There is sufficient scientific evidence pointing to a positive link between prayer and our health. Does this apply to people praying for themselves? Does it apply to people praying for others? Yes and yes. Even experiments with nonhuman subjects showed incredible results.
Studies have shown positive effects on wound healing, high blood pressure, anxiety, heart attacks, mutation rates of bacteria, rates of seed germination, enzyme activity, growth rate of blood cells, reduction in tumor size, and firing time of pacemakers. Rye grass was even shown to grow taller when prayed for!
In a randomized, double-blind study on intercessory prayer, Randolph Byrd, a cardiologist, studied 393 CCU (coronary care unit) patients at San Francisco General Hospital. Though all patients received medical care, some patients were also prayed for by home-prayer groups while others were not. Patients receiving both medical care and prayer showed less likelihood of requiring antibiotics – 3 vs. 16. Pulmonary edema, fluid in the lungs due to the heart’s inability to pump properly, was also less likely – 6 vs. 18.
Whether praying “Thy will be done” or making specific requests, answered prayer was seen. Nothing seemed to block the effects of prayer. Even when separated by a lead-lined room or a cage which shielded all electromagnetic energy, the effects were unhindered. Some physicians noted that people fare better with prayer even if they don’t know people are praying for them. Many doctors believe that praying with their patients enhances the outcome of their care, and they have put this into practice. When people pray for themselves, tests show that the production of stress hormones such as cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine are inhibited.
One pediatric surgeon told of one of his patients who lay dying because of a severe postoperative infection after radical bowel surgery. All treatment modalities had failed. The physician prayed for the one-year-old child that night and heard these words in his mind: “I want you to tell his mother that he will get better.” Though he didn’t really know how to tell her that her dying child would live, he somehow found the words and conveyed the message. The next day, the child took tiny amounts of food and began the long road to a full recovery.
“And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.” (Matthew 4:23 / KJV) Many stories in the Bible connect healing with faith. Though there is no guarantee that every illness or condition will be healed by God during our lifetime, there is no disputing God’s ability to heal. As Christians, we believe that faith and prayer open the door for God to send down His blessings and healing.
In what way has God brought healing to your body through prayer?