What is prayer’s single most active ingredient? My colleague Eric Nelson, Committee on Publication for Northern California, posted a thoughtful blog that originally appeared on Communities Digital News and answers this question. Eric writes:
“The difference between placebos and prayer,” said Dr. Harold Koenig during a workshop he was giving at Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, Theology, and Health, “is that with placebos we know there’s no active ingredient, whereas with prayer we know there is.”
A compelling assertion, to be sure, especially in light of so many these days who are quick to equate the two concepts, particularly in situations where someone is praying for better health. Prayer, they say, not unlike a placebo, is simply a means of fooling the brain into believing whatever it wants to believe and, in so doing, generating whatever chemicals it deems necessary to bring relief to the body.
Read more from Eric Nelson’s blog.