Friday, April 06, 2007
Remembering a miracle
My husband's best friend, Hans, was supposed to be in our wedding. But three weeks before the ceremony, Hans learned he had testicular cancer. He was 38. The prognosis wasn't good. The cancer had spread to his lungs, part of his stomach and his liver. We visited Hans a few days before we left on our honeymoon. He looked awful, and we were not optimistic that he would be alive when we returned. In a cold and dingy hospital room, we bowed our heads and prayed for our friend. The doctor who was treating Hans came into the room too, and the three of us held hands and prayed together.

By the time we got back from our honeymoon he was sitting up in bed. Six weeks later he would walk out of that hospital, minus part of his lung, and he would live way beyond the number of years the doctors had given him. I believe it was a miracle. Now, I have another friend who is a Harvard-educated scientist who will tell you that no miracle took place. He's an atheist and believes that everything that happens can be explained scientifically. He would say that God didn't save Hans, but rather, the doctors did. In many ways I can't argue. Hans was treated with a cutting-edge vaccine designed to fight testicular cancer, much like Lance Armstrong's treatment. But there was something in that room the night we prayed that makes me believe it was more than just a vaccine that kept Hans alive. I believe prayer, hope and faith had an awful lot to do with his healing.

Plenty of studies have been done on the effects of prayer. A good many have found that those with faith tend to be healthier. But other studies have found no such effect. Researchers at Duke University, in one of the largest studies ever conducted on prayer and healing, found no difference in the recovery of heart patients who had prayer, compared with those who didn't And regardless of religion - Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish or Christian - their outcome was about the same.

Around this time of Easter, I often think of our friend Hans. I will always remember him as a man who taught me an awful lot about prayer and healing. I feel when fighting an illness, you have to believe something or someone will help you through it. For Hans I think it was his strong will to live, and his beliefs. For my friend from Harvard, who has fought clinical depression most of his life, it's the medicine he takes every day. But I will never forget that day in that hospital, when three people joined to ask for help from a higher power. I believe prayer works.

What do you you think prayer helps heal the sick?
I most certainly believe that prayer and faith help in the healing process. Along with positive thoughts and a positive attitude miracles can happen. With god all things are possible.
I said it in a blog from the other day, positive thinking helps you heal. You have to have faith!

Happy Easter Everyone!
I am a scientist at heart without a doubt. I am also a Christian. Personally I feel that medicine is God working through man, but that's because I believe in God.

I honestly cannot look at the structure of an atom, or the chemical makeup of a substance, without saying, "Wow, God is so cool." The guy next to me says, "Evolution is so cool!" I just nod and say, hey, you believe your way and I'll believe mine....
I know it does. I was born with a syndrome, and the doctors believed I wouldn't walk for a long time, but then out of no where, I began to walk. Given it was about two years after I was supposed to, but I believe God had intervend and given me strength to be able to walk. He's given me strength to overcome a many things, so DEFINANTLY prayer heals! Both emotional and physical hurt, you just gotta believe!
Prayer no more helps heal than meditation, and certainly not through the intervention of the Christian God.
Of course, miracles are real and God does heal. I am a walking, talking example of this. I was "dead" for almost two years with a horribly painful condition called trigeminal neuralgia. Today, I can say that I am painkiller-free and almost pain free. My husband and I detoxed me off of morphine beginning the 26th of this month. After going to hell and back, all I could do in the throws of detox was reach out to Jesus and pray for Him and the Holy Spirit to come to me and hold me. This is the only thing that got me through detox. We had 120 pills of methadone in the medicine cabinet. I could have reached for the worldly cure to my pain...but chose to turn my faith on and turn to Jesus for my healing. I don't believe that this is a coincidence that this happened over Passover and Good Friday. As I sit here typing, on my birthday, I cannot deny that Jesus Christ's hand on me is directly responsible for my rebirth into the land of the living. This is the best birthday gift I've ever received.

Yes, some doctors are used by God. God does work through the skilled hands and creative minds of some doctors; using the GIFTS He has given them to help heal the sick. When that fails, FAITH is the only answer.

God can use ANYONE to perform a miracle through with whatever spiritual gifts He endows them with - for the moment or as long as they walk this earth. It is up to us to make the CHOICE to be used by God.

