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Do Prayer Circles Work Miracles?
Prayer Circles Psychic Sylvia Browne, World-renowned Psychic Sylvia Browne pictures When people join together to pray for others, it is technically called “intercessionary prayers.”  In all cultures, including this one, it has been known for years that groups of people wishing well for a person help them achieve a goal.  Usually, intercessionary prayers are reserved for people who are quite ill, are addicted, or need money. 

There have been some hard studies done about intercessory prayer, but most of them have appeared in what skeptics would call a biased publication:  The Journal of Religion.  A Brandeis sociologist named Wendy Cadge is a Harvard expert on this topic. She has analyzed the results of eighteen studies done about the effectiveness of prayer that were done by various organizations between 1965 and 2005.

According to an article in Brandeis University News on the web, the studies reflected the prayers groups of several religions, including Christian, Jewish, and Buddhist prayers. The problems with these studies, according to Cadge, are that they were a bit “soft” and the control groups were biased. Many of them were based on what happens when a group of family members prays for a sick subject and not real control groups. 

Another problem is that even when it came to conducting double blind clinical trials, it was difficult to figure out what dosage a prayer should be, how they should be offered, and if the person praying actually had to be a believer or subscriber to a certain religion for these prayers to work for him or her.

Additionally, The Sunday New York Times reported in a story by Sam Knight in 2006 that a huge study of 1,800 who were prayed over after heart bypass surgery did not result in cures. In fact, many of the patients who were aware that they were being prayed for experienced a much noticeably higher rate of complications.  This study, which was funded by the John Templeton foundation and cost $2.4 million dollars, took over ten years to conduct.

This study was conducted by the members of three congregations:  the St. Paul’s Monastery in St. Paul; the Community of Tersian Carmelites in Worcester, and the Massachusetts and Silent Unity that is a Missouri prayer minister near Kansas City. These congregations were subdivided into more groups: those who were told they were being prayed for, those who would receive prayers but did not know, and those that would not be prayed for at all.

The worshippers always prayed for the patients by name the night before the surgery and for the two weeks following the surgery and asked God to "grant a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications."




The result was that fifty-two per cent of patients in both groups suffered complications after surgery, but 50 percent of those who knew they were being prayed for went on to develop complications. 

Religious and philosophical experts will always say that this study failed simply because prayer is not a self-conscious process. You know how they watched pot never boils. The same is apparently is true with prayer. It is a cosmic law.

The prayers might have made the patients that knew about it even sicker because it caused anxiety. Another theory is that “what we resist persists.” Yet another theory is that prayers have no power and that God just intervenes when he feels like it. It is not spiritually correct for us to think that we somehow control God with anything that we might attempt.

There are also no real studies that prove undeniably that the power of prayer or positive thought can affect the outcome of things. However, if you are really curious about this topic and want to investigate the Cluster Effect, which is about the effect of prayer on how water crystals form, you should watch a movie called “What the Bleep Do We Know.”  Like the movie and the book “The Secret” it is all about manifesting a more positive outcome to situations.

An excellent book written about this subject is Wishing Well: Making Your Every Wish Come True by Paul Pearsall which discusses such concepts as praying, positive thinking, accessing your higher power and willing things to happen. He calls prayer “a sixth sense suggestion” that can somehow can reach our intended beneficiary. 

However, even though praying for others can result in joy, altruism, forgiveness and healing, Pearsall says that prayer can have negative results if we end up praying for the wrong thing. For instance, if we are praying that a victim of AIDS have a stronger immune system we might be, out of ignorance, praying for the wrong thing simply because it is a disease that is caused by an immune system that was too strong.  If a prayer is not a delicate echo that can resound through the universe and spiritually polite in nature it is not likely to be answer; in fact we might even hex the situation by being too pushy about it.

People who object to praying to God to change the outcome of a situation also argue with it simply because if it is God’s Will for something to happen the you should just accept it. To conduct an intercessionary prayer may in fact be a way of battling of God and objecting to his divine plan for our well being.

One of the latest trends in praying for the ill is to pray while fasting. This is an ancient technique that is being revived in contemporary church groups thanks to a book by Ronnie W. Floyd called “The Power of Prayer and Fasting.” It is the technique for getting a “wish granted” that is recommended in the Bible.

On the other side of the coin, it is even hard for skeptics to dismiss the fact that prayer can be useful. There are millions of anecdotes throughout history that tell us that this is true. At the very least, it serves to comfort the person praying if not the actual person that is being prayed over.






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Comments

By Eppi, Friday, April 11, 2014 04:57:43 AM
How will you make it on your own? This world is awfully big, girl this time you're all alone. But it's time you started living, it's time you let someone else do some giving. Love is all around no need to waste it. You can have the town why don't you take it? You might just make it after all... You might just make it after all.
By Michelle, Tuesday, April 19, 2011 02:34:34 PM
Prayer works! Often people unknowingly undo their prayers by continuing to pray for the same things over and over again.....which means that the person that is praying didn't believe that the prayer was fulfilled or answered in the first place. This sets up the undoing of the prayer. When praying, visualize the prayer being answered and send gratitude for it. Only pray once for any given thing you need in prayer....this way you have a much better chance of your need being granted. Love and light, Michelle
By Dorothy, Tuesday, April 19, 2011 11:11:07 AM
If a person is supposed to return to good health, I believe a prayer circle will facilitate the return. If a person's time on earth is finished, the prayer circle will facilitate a welcome return to Spirit. Either way the person is all right. Dorothy
By Cynthia, Tuesday, April 19, 2011 10:36:30 AM
I have a master's degree based in research but have some concerns about this author's interpretation about the information used for this article. For one thing, there is no such word as "intercessionary." The closest word I can think of that might work for its replacement in this article would be "intercessory," which means, "the act of interceding or offering a prayer of petition to God on behalf of others." Just so readers know, not everyone who has an advanced university degree has the qualifications to be a researcher. My Master's degree was based entirely on research and my degree is in Communication. When you are learning something new, you always want to find as many respected sources of information as you can – not knowledge just from one study, one book or one author. And if you have a college or university library close to you, go there and ask a librarian to help you find what you're looking for. Many times you do not have to be a past or current student to use that library. It was interesting to read this article, as some quantum physicists say when the word "no" (see it's reference in this article) is used in a prayer or a “manifest” it is replaced by the universe as the word "know," which could be why the prayer offered by the groups in the studies were using wasn't more successful. Personally, I have found that God does listens exquisitely, but I speak to him/her directly and not through a group. Blessing to you all!
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