Attempts to Measure the Effectiveness of Prayer


The other day a friend sent me the link to an article reviewing an attempt to quantify and thereby verify or debunk the effectiveness of prayers offered by others for the healing of the sick. Personally, I find such experiments annoying, but aside from that personal reaction, I want to look at the situation.

The scientist needs to clarify what s/he is examining, and the experiment should not include reference to activity on the part of God, because God cannot be controlled. If the scientist confuses science with theology and asks the theological question, “Can God be controlled by prayer?” the theological answer is a resounding, “No!” So, let it be clear from the outset that if the experiment is set up to test the hypothesis that God can be controlled by prayer, the default answer of biblical theology is negative. The expectation, if such an experiment could be devised (the theological default answer is that it cannot), is that the experimentation would fail to show a correlation between prayers and results.

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