Some things that Jesus has promised to us:

"Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteoutness: by whose stripes ye were healed." 1 Peter 2:24

"Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven." Matthew 18:19

And, sorry to say, many in this world will go through life with unopened eyes.

"And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another comforter to be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him or knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you." John 14:16-17

The true miracle is the relationship between yourself and Jesus. If you submit to this and seek His presence, ANYTHING is possible.
yes definitely god that had blessed him to be prolonged, raised in chritian family all my life ,, i have seen the works of the lord, i would not be here today if it wasnt for the grace of our precious lord!!
Research needs to examine the extent to which any associations between religiosity or prayer and health may be confounded by hopelessness and depression. People who are depressed or hopeless are less likely to behave in ways that promote health and recovery from illness. People who feel depressed and hopeless are probably also likely to pray less. The simplest explanation for any correlation between prayer and health is not that prayer causes health, but that severe health problems cause depression, which then leads to less praying, or that preexisting depression and hopelessness undermine both health and prayer.
Believe in prayer and you cannot lose, whatever the outcome.
I don't think someone will get better just because others asked a favor of God. I'm tired of hearing all the gushing feel-good stories of how 'God answered our prayers' and saved someones life. It's easy to brag about the power of your prayer WHEN THE PERSON LIVES.
Talk to all the people who prayed and yet their loved one still died. I'm sure they would have a different view of the effectiveness of prayer.
It would have been a miracle if Hans�s cancer literally disappeared overnight. It did not. Worse still, Hans died. Clearly, no miracle occurred. If people believe that prayers heal, why do they bother going to see doctors? This is truly hypocrite.
Prayer has a placebo effect at best. Every study I have seen about prayer healing people has shown prayer to be worthless. One study actually showed the people who had been prayed for and knew they were being prayed for had a lower survival rate than all other patients in the study (this study was featured on about a year ago). If someone says that prayer healed someone who is receiving treatment for a disease that, with treatment, has a survival rate of 70%-95%depending on the stage(according to the National Institute of Health)then they can go ahead but that opinion should be disregarded off-hand. Such a claim is selfish because those people are claiming that their actions saved their friend when really it was the caring doctors and researchers who spent an obscence amount of time in the classroom and laboratory finding ways to help people survive horrible diseases. If prayer is so miraculous why doesn't it heal amputees?

P.S. Why did the writer mention the Harvard doctor had clinical depression? Using an ad hominem attack to discredit the doctor is a logical fallacy, but it is of no consequence because the conclusion reached in this article has no factual basis to begin with.
Yes, I believe. I prayed ever day for 2 1/2 years to St. Jude when my sister got lung cancer. She outlived the doctors expectations by 2 years.
Personally, I do believe that prayer works as I have had many events in life that cannot be explained any other way. However, I ultimately believe that for people who have faith in prayer, the value of believing in it is what ultimately helps.
absolutley without a doubt,,prayer helps..i had a bad stomach infection a few years ago..i thought i was about to die.. I had not eaten well in over a week..nothing would stay down.. I decided it was time to get saved,,so i called my pastor and he came over and we held hands and i was saved that day.. In the blink of an eye,,i got so hungry i could eat a horse!! It was a miracle i tell you.. My stomach healed and i had such a feeling of well being it is hard to describe. PRAY!!! God listens...
I believe prayer works only if the person that is being prayed for receives it and has FAITH.
I think the article is too defective to be taken seriously. The writer (deliberately) omits to say what was the medical prognosis for survival and how long Hans actually did survive. It is as if God can intervene but only to a limited extent...He isn't capable of fully healing - just a little bit.
My Mother had breast cancer and a mastectomy 24 years ago. At that point in time, they didn't chose to do radiation or chemo. We prayed and Mother had faith that she would be healed. She has never had another reoccurance.

I had a daughter born with 3 major heart defects in 1985. Dispite my faith and prayers, she passed away after an extensive surgery in 1988.

My Mother-in-law, who lives with us, was diagnosed with lung cancer and given 6 mths to live. She underwent radiation therapy, but refused to accept their time limit. She had faith and told everyone not to worry, that she had angels to make for the old people (shut ins) in our church. She will be 88 in July and God has bless her with a "cancer free" life for all these years.

