Miracle Healing



Investigating the POWER of PRAYER


TIME Magazine Investigating the Power of Prayer Elizabeth Targ must be doing some very important work. The National Institutes of Health has already awarded her grants of $611,516 for one study, $823,346 for another. Even greater Federal funds may be forthcoming before her studies are completed. Targ is studying the therapeutic effects of prayer on AIDS and cancer patients. That sounds reasonable enough. The presence of a compassionate person reciting soothing prayers has apparently helped some patients, if by nothing more than a placebo effect. Measuring that effect might be useful, but Targ goes a step further. She is investigating what she calls "distance healing," in which those offering the prayers are far removed from the patients, who themselves are not even aware that incantations are being recited on their behalf. It's an effect that would seem to defy reason — yet Targ reports striking results. In a study, after selecting practicing healers from a number of traditions — Christians, Buddhists, Jews, Indian shamans — she supplied them with the first names, blood counts and photographs of 20 patients with advanced AIDS. For an hour a day, over a ten-week period, the healers concentrated their thoughts on the pictures of these patients, but not on those of a control group of 20 other AIDS patients. According to Targ, the prayed-for patients had fewer and less severe new illnesses, fewer doctor visits, and fewer hospitalizations and were generally in better moods than those in the control group. The technique, she believes, can even work on non-human species. In a speech, she described an experiment performed by another group in which remote healing was used to shrink tumors in mice. And, she reported, the greater the distance between healers and mouse in that experiment, the greater the effect! The connection, Targ suggests, "could be actuated through the agency of God, consciousness, love, electrons or a combination."




Probing the power of prayer CNN Headline News A recent, controversial study of cardiac patients conducted at St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, concludes that this type of prayer -- known as intercessory prayer -- may indeed make a difference. "Prayer may be an effective adjunct to standard medical care," says cardiac researcher William Harris, Ph.D., who headed the St. Luke's study. The study was published in the October 25, issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine. Harris and team examined the health outcomes of nearly 1,000 newly admitted heart patients at St. Luke's. The patients, who all had serious cardiac conditions, were randomly assigned to two groups. Half received daily prayer for four weeks from five volunteers who believed in God and in the healing power of prayer. The other half received no prayer in conjunction with the study. The volunteers were all Christians. The participants were not told they were in a study. The people praying were given only the first names of their patients and never visited the hospital. They were instructed to pray for the patients daily "for a speedy recovery with no complications."