Prayer as a supplement to, or as a
replacement for, medical treatment
This section discusses the use of prayer -- either instead of, or in addition
to, medical treatment.
There is a definite and provable link between prayer and improved healing
outcomes, if the patient is aware that they are being prayed for. It seems that
religious people who know that they are being prayed for may feel less
stress and have more hope in their recovery.
Many early studies linked prayer with improved healing in cases where
patients were not aware that they were being prayed for. However, close
examination of the data has revealed either fraud or inconclusive results. A
favorite trick by researchers is to conduct on the order of 20 tests, under
conditions in which a positive result will happen due to chance about one time
in 20. Then, they report only those rare studies that show positive results.
These early reviews were helpful in that they triggered larger, more
carefully designed studies Large scale, carefully designed double blind studies
in which the patients are unaware that they are being prayed for have shown that
prayer is ineffective.
This section also describes a related topic related to the health of young
children. Many children have died from diseases that are
easily treated medically because their parents withheld treatment for religious
reasons. As tragic as even one death of a child is, it is important to realize
that deprivation of medical attention contributes little to the total mortality
rate of children. Dozens of children seem to die every year because their parents
withhold medical treatment for religious reasons. But the number of children who
are beaten to death or die of neglect annually in the U.S. is in the thousands. 1
Receive a daily dose of wisdom, humor, inspiration and more.
Beliefnet is a multifaith e-community designed to help you meet your own religious and spiritual needs
-- in an interesting, captivating and engaging way. They are independent and are not affiliated with a particular
religion or spiritual movement.
You can choose from among:
Ten newsletters that deal with "tools for living."
Eight dealing with "religious wisdom" from a variety of faiths.