God does answer prayer and honors our faith according to his will for our lives. It is a mystery.
Yes, I believe in the healing power of faith. Be that faith expressed in prayer or the positive thinking that results from believing, faith in God�s love and mercy can result in the miraculous grace of healing. Sometimes that healing becomes a physical healing, other times it becomes a psychological or spiritual healing, a means of achieving inner peace. And there is nothing in this faith belief to exclude the intercession of medicinal science. Yes, the doctors and their medicines helped to heal your friend Hans and extend his life here on Earth. Why wouldn�t have God used modern medical science as an instrument in His healing powers? God used the power of the Big Bang to create the heavens and our planet. Science may give us the words to explain it, perhaps even to better understand it; but only God gave it its Creation. God used the elements of life on this planet for the evolution of plant and animal life. Theories of evolution may help to explain it; but only God created it. Why wouldn�t God have used the elements of His Creation to perform his miracles? Only by the miracle of God�s grace did the human species evolve out of the animal kingdom. Only by God�s grace did human intelligence discover the wonders of this living planet. What humans discovered is what God created. It is clear for those who believe that scientific knowledge evolved over generations as a gift of God�s grace to mankind. There is no contradiction in the power of scientific knowledge being an instrument in the expression of God�s healing power. The power of medical science does not preclude a miracle. Not everyone whom doctors treat achieve the same healing results. If you atheist doctor had been correct, then wouldn�t the same medical treatment result in the same effects for everyone? What made the difference in this case? That God chose to use the power of medical science as an instrument in the miracle of his healing power.
Years ago, I served in the British Merchant Navy. On one trip sailing from Southampton, I caught a bad cold which became pneumonia. My tempreture hit 103 degrees and I was having trouble breathing. I was placed in the Isolation Ward, which on a cargo ship is at the stern end of the ship. No Intercom or Phone. On the night of the 3rd day, I knew I was on the razors edge of life and death.
Just before 2.00am, I prayed to God. I remember that prayer to this day. " Please God, I know your time is precious but I really need some one to talk with, it's a simple request and I really need your help, Amen". That was it. A few minutes later, there was a knock on the door, and a young fellow walked in. He said," I thought you may like to talk for a while". At that time of night, only two men are awake who are not on duty. This one was from the Engine Crew, whom I had never met.
We spoke for a while, I even had a cigerette. When he left I was able to fall asleep. The nex day, we landed in Las Palmas where I was taken to the Victoria Hospital for Seaman.
They sent a wire to my mother," Your son is at our hospital, condition serious. Not expected to see through the night." I actually felt fine and was unaware of the wire. Days later, after living in an oxygen tent, I was up and about.
I have had numerous occasions when my life was saved. I know prayer works.
Yes, I believe that prayer and attitude (really believing) may help to guide the physicians in their treatment of patients. There is also help in laying on of hands by either clergy or friends to help in the healing. Praying quietly in the spirit is a lovely gift for the invalid.
This blog seems to have been written at a very appropriate time, both for me and for my family members, because my aunt has just been diagnosed with aggressive liver cancer. The cancer has spread to her spine, abdomen, lymph nodes, and other parts of her body, and the diagnosis is intimidating. She is one of 14 wonderful and close children, all of whom are still alive, and all of whom have turned to prayer with the rest of her family.

Being part of a large Catholic family, particularly during this hopeful Easter season, our faith is something we turn to often for strength. Rather than choosing back down and accept her cancer, my aunt has resolved to fight with every ounce of the wonderful and vivacious spirit she has, and she knows that our support is constantly with her in the form of prayer. Yes, she is being treated by some of the very best doctors at the Mayo clinic, but I belive strongly, along with my family members, that our prayers will help her go the extra mile. We too are praying for a miracle much like the one that saw Hans through his cancer, and we have no choice but to know and believe that God is listening.
I think it's a terrible shame we live in a society that is so removed from the Spiritual aspect of healing. Still there are many of us who are believers & often turn to God (or whatever one calls him/her) - very often.
Yes, I believe in prayer before I believe in medicine. Jesus bore our infirmities and sickness on that cross. You can't put your faith in man because what God can do no doctor can. When the doctor says no, can says yes.
Prayer and religion may be healthy outlets to deal with the grief and psychological hardships that come with illness, but in no way do I think they help with physical recovery. I do not believe in a god or "higher power", but to each his own.

First, let me say that I'm happy your friend walked out of the hospital. EVERYONE should be �given� that chance!

