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Excerpted from Prayer Is Good Medicine by Larry Dossey. Copyright © 1996 by Larry Dossey. Excerpted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 


"If you go to church or pray regularly, itís very beneficial in terms of preventing illness, mental and physical, and you cope with illness much more effectively."

Larry Dossey, Prayer is Good Medicine, Part 2

If you go to church or pray regularly, itís very beneficial in terms of preventing illness, mental and physical, and you cope with illness much more effectively. If you look at the research, in area after area, its 80 percent beneficial. I was shocked."

So was I. I stumbled blindly into the research on prayer during the 1980s, when someone sent me a scientific paper in which prayer was tested in a modern hospital in a large group of heart patients. It had never occurred to me that anyone would actually test prayer like a new medication praying for half the patients and not for the other half, who we're the "controls" and measuring the results. This study strongly suggested a therapeutic effect of distant, intercessory prayer.

After I recovered from my surprise, I asked myself, If prayer works, shouldn't I be praying for my patients? I was skeptical of prayer at the time, and a single study was not convincing. Needing further proof, I embarked on my own research and discovered, to my further amazement, that there are more than 130 scientific studies in the general area of "healing" many of which employ prayer. Over half of these experiments strongly indicate that prayer works. I soon came to regard this evidence as one of the best-kept secrets in modem medicine, and I began actively to pray for my patients.

My explorations of prayer and healing resulted in the 1993 publication of my book Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine. To my great pleasure, the strong reception to the book afforded me the opportunity to discuss prayer with a variety of audiences--medical schools and hospitals, physician and nurse organizations, lay groups and churches, the National Institutes of Health, a Presidential Task Force on Health Care Reform, a section of the British Parliament, and even the Pentagon.

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