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Prayer and Heart Bypass Surgery

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I heard Koenig give a couple of lectures a little over a year ago - as a man of faith and a sufferer from debilitating chronic pain, not to mention his faculty appointment at Duke University, he's certainly got the cred and the right to speak on the faith/health intersection. And I'm immensely grateful to him and his colleagues at the Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health for drawing much needed attention to these issues. Nonetheless, I'm convinced there's an unhealthy reductionism as well as a spiritual shallowness to studies like the one Alan highlighted. I'll take the work of Stephen G. Post (on bioethics and spirituality), Robert D. Enright (on the psychology of forgiveness), or Daniel P. Sulmasy (a physician and Franciscan friar who writes on spirituality in health care practice) over these types of studies any day.

Edited by Andrew

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I've loved this whole vein of research and have always be plagued by the question of: Is God willing to be put in the box of a double-blind study? As Alan notes, you can't blind God, he knows what we're up to.

The question of prayer is far more than one of how many pray or with what awareness. God answers prayer from the place of perspective/insight/history/future/particularity/etc. Like many of the tales about being granted three wishes only to find that our wishes become our curses, if God were truly "controlled" by prayer, I would hesitate to do so. How do I know?

As I walk closely with the same congregation of people over 30 years of pastoral ministry I am more convinced today of God's answers to prayer than ever before. I've seen what seems to be a "miraculous" answer to prayer and I've seen what seems to be a "silence" in the face of great sorrow and loss. But being in the same church for 30 years, I

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