In that your friend walked out was considered as a �miracle�, I feel that we, all, too often, take doctors� statements of as "fact". I also think that it is important to understand statements such as "life expectancies" are generally "statistics" based on �past patients of similar situations� and should NOT be taken as "fact� for another�s specific situation.

Your question: �Does prayer help heel the sick?� I strongly feel the person, �who is being prayed for�, must posses the �will� to �want change� in their particular situation. All others who pray have no effect either way I. e. (�positive� OR �negative�, respectively). The result of others praying and the result turning out �positive� IS ONLY coincidental at best.
No, prayer does nothing. Stop blaming modern medicine as some influence by some invisible God. How can you seriously think this?
Superstition never has and never will be a substitute for medical science.

The man recovered because he had access to modern treatment. How can people still think that prayer is effective when it has been shown negligible in two studies? Does one thing that child mortality rates in the 18th century were affected by the prayers of the religious, who were a greater proportion of the population back then? Of course not. Science developed sanitary food preparation and penicillin which later dropped the rates to next to nill.

The emotional appeals on these blogs are staggering and mind-numbing.

And evolution is proven by facts. It's supported by fossil evidence and the study of genetics. But Faith is about feeling good without the evidence to prove one's point of view.

Science can help people. Positive thinking might help them feel better. So why go for superstitious nonsense instead of understanding how medicine works?
Regardless of beliefs, the human brain is a very powerful tool in affecting the rest of the body. Whether it was God or biology, the simple fact that you BELIEVE is what makes the difference.

I am a non-believer in God but I know that if I did, it would only have a beneficial influence on my health and mental well-being. I can't force myself to believe in something that I don't, so I'll just have to do the best I can.

I envy those with faith.
No, I don't believe in the power of prayer. I don't think it's silly, because it obviously comforts a good number of people... but at the same time, I have to look at the evidence from studies that have shown there is no effect.

Honestly I feel bad for the doctors and health care professionals who get shot down every time someone attributes a medical recovery to God, instead of to science. If God wanted that person to recover, why go to the hospital at all?
The question is not does prayer work, but why does it work. As a Christian, I have my own set of beliefs. However, if you want a scientific opinion, then the consensus is STILL yes; prayer does work. When people have faith in an outcome, whether good or bad, the outcome is far more likely to occur. This is an actual psychological phenomenon. Participants in medical studies heal themselves with their will-power and *often religious* faith, even when only treated with a placebo! Is there any evidence against the power of prayer? If there is, show me, and show the Harvard Professor.
Here's to you Mr Harvard scientist who will you call when he's near death?
Iam sure it will be GOD
Pray works !!!!
A recent Doppler ultrasound test conducted on 10/19/2006 provides concrete empirical proof defining hemodynamic variations in the blood flow and supply through the vertebral arteries to the base of the brain occurring during a meditative prayer state. This same biological mechanism is not only derived from the process of prayer, but is also responsible for the so-called "miracles" related to spontaneous recovery from severe or terminal health conditions. I can supply these tests results (recorded on a dvd as well) from the Yuba City Advanced Imaging Center upon request. This discovery unlocks one of the oldest and most profound mysteries of medicine contemplated by Aesculapius and Galen.
Yes, I believe that prayer and true faith in God does work miracles I am living proof.
I believe prayer is the most powerful healing tool. I have seen its works many times and I believe this is a way that God encourages us to see how wonderful his miracles are. I have seen many instances of incredible healing and I attribute it to prayer.
I'm a student at a Baptist Bible College and I can testify that prayer truly works and God hears as He promises in His Word. What I also believe is that the Lord wants a personal relationship with each person and that comes only through faith that Christ died and rose again for us. I've seen so many prayers answered...small and big...God is truly so good.
1 Peter 2:24 States it all!!! Prayer is what it takes. Yes, medicine does help. God gave man the knowledge of medicine to help, but prayer is a sure fire for those of faith & believing in Jesus.
I just wrote an answere and forgot to add my name and address.So I will sate my position again in medicine ther is no room for faith yes you can believe in getting better and have hope that way but that A God will take the desiase away that is pure hog wash and any physician that subscribes to that kind of medicine should be disbared.
In reflecting on this question, it strikes me that the advancement of the human condition has had more to do with science than it has ever had to do with faith or God. While now over a century of medical research has brought about treatments that help cancer and AIDS patients survive decades longer than they once could be expected to, faith has merely prescribed prayer with null effects. My question is, if prayer and faith in God are so powerful, why use medicine at all? Why buy into the idea that medical science has anything to offer. Why not put all faith in God, and allow him or her to heal you? Some could argue that medicine is God working through humans. But why would the almighty not skip the middle man? Just to stroke the egos of mere humans, so that we feel wise, and powerful ourselves?

