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October 2022

The Objective Efficacy of Prayer

Author(s): Welldon, R.

Journal/Book: J chron Dis. 1965; 18: 367-377.

Abstract: One of a pair of patients seen by a psychiatrist or a specialist in physical medicine was allocated to a group ´treated' by intercessory prayer, the other to ´control.' Neither the patient, the physician nor the participating prayer groups knew to which group each patient belonged. The patients were unaware that a trial was in progress and all other individual medication and physical treatment prescribed by the consultant was continued in both groups. The clinical state of each patient was revaluated by the same physician 8-18 months later. The first six valid and definite results available all showed an advantage to the ´treated' group. Five of the next six showed an advantage to the ´control' group. These results may be due solely to chance, but the possible involvement of other factors is discussed. The attitudes of possible participants in such studies are important, and some implications of this for future work are also discussed.

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