Science and Prayer


God answers every single prayer. With a yes, no, or not yet. We are detecting that science knows absolutely nothing about prayer, and that many scientists are very deficient in knowledge about God.

When should you introduce your child to evolution?
(Patrick ) #2

The largest and most scientifically rigorous study of prayer’s efficacy, the 2006 STEP project, found no significant difference whether subjects were prayed for or not, except some negative effects among those who knew they were receiving prayers. [1]

[1] Benedict Carey, Long-Awaited Medical Study Questions the Power of Prayer, New York Times, March 31, 2006


As I said, science knows absolutely nothing, zilch, nada, zero, about prayer.

(Patrick ) #4

Nothing fails like prayer.


Nothing succeeds like God. And no answer to prayer is ever failure.

(Patrick ) #6

Exactly what Larry Krause said in “A Universe From Nothing”.


You are right, because the tools of science cannot address prayer. All efforts to trap God in a test tube are doomed to failure.

(George Brooks) #8

Patrick… you are just “stirring” right now. Science is not capable of answering between God’s YES’s and God’s NO’s.


(Patrick ) #9

Science can do an excellent job of answering such questions as “Is God answering prayers?” and “how effective is praying?” The same method used to test the efficacy of medications, therapies, and treatments can be used to scientifically evaluate the benefits or the lack of benefits of prayer. So far, in every study ever done, the results are the same. Praying has the same benefit as doing nothing. And events have happened as if God has not answered anyone’s prayers and has let the universe to move forward on its own.

(Patrick ) #10

I am arguing a scientific position about testing claims of the efficacy of prayer. It has nothing to do with atheism, but has a lot to do with the psychology of the human mind. It has been speculated that prayer might be a calming effect on people and might be beneficial in treating people with mental illnesses. But in experiments done, prayer was shown not to be beneficial to anyone - the prayed for and the prayer. Here is a question for you, “Do you think God is listening and answering the prayers of the billion Muslims who are required to pray to God five times a day?”

(George Brooks) #11

Islam is a Unitarian form of Christianity quite similar to the Mormon form of Christianity: similar interest in Old Testament asceticism, similar devotion to Jesus and his mother, similar interest in a latter-day prophet.

But let’s suppose you picked any other religious group that prayed … not involving any links to Abraham.

I think God hears and works with ALL well-intentioned prayers. Sometimes He says Yes. Sometimes He says No.



No proposed experiment to detect God or his actions is valid, since God is not defined as a wish-fulfillment genie. Besides, there is no way to control for God–you can’t direct God to act in one case and not act in the control.


You are not really listening. Science knows nothing about prayer, and can know nothing about prayer. Since God answers every single prayer offered in sincere and obedient faith, with either a yes, no or not yet, then any science experiment or survey is incapable of detecting the benefits of prayer, since many benefits are experienced many years later, and we are not God. We cannot even determine scientifically whether it is better to break a leg, have a broken arm healed, have an allergy removed or to keep an allergy, considering all the indirect impacts any of these events may have on a person’s life, both in the present and twenty years into the future.

Prayer, even so-called “unanswered” prayer, always has more benefits than doing nothing. The fact that science cannot discover this merely demonstrates the inadequacy and limitations of science.


My pastor from long ago used to say that God answers all prayers, not just some; but his answers are not our answers.

(George Brooks) #15

Just to be clear here … the adorable Ms. Beaglelady was quoting something PATRICK wrote to me. Those are not my words. My position is that no science can determine whether God is NOT answering, or simply answering with a NO.


(Henry Stoddard) #16


I have not read everything; however, I must agree with your statement, John. God answers every prayer; however, His answer may not be what we pray for. Why is that the case? God sees all time at once. I sees us when we were born and when we leave this life; therefore, He knows what is best. If He granted our every request, life could be worse for us than it is.

(Robert J. Kurland, Ph.D.) #17

"Science can do an excellent job of answering such questions as “Is God answering prayers?” and "how effective is praying?"
Patrick, the essence of the scientific method is controlled replicable experiments. Please tell me how an experiment involving prayer is controlled (i.e. how do you match a sample group praying with another group praying–where is the double blind experiment). And here’s the real nub, what we might consider a good answer, or what to a sick person might be a good answer, may not be God’s good answer. Moreover,where is the replicability? I don’t read the NY Times, but I trust its reporting on science as much as I do on Global warming or on politics.

William Briggs in his column “Statistician to the Stars” describes many experiments in which psychologists ,“social scientists”, medical scientists and "climate scientists misuse statistics. The linked article is one of these.

I would view with extreme caution any results reported by a newspaper (including the NY Times) until I read the original paper.

Finally, saying that “science can test the effectiveness of prayer”, is, I believe, very much like saying science can show that hip-hop is better than classical music, or surrealism is better than Renaissance art. There is an intersection of science and religion, but it does not lie in the realm of experiments and proof.

(Robert J. Kurland, Ph.D.) #18

JohnZ, I wouldn’t say that science knows absolutely nothing about prayer. Science can’t tell whether prayer is effective, but it can certainly show how it affects our minds. Newberg has done Pet-scan studies of people who practice Centered Prayer and meditation (nuns, Buddhist monks, etc.); these show regions of the brain are affected that have to do with feelings of well-being, tranquility. See my post "Are We Hard-Wired for Faith" (department of shameless self-promotion again.)

(Patrick ) #19

Many scientific disciplines can and have studied the value, efficacy, effectiveness of prayer in many religions. Big data has allowed this to be done very easily all over the world. Let’s take a simple one. On Friday’s worldwide over a billion people head to pray collectively. On Saturday a different religion goes to worship the same God, on Sunday’s worldwide over a billion people collectively pray. And all week individuals pray on there own all the time. Also there are a billion people that don’t pray. All the people that are praying are really praying for the same thing - peace, life, happiness, love, children, food, well being of their loved ones. The billion who are not praying want the same thing but don’t pray.

Now what are the results of all this praying by each religion compared to those not praying? And are there any differences in results between religions?
See science can test the effective of prayer on a global scale and for every religion with a billion non-prayers as the control group.

(Brad Kramer) #20

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