Eat, pray, live. The power of prayer has been shown to improve mental and physical health, speculates a 2015 article by News Max Health. Examining several studies, it indicates that prayer can alleviate sickness and improve individuals’ happiness. The communal feeling that faith induces gives believers relief from stress and depression while raising their hope and optimism. These psychological factors lead to a stronger immune system and lower blood pressure, among other advantages. The article claims that these factors cause atheists to live shorter lives than their believing counterparts.
God acts in mysterious ways. The effect of being prayed for does nothing measurable and may in fact have adverse effects, theorizes Benedict Carey of the New York Times. Citing studies of alcoholics and surgery patients, he points out that people who knew they were being prayed for were more likely to fare worse. Knowing many people are praying for you can make a person feel more anxious about their state, resulting in a negative placebo-like effect. On the other hand, even when large groups of people prayed for a patient, they were no more likely to survive their surgery than someone not being prayed for