Off topic posts: prayer requests


February 27, 2003, 11:16 AM
Could we get a Moderators Amen to end the mumbo-jumbo-voodoo-chanting-spiritual sillyness?

It seems to me that prayer request unless your praying for a gun to quit malfunctioning are off topic as "Hell".

I mean what would happened if a Follower of Satan that likes guns posted a prayer request? We would not want to be tricked into praying to the wrong God would we.

All in all its just to dangerous.

I will now lead us all in a Song:

What a friend we have in Jesus, Ishtar, Zeus, Prince, Mohamad,
Budda....... ah never mind it just doesn't rhyme.

Maybe we could post a poll instead....which God is the real God. Please provide proof. That should be a hoot what do you think?

After all just sticking to gun related topics is such a bore right?

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Mike Irwin
February 27, 2003, 02:39 PM
My only suggestion is that you chill and pray to whatever God suits you best.

If someone asks for a prayer request, they're not asking for us to pray to HIS version of God, they're asking us to pray to OUR version of God for intervention.

I've never seen a prayer request framed in these terms...

"Hey, guys? I have a second cousin whose aunt's uncle's brother's dog's master has an ingrown toenail, and really needs some prayer.

But, since this person is a devotee of Mithras, and doesn't want intervention of a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Bhuddist, Shinto, Confucionist, etc. incarnation of God, would it be too much to ask for you to convert to Mithracism and offer your prayers up by sacrificing a bull, or at least a goat?


Derek Zeanah
February 27, 2003, 03:06 PM
there have been studies done that show that prayer works to improve patient outcomes. Didn't matter who was being prayed to, and those being prayed for didn't know it (nor did their doctors -- double-blind studies and all that). Buddhist, Muslim, Christian, Jewish -- didn't matter.

Source: my wife the MD who's sceptical about all "studies" she's read. Good science behind this one apparently. Can probably get a cite if I need to, but don't want to exert the effort.

February 27, 2003, 03:20 PM
Prayer requests? What prayer requests? Oh... must be the prayer requests I skip past and don't read. Life is much simpler when I just look past stuff that doesn't concern me. It's not that I don't care about those that are ill, I'm just not a religious person.

February 27, 2003, 04:31 PM
I was wrong. SO I guess now we can talk about what ever we want to the the general gun forum section. Cool

Or am I missing something here......

What exactly does Off topic mean anyway?

February 27, 2003, 05:34 PM
They do seem off-topic to me (speaking as a user, not an Administrator or Moderator). I usually skip reading them.

February 27, 2003, 08:30 PM
Sven has the right idea. If they bother you, Jim, just don't read them.

Moderators have discretion in enforcing the rules. We don't check our humanity at the door when we go on duty. We realize that people have feelings and that sometimes the rules can be bent for the benefit of our membership.

Ever get pulled over by a cop who clocked you doing 5 mph over the limit? Bet you didn't upset that he just gave you a warning.

You should thank God (or the deity, spirit, tree, person or planet of your choice) that we *don't* strictly enforce all the rules all the time.


Mal H
February 27, 2003, 10:54 PM
Yes, the overall theme for the forums is firearms, but there will be the occasional topic that is outside that theme that affects the life, liberty or pursuit of happiness of our family (members and staff). Here, just as at The Firing Line, we have an unwritten agreement that when a topic is posted that seriously affects our family it is not considered off topic. Those threads so far don't account for more than 3/10's of one percent.

March 2, 2003, 04:23 AM
I don't really mind OT threads if they're accurately titled so I don't get sucked into opening them if they don't interest me.

March 2, 2003, 09:03 AM
The prayer requests and the mildly Christian-centric atmosphere they generate is one thing. The backlash from rabid athiests/agnostics/satanists/etc. is another. Are those prayer requests worth it?

How can anyone possibly take those prayer-healing medical studies seriously? There's no possible control for people outside the designated prayer group praying for individuals in the control group. If the entire World prays for me, do I become immortal?

