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Prayer Changes Things
Prayer and its power have come to the public forefront once again with the winning streak of the current quarterback for the Denver Broncos,Tim Tebow. Upon completion of throwing winning passes that seem to come out of nowhere you can see Tebow looking up to the sky giving thanks and then going into a one knee pose reminiscent of the famous sculpture ,The Thinker. Because Tebow has not been shy in his interviews regarding just how his team was able to rise to the occasion and win a game by giving credit, praise and honor to God. The major debate has been whether his prayers have allowed his team to be successful in situations where it appeared that their winning came out of “nowhere”.
There have been various studies to put some statistics conducted over the years to prove that prayer actually works. In 1999, patients in a Missouri intensive care unit recovered faster after prayers were said for them compared with those who did not have prayers said. This study was unique due to its size—nearly 1,000 patients—and neither the patients nor their doctors knew which patients had prayers said for them. A 2001 study published in the Journal of Reproductive Medicine supported intercessory prayer for women who were infertile. In that study, women for whom others prayed became pregnant twice as often as those who were not the recipients of prayer.
Several of the best studies of prayer in recent years have come to the conclusion that it doesn’t work. A 2005 study from researchers at Duke University showed no benefit from distant prayers for patients undergoing high-risk heart procedures. In 2006, perhaps the largest study of intercessory prayer to date showed no benefit of prayer for 1,802 heart bypass surgery patients. The complication rate was actually a bit higher for those who knew others were praying for them.
The value of prayer is not something that scientific study can easily settle. Besides, the results are unlikely to change what people do. Advocates of prayer believe that it will work enough for both the person praying and the person who is ill. At the end of the day, this is about faith, not scientific proof. Skeptics looking for scientific proof would probably not be convinced that prayer works even if studies found that prayer increased survival, speeded recovery or fended off disease. After all, such results would require a distinctly unscientific explanation— unmeasureable energy, supernatural phenomena or a religious explanation.
What people of ALL faiths are likely aware is that the power of prayer resides in the God who is being prayed to. However, there are those who will attest “I prayed and my situation remained unchanged”. The belief is that the prayer was not answered, there was no tangible change or result and therefore creating doubt that prayer works. When some might suggest that “no change” or “not now” are actual answers. The mechanics of prayer remains a mystery and most Americans are said to believe in God and pray regularly. Thus the power of prayer can’t be underestimated.
Ronald Wadley resides in Chicago, IL and is a Contributor to healthyblackmen.org. He has nearly 20 years experience in financial planning and analysis.