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In an article entitled, “What Do Prayer Studies Prove?”, authors Gregory and Christopher Fung look at research that has been done concerning prayer. Christians want such studies to show that prayer is effective, while critics would rather see the studies prove that prayer has not effect on healing. The Fungs summarize a study done in 1988 that seemed to show prayer helped patients recover after being admitted to a coronary care unit in San Francisco.

They contrast those results with contradictory findings from a more recent study that showed some of the patient who were prayed for suffered more complications, while others who were not prayed for recovered quickly. Rather than simply say the results are inconclusive, the Fungs point to a deeper truth hidden within the data.

Results indicate God does not show partially by answering only the prayers of dedicated believers, or ignoring the prayers of others. The father and son team writes, “True to his character, God appears inclined to heal and bless as many as possible. It is as if, he can barely restraint himself – though he often does- from supernaturally intervening and disrupting the nature of the universe to care for those he loves, whether they acknowledge it or not.” Further, the Fungs say study results indicate God’s purposes are reflected in his answers to prayer. He does not always “give us the where, when, or how that we originally sought.” They summarize prayer studies by saying,”…we discover that our obsession with whether prayer works is the wrong question. We know prayer works. The real question is, are we prepared for God’s answer?”

--What Do Prayer Studies Prove? Gregory and Christopher Fung, Christianity Today, May 2009, pg 43-44. Illustration by Jim L. Wilson and Jim Sandell. www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/may/27.43.html

Matthew 6:6 (CEV) “When you pray, go into a room alone and close the door. Pray to your Father in private. He knows what is done in private, and he will reward you.”

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