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Prayer and Healing  

Does prayer really help in the healing process?

Yes. Evidence exists for the healing power of prayer. In recent years, numerous studies have shown that patients with serious diseases who are prayed for by others actually heal better and faster than those who are not prayed for by others.

The most famous prayer study was conducted by Dr. Randolph Byrd, a cardiologist at the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center. Byrd studied the outcomes of 393 people who had been admitted with a heart attack to the hospital. All of the patients received the same high-tech, state-of-the-art coronary care, but half of the patients also were prayed for, by name, by prayer groups around the country. No one involved with patient care knew who was being prayed for — neither the patients, the doctors, nor the nurses. The prayed-for group was found to use fewer potent medications, to have faster recovery, and to have fewer deaths.

Although we may not be able to quantify it on graph paper, the power of prayer is a very real force. This does not mean that we should assume that prayer alone will keep us from getting sick or make us well. As with other alternative medicine approaches, prayer can help us empower our minds with positive energy and aid in the body’s recovery.

Larry Dossey, author of the book, Prayer is Good Medicine, and one of the foremost experts on the power of prayer observes: “We should understand that prayer does have an impact, but it can't save us from death or guarantee we won't get sick. There's no historical or clinical evidence that this is true. I would say to you, though, don't wait for the results of more double-blind studies to pray. We can stand to have more extraneous prayer in this world of ours.”

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