The efficacy of prayer has been the topic of various studies since Francis Galton first addressed it in 1872. Prayer is the most common complement to mainstream medicine, far outpacing acupuncture, herbs, vitamins and other alternative remedies.

More and more medical research from leading hospitals and universities across the U.S. has shown conclusively a belief in God is indeed good for you, making you healthier and happier and helping you live longer.

“Studies have shown prayer can prevent people from getting sick ‚ and when they do get sick, prayer can help them get better faster,” says Duke University Professor‚ Harold G. Koenig, M.D. – He added: “The benefits of devout religious practice, particularly involvement in a faith community and religious commitment, are that people cope with stress better, they experience greater well-being, because they have more hope, they’re more optimistic, they experience less depression, less anxiety, and they commit suicide less often. They have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure and probably better cardiovascular functioning.”

“The proof of the power of prayer is overwhelming,” says researcher and writer Tom Knox, a one-time atheist who became a regular worshiper after doing in-depth study of the medical benefits of faith.

“What I discovered astonished me,” admits Knox, “Over the past 30 years a growing and largely unnoticed body of scientific work shows religious belief is medically, socially and psychologically beneficial.”

The American Society of Hypertension established in 2006 that church-goers have lower blood pressure than non-believers. Scientists have also revealed believers recover from breast cancer quicker than non-believers, have better outcomes from coronary disease and rheumatoid arthritis, and are less likely to have children with meningitis.

Research at San Francisco General Hospital looked at the effect of prayer on 393 cardiac patients. Half were prayed for by strangers who had only the patients’ names. Those patients had fewer complications, fewer cases of pneumonia, and needed less drug treatment. They also recuperated quicker and left the hospital earlier. Knox concluded: “Atheists can sneer at faith all they like, but they can’t assume science is on their side.”