"Positive thinking" is important in the treatment of medical illness, as demonstrated by innumerable studies. Faith that the treatment you are undergoing can work is alwo important. We have long since moved away from a Cartesian dualism, and (most) embrace the wisdom of the "mid-body connection." However, positive thinking and faith in one's treatment is not faith in God. Some would argue, and very reasonably so, that medical science is far from perfect, and that doctors and surgeons make mistakes all the time. Perhaps this argument could be extended to suggest that we should therefore not put our faith in such a mistake prone system of care, but rather a "higher" power. However, if God is so powerful that he or she can cure medical illness when you pray to him or her, why not just cure it to begin with? Why not just prevent it in the first place? If God is so "cool", as one commenter remarked (citing the structure of an atom as evidence), what went wrong with the master plan (read: "intelligent" design) that resulted in humans having to do all these things to correct it? Medical doctors have bad days and make mistakes, but, because prayer does not work all the time, I guess the evidence suggests that God does too.

My question: If you do believe in the curative and healing value of prayer, at what point would you be willing to suspend belief that prayer could heal you, and put your faith in empirical medical science?
yeah, but is it really "faith", or is it some other etraordinary,unimaginable doings of the connected energy beings of this existence contain unkowingly that we simply cannot comprehend? Labels suck..
I do believe that when you pray that you can be healed. The prayer of faith shall save the sick.No matter what faith or belief you have healings do happen.Sometimes these healings cannot be explained by medical science, so we must look to the realization that we had faith said a prayer and we were healed.I have had many Drs and nurses pray with me and it does help. Prayers sure can't hurt you.
Diagnosed with Lymphomia and having seven (7) tumors in my neck -- the largest one the size of half a grapefruit, I was given two (2) months to live...max. "We'll do the best we can," the doctor said. "But don't expect a miracle...Having received myriads of prayers from well-wishers plus receiving radiation, chemo then surgery, I'm still alive...over seven years later. I've no doubt that constant prayers from loved ones plus God working His magic through medicine, is the reason I'm still alive....
Russ Lee, Albemarle, N.C.
Yes, I believe prayer can heal us of cancer. Of course, we have to believe God will heal us.
Prayer works!! I'm seen the laws of science "bend" and doctors unable to explain why. Pay attention to the research experiments that talk of statistical averages. Remember in statistics, erroneous variables, aka "miracles" would be thrown out if it does not conform to the normal bell curve.

P.S. Its easy to not believe, and cast doubt on God when you think your health is good and your days are long, but ask the Chaplins on the battlefields who speak the word of truth to our troops and allied forces. They pack the tents and stand outside just to hear the truth. The question is: Would you recognize the truth when you hear it?
My husband Richard Boettiger had cancer in 1974, Dr. Ull of Heidelberg, Germany said he had 6 months to live. He had 28 x Rays, took out a testical as large as a grapefruit sent to 3 labs, came back , fastest growing lymph node cancer, He got down to 120 lbs. body smelled, no energy. Prayed over. People and friends all over the world prayed. He was totally healed- Mt. 10:1 in the Bible says, he healed all manner of diseases. We went back to Heidelburg, Germany hospital in 1978, they found no trace of cancer,
Thanks to God who is alive ! He is now 67 and has never been sick since then. We have 4 children, 8 grandchildren and a 44 year marriage, and we are still on our honey moon!!!!
Mrs. Boettiger
Mere popularity of a delusion does not validate it. It's tragic that so many of our children have been, and are, schooled in mysticism and so few in critical thinking. Sadly, religion continues to compromise our science, our government and our thought.
Here are the facts:
- Numerous studies showed no indications that prayers help.
- A positive thinking (i.e. believing that you will be healed) does help. It is called the placebo factor.
- There is no correlation between high religiosity and long life expectancy. The opposite is true as a matter of fact (third world countries have the most religious people and these people have a life expectancy that is much shorter that what is found in first world countries).
- There is a very strong correlation between long life expectancy and top notch medical science.
- People thank God for being well and blame their doctor for being sick. How unfair is that?
- If you are still not convinced, please answer this: How many amputees are you aware of had their lost limb grow back?
My daughter was just healed yesterday from the result of prayer - with no doctor around. :)
I have been healed of heart trouble many in my church claim compleat healings of incurable things. I am now fighting cancer and expecting my miricle. Jesus said it I believe it and that finish it By his stripes I am healed.
I believe that prayer helps your mental health and coping with an illness. And that can only be good for your physical well-being. Also knowing people are cheering you on is good. I believe attitude helps a lot in healing. What a beautiful story!
Prayer had never saved anyone I knew.
Man is superior than animal when it comes to intellect...but I noticed that not all men were able to reach his place in history bacause of believing something that are not there, he goes on because he have faith in his heart, able to achieved great things such as good invention, disovering good drugs, discovering places like America and so on etc...

