1 Thessalonians 5:17, When to Pray

Pray without ceasing.

//Do you believe in prayer? Stephen Hawley Martin, in his book Life After Death, Powerful Evidence you Will Never Die, describes an experiment performed by Christian Science practitioners. It relates to the effect of prayer in times of stress.

That it was Christian Science practitioners who dreamed up the experiment shouldn’t come as a surprise. See http://www.dubiousdisciple.com/2012/07/book-review-21st-century-science-health.html for more information about this belief system. But did they learn something useful?

Prayer, they found, doesn’t just affect people. It affects plants as well. Rye seeds were planted, and half of the seeds were prayed for. A statistically greater number of rye shoots sprouted among the prayed-for seeds. But is this convincing evidence?

Practitioners next began adding salt to the water, stressing the rye seeds. They started with a small dose of salt–one teaspoon per half-gallon of water–and found that out of 2000 prayed-for seeds, 800 sprouted. 778 out of 2000 unprayed-for seeds sprouted. Prayer helped 2.3% more seeds sprout. Convinced yet?

They added more salt, and naturally fewer seeds sprouted. But as more stress was added, prayer had more effect. When they put in 1.5 teaspoons of salt, the prayed-for batch sprouted 3.3% more often. With 2 teaspoons, prayer helped 13.8% more sprout. With 2.5 teaspoons, prayed helped 16.5% more seeds sprout. Encouraged, they tried 3 teaspoons. Now 30.8% more seeds sprouted among those prayed for.

So do dire circumstances make people–or in this case, plants–susceptible to the power of prayer? Now the practitioners went all out, adding 3.5 teaspoons of salt to the water. This time, way overstressed, the prayed-for seeds grew 5 times as often. Prayer seems to work best in times of distress.

It appears what they say is true: There are no atheists in foxholes.

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