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Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP): Replication and Expansion of the R.C. Byrd Study

Project Leader(s)

Herbert Benson
Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Director, Mind/Body Medical Institute
Massachusetts General Hospital

Mind/Body Medical Institute (Boston, Massachusetts)

This grant funded a scientifically rigorous study of the effects of third-party remote intercessory prayer on patients following heart surgery. The project was a replication of the original intercessory prayer study performed by R.C. Byrd in 1988 and also included “relaxation response,” a larger number of participants, and the administering of psychological and social questionnaires. Unlike the original Byrd study, this study suggested that intercessory prayer had no effect on complication-free recovery from heart surgery.

Grant Amount:
Start Date:
February 1996
End Date:
December 2004
Grant ID:
Other Participants

Dean Marek
Director of Chaplain Services, Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota)

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