Religion/ Spirituality

Gil Gaudia’s take on intercessory prayer

Dr. Gaudia is professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Fredonia. He is the author of the book Outside, Looking In.

And — oh yes — he’s an atheist.

His current commentary on Medscape is as much a criticism of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) as it is of research into intercessory prayer.

I disagree with his view of the value of the former, but I agree with his view, quoted below, about the later.

“Meanwhile, experimenters seek evidence of this breathtaking immensity by searching for a barely measurable difference between the arterial blood flow of a few cardiovascular patients who were prayed for and a few other unfortunates who were not . . . a difference in blood pressure between 1 group of hypertensives who were prayed for and another group that was not prayed for. It is as if one were asking a composer with a quadrillion times the musical capacity and comprehension of a Ludwig Von Beethoven to demonstrate his musicianship by writing out the notes to ‘Three Blind Mice.'”

How petty and insulting to whatever deity these investigators claim to be investigating, when the most they can ask of that which has created biologic systems from algae to sequoia giganticus and amoebas to human brains ‘Let me see if you can fertilize this ovum in a Petri dish with one of your hands tied behind your back.'”

My own belief is that through prayer we can gain hope, understanding, strength of purpose, and grace. When we have greater control over these larger issues, the details of life become easier to deal with.

4/1/07 11:09 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.