My 3 year old son was on life support 9 months ago. The doctors did not have much hope he would pull through. 96% of his body was cancerous including a tumor in his chest(blood cancer). He was coming in and out of consciousness fighting the restraints he was in and trying to pull out his breathing tube.I prayed God's healing words over him and you could see the peace that immediately took over his spirit. I knew God healed him at that moment. I know God healed my child. He is cancer free and doing wonderful today!
Prayer, or Dhyan as we say in Sanskrit or Zen as they say in Japan certainly takes your mind away from worldly distress towards the Supreme Being with a shape or without any shape. Our religion HInduism recognised an Almighty without any shape or restrictive dimensions.SO GO ON PRAY AND WITH HOPE OF RELIEF AND PEACE.
thank-god we are allowed to live where those of us that do believe in god's healing grace, can share our stories and not condemn those that don't, if you have had god touch your life you know it.. and no amount of someone's scorn will take that away, just pray for the rest.. and keep on believing..
I believe that prayer does heal. A person who believes in God and therefore prays (communication of the soul with God) experiences a happier and healthier life.

I would suggest you see a psychiatrist! I am fed up with religous nonsense masquarading a 'miracle'. It never ceases to amaze me when people pray before surgery and then say God guided the hand of the surgeon etc ad nauseam. Give credit where it belongs - to the skill of the doctor. My wife died of brain cancer 8 months after diagnosis so I know of what I speak!
No, there is no intervention of a higher being, the results one sees from praying are due to positive thinking and good old 21st century medicine. Really, people, step out of the 12th century and overcome these antiquated superstitions! How are we supposed to evolve? Oh, wait, we aren't. We have to wait around for God to do that for us, right?
It is stated in the Book of James that you anoint yourself with the oil of our people (olive oil) and ask in the name of Jesus Christ to Father for a healing.
god is real good at healing cancer, but why does he hate amputees?
This is in the medical blog? Please keep this superstitious nonsense to yourself. This is not medicine. It is not news. It's a fairy tale.
Oh Yes, and mental illness is actually demons like it says in the bible...


Does no-one see the asymetry? If he cures you, he also GIVES it to you first.
Scores of people prayed for many people I have known who were sick, and they all died anyway.

Why don't you pray for the regrowth of someone's amputated limb, or someone's missing kidney?

That won't work, either. Prayer is superstition. But if it makes you feel better, go for it.
How many amputees have been healed by prayer?

Wishful thinking is just that.
I'm absolutely confused by Dr. Gupta's attitude. He cites a large study that show prayer has no effect, mentions a few smaller studies some of which show a benefit, some of which don't. The conclusion to be drawn from this is that smaller studies show minor statistical fluctuations, some in one way, some in the other, which can be expected with a small sample size and that a larger study, or an average of smaller studies, shows no effect. The result is solid, complete, iron-clad data that shows there is no medically significant effect from prayer. Yet, Dr. Gupta concludes "I believe prayer works."

Let me ask Dr. Gupta this: would you prescribe a medication which large studies had shown to be worthless?

Certainly, for someone who practices a religion, prayer in times of difficulty can give them a sense of comfort. But, can it alter a medical outcome? The data says no. So, I wouldn't recommend that people don't pray. If it's one of their cultural practices, by all means, do it. But I wouldn't conclude that "prayer works". That's an absurd and illogical conclusion.

