Does Intercessory Prayer work?

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On Wednesday Night, June 5th, we will discuss intercessory prayer. Intercessory prayer is praying for someone besides yourself. Specifically, we will be talking about praying for the healing of someone who is sick.

Does intercessory prayer work? The Bible says that it does. In James 5:14-16 it says “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your faults to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”

Several years ago (2006), a medical study was conducted at the Harvard Medical School by Dr. Herbert Benson. It was supposedly one of the best documented studies on prayer ever attempted. The study was paid for by the John Templeton Foundation which supports research into science & religion. It is still referred to as “the Great Prayer Experiment” or by its technical title the “Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP)”. The study involved 1800 heart bypass surgery patients at 6 hospitals. While Dr. Benson believes personal prayer has positive health benefits, he concluded that there is NO positive effect from the use of 3rd party intercessory prayer on behalf of patients undergoing heart bypass surgery – when compared to a control group who were not prayed for. He also reported that patients who knew they were being prayed for had more medical complications than the group who did NOT know that they were being prayed for.  He had a colleague, Dr. Charles Bethea, who wondered if knowing that the doctors were using prayer teams increased anxiety – i.e. “Am I SO sick that they had to call in a prayer team?”

While most of us have not attended Harvard Medical School, we do have some experience in intercessory prayer. What do you think?

Does Intercessory Prayer for the Sick work?

  • Yes (100%, 17 Votes)
  • No (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Not Sure (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 17

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