Sneaky - posted on 05/17/2011

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Um, is this a joke?

I've been taught (in my first year psychology course) that 'faith' is a good coping strategy during times of stress - people who pray and have faith in a bigger purpose have a better out look on life BUT I in no way think that just because you are religious and have a better out look on life and heal from your own heart surgery faster as a result that that would translate into your positive out look on life helping someone else heal from their heart surgery.

Basically, it's blind faith, not magical healing pixie dust!

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