This is just my opinion and I don't have the power of an imagined god to make it absolute. I see prayer as form of mental masturbation. To pray is to masturbate your own imagination to fulfill a religious fantasy. The only real benefit that comes from praying is the prayer’s own mental satisfaction. When the religious extremists pray in church you can see them get all weak in the knees and start trembling. That is when they are climaxing their religious imagination and you can see the “spirit”, which is their ecstasy, in their eyes. I avoid people that have this “I’m insane with religion and loving it ” look. They are complete spellbound, hoodwinked and possessed by their childhood indoctrination and are immature mentally which makes them dangerous. After all, everything you see is just a prop in this world to the religious (and that includes you too) for their religious test. When I was 10 and being forcefully indoctrinated as catholic 24x7 I didn't even think my own mother was real - she was just a prop. Who cares about the environment or anything else? Nothing has any real value to the religious because, if you believe the mythology, everything it is just a prop with no value and is no concern of yours to reach the ultimate goal of being happily alive in your mind's eye while also being dead and rotting in the ground. Religion is a curse upon our society that uses innocent unsuspecting children to propagate itself. We have to save our children from this curse using the LAW.
Have you ever performed a QUANTIFICATION TEST on prayer to see HOW WELL prayer works? Try this.
Flip a coin 20 times noting the results on a sheet of paper. You should see that you got around half the flips heads and half tails, give or take one or two. This is your control group.
Next, do the same exercise but each time you flip the coin pray for heads (or tails). Note on the paper the results of the 20 flips. Your result should show around 10/10, give or take a few.
You might say that the power of prayer worked in around 10 of the flips! But compare the results of your prayer group with your control group. The prayer group did NO BETTER than random chance as shown in the control group.
There is your power of prayer.
James Randi recounted a fun story in "The Faith Healers." Ernet Angley was talking to the mother of a young cancer survivor. She told him that he was better after he saw Angley. The aluminum cast toupee televangelist got very excited: proof of his worth as a faith healer!
The mother went on: He got a cancer treatment and it's in remission, but he felt sick to his stimach. After he saw you he felt much better." Good old Ernie's face fell right to the floor at that point.
I wonder how much this actually bothers your average clinician? I'd think it'd get pretty old. But maybe they're inured to it.
Someone mentioned a few weeks ago on this site that their surgeon came into the prep room just before they put him under for surgery and without preamble, said, "let's pray" so I suppose that's the other side of the coin: how many clinicians think god is directing them in their work? Patients thinking god is guiding the doctor on their behalf is annoying, sure -- but the doctor buying into that is more than a little scary ...