In his book Faith Healing, Louis Rose, a British psychiatrist, investigated hundreds of alleged faith-healing cures. He questioned all correspondents and sought corroborating information from their physicians.
He concludes, “I have been unsuccessful. After nearly 20 years of work I have yet to find one ‘miracle cure’; and without that (or, alternatively, massive statistics which others must provide) I cannot be convinced of the efficacy of what is commonly termed faith healing.”
In 2001, Mayo Clinic researchers studied more than 750 patients for six months after discharge from the hospital coronary care unit. The patients were randomized within 24 hours of discharge into a prayed-for group and a control group. The prayer involved at least one session per week for 26 weeks by five randomly assigned individual or group intercessors. The researchers found no significant effect of intercessory prayer on the medical outcomes.
However, in 1999, William S. Harris, PhD of St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, and his research colleagues published a paper entitled ‘A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effects of Remote Intercessory Prayer on Outcomes of Patients Admitted to the Coronary Care Unit’ in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Harris asked the question: Is there evidence that intercessory prayer improves medical outcomes?
“I would say,” reports Harris in a taped debate, “there is evidence.” After describing the scientific and statistical methodology used in his study, Harris concludes, “We don’t know how this could happen but further research should be done.”