Years ago, someone did some 'care'-ful scientific research on prayer.
Milton A. Drake, Jr., M.D., wrote a summary of the study, Positive Therapeutic Effects on Intercessory Prayer in a Coronary Care Unit Population. It was presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association in November of 1964.
There were two groups of about 200 in this research program. One was prayed for by a prayer team outside the hospital. The prayers had the names and diagnosis of selected cardiac care patients. The other group was not prayed for by this team. None knew whether or not they were being interceded for in prayer in this special way.
The investigators who later studied the patient's case histories were not aware which ones had been prayed for. They merely scrutinized the medical records of all, looking for those with the best response to treatment, the fewest complications. Statistical comparison showed there was no significant difference between the two groups to begin with, at the time of admission to the cardiac care unit. That is, one set of patients was not more ill than the other.
At the end, however, those receiving intercessory prayer had a better recovery rate, with fewer problems:
Pulmonary edema (accumulation of fluids)
- only 6 vs. 18 in the no-prayer group
Needing intubation (tubes inserted)
- none (0) vs. 12 in the no-prayer group
- only 3 vs. 16 in the no-prayer group
The final sentence of the research summary is a typically cautious scientific assessment: "In conclusion, intercessory prayer appears to have a beneficial effect in patients in a cardiac care unit."
A careful study like this one is a terrific boost for all of us! When we think there is nothing we can do to help, we are always wrong. There is enormous value in intercessory prayer.