Dr. Rudolph Beard, former professor of cardiology at the University of California, conducted an experiment with 393 hospitalized patients and proved that prayer has great healing effects. The experiment was held for ten months on 393 patients in the CCU (Cardio Care Unit) of San Francisco General Hospital. The 393 patients were randomly divided by computer into 192 patients of the group that were prayed for and 201 patients of the group that were not prayed for. The patients, nurses and doctors did also not know about which group the patients would join. Those who prayed for the patients were called together from a group of various religions, including Catholics and Protestants. And they prayed for the patients.

The results were astonishing. The patient group that was prayed for displayed nearly astonishing results to treatment than the group that did not receive prayers. Among those with heart trouble in the group that was prayed for, the number that developed emphysema was one third of the group that was not prayed for. Moreover, in the group that was prayed for there was no one who required the securing of an artificial respiratory tract. On the other hand, in the group that was not prayed for, twelve patients required artificial respiratory tracts.

Upon seeing these results, Dr. William Noran said that we doctors should probably write a prescription for praying three times a day and that prayer is effective.


The Report of an Investigation by the Medical School of Duke University in North Carolina

The result of an inquiry from 1986 to 1992 examining the effectiveness of prayer on the health of 400 men and women sixty-five and older was that the elderly that prayed and read the Bible are healthy and living long. During the six years of the investigation, for the number of those who died, the elderly who did not pray was almost fifty percent higher. However, there was no difference according to the frequency of prayer.

Furthermore, when compared with those who did not go to church, those who went to church had a lower percentage of arterial illnesses. Those with religious faith had a lower percentage of illnesses caused by depression and anxiety. The percentage of suicide among those who did not go to church was higher when compared to those who went to church. These are reported by the investigation. In any case, it can be said that the mental action of prayer is influencing health.

For prayer to be effective, to the extent that the prayer is made with clearly knowing for whom it is or the object of the prayer, the prayer is effective. It can be said that more than to simply pray vaguely, the effectiveness is great when we pray while being conscious of each individual such as A, B, C and D who are ill.

In addition, there are two types of prayer.

One is a directive prayer. For example, to heal cancer, to remove pain and so forth. The person who prays does so with a specific goal or image in mind. We could say that it is a manner of prayer where the person who prays makes a request of God to do things in a certain way. The other type of prayer is a prayer with no directive. There is no envisioning of results or requests but it is a manner of prayer that simply believes in and entrusts in God as “may the best results appears” or “please do according to Your will.”

In the results of the investigation, both the directive prayer and prayer with no directive produced results, but it was found that the prayer with no directive had more than two times more effectiveness than the directive prayer.

Prayer Activates the Genes and a Mind of Compassion Is Linked with the Strengthening of the Immune Functions

From the research of Dr. Kazuo Murakami, Professor Emeritus, Tsukuba University

To investigate the effect on body and mind of prayer and meditation, an examination of the on and off of genes was conducted on priests who are daily engaged in prayer and meditation.

The necessary genetic information for the activities of life for all living things is called DNA.

As a mechanism to produce the necessary DNA according to the changes of time and environment, the human body is adjusting itself while turning the appearance of DNA on or off like a switch. In other words, “on” is the state where the appearance of DNA is being activated and “off” is the state where the appearance of DNA is weakened or stopped. Various factors are involved in this adjustment and it is generally known that the so-called states of the “mind” also influence the “on and off.”

Among the DNA there is the DNA connected with type 1 interferon. Type 1 interferon suppresses the growth of virus. It is a protein that is protecting the body from virus by eradicating the infected cells.   The priests are assumed to be activating their DNA for natural immunity. That is because of the religious training to become a priest or the disposition that is acquired and maintained through daily practice.

The most interesting results of this investigation is the discovery of a definite connection between empathy (compassion) and type 1 interferon. It is presumed that from here is the common base for empathy and natural immune function. This is a most interesting result and it is imagined that kindness and prayer are related to the formation of that base. In other words, a mind of compassion strengthens the immunity. It can be thought that the nurturing a mind of compassion through religious training (meditation and prayer) of the priests led to the strengthening of the immune functions.


During the time that we are awake, for 47 percent of that time our mind is removed from the instant of now this present moment. This wandering mind, which is thinking about something else other than what we are now actually doing at now this present moment for 46.9 percent of the time that we are awake, is decidedly the very thing that is ruining the mood of the person.

From: “A Wandering Mind Is an Unhappy Mind” by Matthew A. Killingsworth (PhD Psychology), Harvard University psychologist and Daniel T. Gilbert (Professor of Psychology) in the 2010 Science magazine.


Prepared by Rev. Takamasa Yamamura

Translated by Dean Makinodan