Much better to conclude that prayer helps some people, those who are already in the habit of prayer, feel somewhat better about what happens, whichever way it may go. In other words, it's a coping strategy for some people. But, the data clearly shows that it doesn't work as a medical treatment.

Dr. Gupta needs to have his head examined if he concludes, from the studies he cites, that prayer works as a medical treatment.
A nephew was born with transposition of the greater vessels and other complications. His condition rapidly worsened and the family gathered and prayed. We were told that only 10% of infants in his condition survived. He pulled through and now lives a normal life. Did the prayers work? If one believes it was God that healed him, then one must also believe that God willfully kills the other 90% of children in that condition. If you believe that God healed him in 1995, then you must believe that God willfully killed all of those children in 1895. In other words, you must leave your common sense at the door. If any answer to a prayer is the right answer, then you'll do as well praying to a watermelon as praying to God.

Not true, if your belief gets in the way of getting yourself proper medical attention. Of course, adults are free to decide to risk their own health. But what about the health of their children?

Children's Healthcare Is a Legal Duty (CHILD, Inc.) is a non-profit national membership organization established in 1983 to protect children from abusive religious and cultural practices, especially religion-based medical neglect. CHILD opposes religious exemptions from duties of care for children. CHILD is a member of the National Child Abuse Coalition.
Let me get this right. Your friend gets diagnosed with late stage testicular cancer. Testicular cancer has one of the highest survival rates so long as you know what is going on down below and catch it early. He gets state of the art care and survives the doctors conservative estimates (nobody gets pissed when you lowball the value and they live longer, so it is best to give them lower value). Then dies.

This is a miracle?

Let me ask you a question, what would the lack of this miracle have looked like. He would have died to his cancer at an accelerated rate? The cancer would have been less painful? You would have had to cancel your honeymoon rather than jet away ignoring your husband's friend?

Would it not have been better to pray that your friends don't get cancer? Would it be better to pray that cancer not exist? Would it be better to pray that he had detected the cancer earlier?

Despite large studies which show that prayer does not work, you choose to conclude that it does because your friend died? -- Couldn't your friend have died of cancer without the prayer?
How come god gets credit for healing but never the blame for the illness?

Just because some believes the prayers worked, doesn't mean they did. There is no evidence it does. In fact some studies have shown patients with devout faith in a god have poorer survival rates from surgery.

Maybe that imaginary paradise in the sky is just too appealing for some.
OK all you believers, if God is such a great miracle worker how come no amputee has ever grown back a leg or an arm, God has plenty to work with, especially after the Iraq war.
You never hear of a miracle that is physically impossible. Why not?
Thnink about this - there are going to be many unexpencted recoveries and deaths - that is nature. if you give credit for every unexpected recovery to God, and every unexpeceted death gets forgotten, you may well believe but only by ingnoring half the evidence. Of course wishful thinking no doubt plays a role
I have no confidence that prayer ever helped heal anyone. A positive attitude has a much greater effect than any mumbling to sky fairies. That said, cutting edge medical treatment is the deciding factor to how well you do.
Its heart-warming to think that sincere prayers had an effect, it relieves our feelings of helplessness, but how can we possibly claim that the prayers were answered ? In particular, could we read anectdotes from all the people who prayed but did NOT achieve a miraculous outcome ?

The Templeton Foundation study of prayer in healing (for eg) showed that prayer had no effect. This was a reasonably well-conducted, double-blind study, rather more reliable than the fuzzy 'Im sure it worked' feeling.
I certainly hope that CNN's viewers have the remaining intelligence to see and understand that the cause and effect relationship in this supposed miracle simply don't exist. Christians, muslims and atheists alike remit diseases at much the same frequency and one anecdote of this remission does not a miracle make. It's frightening to believe that a modern medical practitioner would espouse this type of superstition (in contradiction of the very evidence he cites) and I can only hope that I am never in a situation to place my life in the hands of a doctor or surgeon with these beliefs.

I propose a simple logical exercise of the premise here: one that is not original. If a supreme deity is curing diseases and injuries, where are the anecdotes of amputees being miraculously cured? Does this deity hate amputees?

Let's see some evidence of happenings that would be contrary to those that would be expected to occur in a world devoid of supernatural influence and then we can have this discussion. As it is, these and nearly all other events we experience can and are explained by the physics, biology and chemistry of the world that science currently understands. We no longer live in dark ages where the unknown or as yet unexplained must equal supernatural provenance.

