I was asked my opinion about a new report of another scientific study on the effect of prayer in healing. This research, supposed to be the most extensive yet, actually revealed negative results of prayer. If Phil hasn't yet, we should get him to do a Window on the World message about it. But I will go ahead and weigh in, knowing that he would agree with these thoughts.
A study which revealed positive results would be more detrimental to the gospel than the one above. All of these studies do not differentiate between the prayers of those offering up in faith in Jesus Christ and those praying otherwise. Indeed, one of the prayer groups in the above study was Silent Unity, a metaphysical religious group. None of the groups were identified as evangelical Christian. But even if they were, let us understand that God, like us, refuses to have his promises tested by scientific experiment. God is not a mechanistic force who grants answers to prayers based on experimenters putting together the right set of conditions.
We do not pray because a scientific study gives us heart to believe in the effectiveness of prayer. We pray because our Lord told us to pray and assures us that our Father hears our prayers. If a nonChristian brings up to you the report of this study, tell him, "Thank goodness. I am pleased to know that my Father who is the supreme Creator and Ruler of the Universe cannot be reduced to a cause and effect study made up by creatures. Prayer has to do with a relationship, not with magic."