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Assuming that most Christians would pray for help in time of need, is there any statistical evidence for better outcomes among Christians compared to other groups? For example, a Christian would presumably likely be praying to get well, get healthy, be happy, get a better job, pray for a sound marriage, etc. Yes, I know they would pray for other things too, but I'm asking about things that can be measured in statistics, mortuary tables, etc. I've just looked at a Pew Research study Religion’s Relationship to Happiness, Civic Engagement and Health Around the World which suggests perhaps better civic participation, but

after adjusting for differences in age, education, income and other factors, there is no statistical link between being actively religious and being in better self-reported overall health in any of the 26 countries and territories studied except Taiwan, Mexico and the United States.

Even in the U.S., the strength of the linkage between religion and health varies, depending on measures and datasets used. For example, in some years, the General Social Survey has shown that religiously affiliated people who go to church or other religious services at least once a month are particularly likely to report that they are in excellent overall health, while in other recent years this has not been the case.

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    Welcome to Christianity Stack Exchange. Your question, in my opinion, is unanswerable because nobody reports answered prayers to organisations that collect statistics. I have a prayer diary and note answers to prayers, but nobody else on the planet know about them. That is the case for millions of Christians. It's between us and God. Please take our Tour to find out what makes for an acceptable question: christianity.stackexchange.com/tour
    – Lesley
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 6:39
  • I believe you are mistaken. I found one after posting. Take a look at American Heart Journal, 2006 Apr;151(4):934-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ahj.2005.05.028. "Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: a multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer" "Conclusions: Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications."
    – Trenton J
    Commented Apr 29, 2023 at 19:13
  • @TrentonJ Is that suggesting people shouldn't be told they are prayed for? That seems counter-intuitive unless people are less cooperative with treatment if they are told that.
    – kutschkem
    Commented Jan 4 at 7:47

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If you consider "prayer" as a major ingredient of the over-all life of a disciple, then the answer is an overwhelming affirmation of benefits! E.g. The statistics of those in drug therapy involving Christian discipleship points to a massive benefit for success! (See the results of Teen Challenge compared to government or secular programs. I did a Master's research project on this.)

Just yesterday a research (which I missed the name of) revealed that the happiest sub-group in society were older women "of faith." The poll was a recent one.

You might check the George Barna Research Group for religious surveys. They have been around for a long time, so the Standard Deviation would be minimal.

It should be kept in mind, as previously commented above, that most prayers are private communications with Deity. So absence of institutional statistical research must not be an inference of no benefit. That would be a fallacy of logic: the argument from silence. Peace.

Note, Barna Research Group is in California, and the Teen Challenge Group is in New York. (See Google for addresses.)

See the magazines of the Assemblies of God denomination for many references to "answers to prayer." (Pentecostal Evangel, Heritage magazine, etc.) The Trinity Broadcasting Network continually presents testimonials by people who have had "answers to prayer": average parishioners, sports heros, politicians, businessmen, et al..

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  • Prayers are mostly private, but we can safely assume a significant proportion of Christians in very poor health, for example, would be praying for healing. We don't need to know the details of their prayer. People hurting would be praying. So, if prayer is effective in this regard it would show up in statistics. Anyway, you have given me a fair answer, so I clicked the check mark. Thank you. I'm afraid a lot of prickly Christians have a fragile faith that shies away from tough questions like this, so I appreciated a reply.
    – Trenton J
    Commented Apr 30, 2023 at 0:21
  • @ Trenton J - The reason many Christians are not healed may be related to the teaching by some denominations that Charismatic gifts ceased with the Apostolic Age. See the books by Jack Deere (Vineyard Church) who dealt with this problem. In the mean time keep seeking; it's great for the soul!
    – ray grant
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 22:37

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