We need much better candles against the darkness than the example provided by this story.
As a physician, I get very concerned when so-called experts on health confuse the public with anecdotal stories like these. Like many people already mentioned, millions of other patients pray to god and don't improve. Does god only have time to answer a few prayers? Where is the credit for the physicians and researchers who came up with the advanced treatments?
Man gets state-of-the-art "cutting edge" medical treatment, walks out of hospital after looking like walking Death. But you put it all down to the efficacy of prayer... because you "really felt something in that room that night".

Man, incidentally, dies ANYWAY.

You just stomped all over the reputations and hard work of all the doctors and pharmacologists.

Not to mention God clearly wanted dear old Hans to die anyway. But that's okay, because it gives you a warm fuzzy happy thought to think about.

In spite of the fact that you should've learned one thing from the "man who taught you an awful lot about prayer and healing": that quite clearly and according to the story you've told, "prayer and healing" DON'T QUITE SEEM TO WORK.

You decided to throw in the fact that your atheist "friend" is fighting clinical depression. Wow. Good thing I'm never going to be your friend.

... and you DARE to call yourself a producer on a MEDICAL show on one of America's LESS contemptible networks?

You're not a doctor, you're not even a journalist. And good thing too, because you'd bring shame upon both those professions. Amazing. I hope the man whose show you're producing demands you get a transfer to some laughable propaganda network like Fox.

If you're so convinced that Prayer is more efficient than medical research and treatment, I expect you to never again visit a doctor or a pharmacist. Next time you're sick, we'll expect you at the nearest church altar. If your illness is terminal, please bring a large plastic bag with you out of consideration to the church for disposal of remains.

No wonder your country's Global reputation is sinking faster and further down the S-bend. You're a discredit to the journalistic profession, and a waste of thousands of years of medical development. People like YOU are helping America become what it is: a nation who can proudly stand and yell "We're Number Forty-Eight! We're Number Forty-Eight!". Keep it up. You make other nations more proud.
Where is God when the illness strikes? And how do you know it's not Allah providing the 'miracle'? Adding months or years on someones life is not a miracle. The cure for AIDS would be a great gift from your God, what's he waiting for?
As Mark Twain said, "Faith is believing what you know ain't so."

Or, as Ambrose Bierce said in his appropriately named "Devil's Dictionary", that to pray is "to ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy."

It is anomalous, to say the least, that the producer of a scientific program should propagate superstition.

You were much better and did much better when you exposed Bill Maher's ignorant opposition to vaccination.
As we speak, I'm holding hands with three of my colleagues and praying that CNN gets a new medical news producer with a more scientific attitude. I know from the electric atmosphere in this room that my prayers will be acknowledged.
I accept the possible good effects of placebo and doing something positive (at least in your own mind) about your illness, but what is one praying to except a weak hypothetical. Giving oneself a better chance to survive is better than simply giging in and if prayer, as a spiritual exercise does that then well and good but prayer to a Living God just sounds wacky to me. How can a God be Living?
Prayer can "work" the way any placebo can. The power of belief really does have an effect--fans of the TV show "House" might remember from this week's episode that a whole jet full of people were convinced they had bacterial menengitis. They did not; it was an instance of suggestive hysteria. In that limited sense--the fact that humans are prone to suggestion--prayer "works." But until an amputee regrows a limb as the result of prayer, we have reason to be very skeptical of claims to divine intervention. Many of the "miracles" are purely subjective, spontaneous remission does occur, and given the vast majority that would pray in dire circumstances, it is statistically probable that some would experience an unusual "healing." The anecdotes can inspire us to celebrate the human mind and its power, but say nothing about a "higher power" that cares anything for us.
Get real! If prayer is so effective, then what does god have against amputees? No human being has ever regenerated an amputated limb. Never.
You should have thrown chicken bones and howled naked at a full moon, your friend would not only have been cured but won the lottery also.
This is a classic example of, "I don't understand what happened; therefore, it must have been god."
What's up with all the amputee talk?? That's just weird that anyone would bring that up. Of course a limb cannot grow back. And no, God does not hate them just because it doesn't grow back. I think that is a very selfish mind set... What has God done for me? Well, what have you done for God?
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