I suppose G-d figures that if nobody prays for a particular person, that person is just a worthless soul who doesn't deserve to be saved? :rolleyes: I could come up with so many counterexamples. I really doubt there are those who could have a prayer request submitted here on their behalf for whom I would not wish a full and speedy recovery from any ailment they might suffer. Just because there's no "Person X needs your prayers" and the resulting chain of "X is in my prayers" responses, are we, and is some G-d, to presume that person X is not cared for by this community?

Give me a break. :( Prayer is more a measure of whether the person praying is true to his or her religion than it is a measure of how much support there is for the prayer's recipient.

Rant off.

Derek Zeanah
March 2, 2003, 11:51 AM
Apparently the full study is here (, but I don't have a login for the AMA. Guessed what my wife's would have been and it didn't work. :D

Anyway, here's the abstract:
A Randomized, Controlled Trial of the Effects of Remote, Intercessory Prayer on Outcomes in Patients Admitted to the Coronary Care Unit

William S. Harris, PhD; Manohar Gowda, MD; Jerry W. Kolb, MDiv; Christopher P. Strychacz, PhD; James L. Vacek, MD; Philip G. Jones, MS; Alan Forker, MD; James H. O'Keefe, MD; Ben D. McCallister, MD

Context Intercessory prayer (praying for others) has been a common response to sickness for millennia, but it has received little scientific attention. The positive findings of a previous controlled trial of intercessory prayer have yet to be replicated.

Objective To determine whether remote, intercessory prayer for hospitalized, cardiac patients will reduce overall adverse events and length of stay.

Design Randomized, controlled, double-blind, prospective, parallel-group trial.

Setting Private, university-associated hospital.

Patients Nine hundred ninety consecutive patients who were newly admitted to the coronary care unit (CCU).

Intervention At the time of admission, patients were randomized to receive remote, intercessory prayer (prayer group) or not (usual care group). The first names of patients in the prayer group were given to a team of outside intercessors who prayed for them daily for 4 weeks. Patients were unaware that they were being prayed for, and the intercessors did not know and never met the patients.

Main Outcome Measures The medical course from CCU admission to hospital discharge was summarized in a CCU course score derived from blinded, retrospective chart review.

Results Compared with the usual care group (n=524), the prayer group (n=466) had lower meanSEM weighted (6.350.26 vs 7.130.27; P=.04) and unweighted (2.70.1 vs 3.00.1; P=.04) CCU course scores. Lengths of CCU and hospital stays were not different.

Conclusions Remote, intercessory prayer was associated with lower CCU course scores. This result suggests that prayer may be an effective adjunct to standard medical care.

Found an artical critical of it too: apparently choosing patients based on even/odd medical folder numbers and flipping a coin can introduce bias. Article here ( The final line of the criticism makes me believe that the author feels that since the hypothesis of the study was so extraordinary, it should have used a more thorough method for breaking the patients down into their relative groups.

I don't make this stuff up. I trust my wife to be able to look at a study like this, evaluate the controls in effect and statistics involved, and make a rational decision as to the study's validity. It's her job, and you should watch her tear apart pretty much anything we see on broadcast TV talking about medical studies. :D . Regardless, the study met enough of those sorts of criteria to be published. Get upset if you want -- ain't no concern of mine. No, I don't know what "lower CCU course scores" means either. :p

And by the way, I don't like the "Christian-centric atmosphere" we see around here sometimes either. ;) But I just try to gloss over it. Don't generally read the prayer threads, unless I'm interested in knowing how the person posting is doing. Oftentimes they're just an "I'm going through a hard time and could use some support" kind of thread; I have no problems with an online community participating in that sort of thing.

March 2, 2003, 08:21 PM
I know you didn't make that up; I know there are people trying to pass off "scientific" studies of "remote healing."
Conclusions Remote, intercessory prayer was associated with lower CCU course scores. This result suggests that prayer may be an effective adjunct to standard medical care.Great. Except they didn't (and can't) control who prays for most of the people in the control group, as I pointed out before.

The only thing that study can claim is that an artificial prayer group of people who didn't really know the patients and that wouldn't normally exist for usual patients seemed to correlate with improved patient outcome. What good is that?

And yeah, I can ignore the prayer request threads too. As long as there aren't too many. :)

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