Saturday, March 17, 2007

Prayer: Intercessory prayer works, according to study

According to a news brief in Science Daily (March 15, 2007),
David R. Hodge, an assistant professor of social work in the College of Human Services at Arizona State University, conducted a comprehensive analysis of 17 major studies on the effects of intercessory prayer -- or prayer that is offered for the benefit of another person -- among people with psychological or medical problems. He found a positive effect.
"There have been a number of studies on intercessory prayer, or prayer offered for the benefit of another person," said Hodge, a leading expert on spirituality and religion. "Some have found positive results for prayer. Others have found no effect. Conducting a meta-analysis takes into account the entire body of empirical research on intercessory prayer. Using this procedure, we find that prayer offered on behalf of another yields positive results."

Apparently, Hodge's work is featured in the March 2007 edition of Social Work Practice . He doesn't suggest that prayer alone will work in situations such as depression.

Most churches that offer healing prayer find that it provides at least some help for sufferers, especially with chronic conditions. It only rarely reverses the course of serious illnesses.

It would be interesting to relate the power of prayer to phenomena like the quantum Zeno effect.

My other blog is the Post-Darwinist, detailing events of interest in the intelligent design controversy.

Toronto-based Canadian journalist Denyse O'Leary ( is the author of the multiple award-winning By Design or by Chance? (Augsburg Fortress 2004), an overview of the intelligent design controversy, and of Faith@Science. She was named CBA Canada's Recommended Author of the Year in 2005 and is co-author, with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard, of the forthcoming The Spiritual Brain: A neuroscientist's case for the existence of the soul (Harper 2007).

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