Drawing on medical records, surveys of prayer recipients, prospective clinical trials, and multiyear follow-up observations and interviews, Brown shows that the widespread perception of prayer’s healing power has demonstrable social effects which can in some cases produce improvements in health that can be scientifically verified.
Testing Prayer fills a significant gap in the study of the role of healing in contemporary religious movements, and is unusual in doing so through the use of a range of perspectives. The book is clearly written, well referenced, and in a balanced and considered way avoids the temptations to privilege either theology or experience over science, or to reduce observed phenomena to material explanations. The author instead encourages conversation among scientists and religious practitioners with a view toward future collaborative exploration. I found the project original, credible and compelling.
–Dr. John R. Peteet, Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School