A Randomized Blinded Study of Intercessory Prayer in Patients with Cancer



Despite multiple studies of intercessory prayer added to medical care, no conclusions about its efficacy have been possible because there have been both positive and negative studies with variable methodologies and endpoints. The current randomized triple blinded study investigated the impact of intercessory prayer on the spiritual well-being of patients with cancer. Patients were blinded to the intervention. A total of 999 eligible patients were accrued from a metropolitan cancer center and randomly allocated to being prayed for by a Christian intercessory prayer group. The Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness—Spiritual Well-being—12-item (FACIT-Sp-12) was used to assess Spiritual Well-being. The intervention group showed greater improvements over time for Spiritual Well-being or its components of Peace and Faith compared to the control group (p = 0.03, partial η 2 = 0.01) with a similar result for Emotional and Functional Well-being. Patients with cancer who received remote intercessory prayer demonstrated small improvements in Spiritual Well-being. This in turn has an impact on the patients’ quality of life.


Reliable Change Index Intercessory Prayer Prayer Group Weekly Phone Call Reliable Change Index 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Cancer Council AustraliaSydneyAustralia

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