The Research on Prayer and Healing: Past, Present and Future Challenges




Wilkins, Linda

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As research grows on prayer’s effect on healing, conflicts continue to arise about these studies’ legitimacy and necessity. Advocates for increased research on this topic claim that prayer is like a medicine that physicians could one day prescribe. Past research studies have indeed suggested that prayer works as a healing mechanism. Those who doubt these studies claim that these projects are not legitimate, in part because they cannot be replicated. Religious persons, too, often shy away from advocating for studying prayer in a scientific setting, because it seems like this is “testing” God’s power. This research has implications for the future of healthcare and how patients are treated medicinally. This project is an effort to document these conflicts, as well as to provide a history of research on prayer and healing supplemented by interviews with leading scholars who offer their opinions on this field. While stigmas surrounding this research remain, as do skeptics who disagree with its progression, these studies are gaining ground in the scientific community as a valid topic of investigation.