Die Aufgabe der Medizin und ihre Wissenschaft: Wissenschaftlichkeit als Kompromiss ...
Intercessory Prayer for ill Health: A Systematic ReviewRoberts L. · Ahmed I. · Hall S. · Sargent C. · Adams C.
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Objectives: To review the effectiveness of prayer as an additional intervention for those with health problems already receiving standard medical care. Search Strategy: Electronic Searches of Biological Abstracts, CINAHL, The Cochrane Controlled Trials Register, EM-BASE, MEDLINE, PsycLIT, and Sociofile were undertaken. All references of articles selected were searched for further relevant trials. Selection Criteria: Randomised and quasi-randomised trials of personal, focused, committed and organised intercessory prayer on behalf of anyone with a health problem were considered. Outcomes such as achievement of desired goals, death, illness, quality of life and well-being for the recipients of prayer, those praying and the caregivers were sought. Data Collection and Analysis: Studies were reliably selected and assessed for methodological quality. Data were extracted by 4 reviewers working independently. Dichotomous data were analysed on an intention-to-treat basis, and continuous data with over 50% completion rate are presented. Main Results: There was no evidence that prayer affected the numbers of people dying from leukaemia or heart disease (OR 0.64, CI 0.32–1.27), or that it decreased coronary care complications (OR 1.05, CI 0.49–2.26) or the time participants stayed in hospital. There were significantly fewer ‘intermediat//poor outcomes’ for those with heart disease in the prayed-for group (OR 0.49, CI 0.30–0.80), and this finding was robust to some changes in definition. Conclusions: This review provides no guidance for those wishing to uphold or refute the effect of intercessory prayer on the outcomes studied in the available trials. Therefore, in the light of the best available data, there are no grounds to change current practices. There are very few completed trials of the value of intercessory prayer. The evidence presented so far is interesting enough to justify further study. If prayer is seen as a human endeavour it may or may not be beneficial, and further trials could uncover this. It could be the case that any effects are due to elements beyond present scientific understanding that will, in time, be understood. If any benefit derives from God’s response to prayer it may be beyond any such trials to prove or disprove.
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