Prayer Study
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On December 29, 2001 we began a study of prayer following our weekly Bible study (the subject was prayer). Inspired by recent scientific studies proving that prayer, whether the scientists can explain it or not) really does make a difference, we decided to conduct our own scientific experiment.

One article from MSN health caught my attention where they had Christian groups pray for non-human subjects in order to rule out he faith of the subject in as a possible cause of the effect. This seemed like a great idea since some of the kids may be likely to believe that so and so got his prayers answered because "he's religious", but it won't work for me.

We decided to be scientific our study must be observable, measurable, and repeatable. To accomplish this we purchased a greenhouse kit with 72 individual planting cells in one tray. Each cell has a whole in the bottom so that water will drain into the tray so all will share the same water. The kids at our Bible study (youth ages 12-17) planted the seeds using soil from the same bag and equal amounts of seeds from one bag each of tomatoes, beans, and corn.

Of course the idea is not to get the kids to pray for plants, but to teach them that if God cares enough to answer our prayers for these simple seeds, how much more important are they to him. Surely even the least important person is more important to God than these seeds. In order for this to be effective it is also necessary to teach what prayer is (not just repeating words to an invisible force), things that help prayer and things that hinder our prayers.

At first I was not so sure this would be a good idea (God does not jump through hoops), almost like testing God. But then I prayed and considered the example Jesus set for us in Mark Chapter 11 where he cursed a fig tree that it withered and died. Not only has he said that If we believe on Him we would do the same works has him, but in Mat. 21:21 He invited us to do exactly the same thing to the fig tree! ("I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree,...).

Anything that gets people to "think" about prayer is likely to tempt them to try it, and then the Lord can do the rest.

Below are some of the Photos of the results of our study. Click on a photo to see a larger image.


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I will be updating this page soon to show fewer photos, to more show progress more easily, but will make the complete set available in a link so check back.

Photo Gallery

Some of group involved in prayer study

1st day after planting (dec. 30, 2001

Here we are at the begining of the study. The kids planted one seed in each pod and watered equally before we decided which ones we would pray to grow and which we would pray to die

2nd Day December 31, 2001. No Growth yet

Of course no seeds have germinated yet, but we are still praying that God will bless the blue containers and hinder the red ones.

3rd Day January 1, 2002 1st seeds begin to sprout

Here you can see the first sprouts popping through, and while it is hard to tell at this point there seems to be a slight advantage to the blue ones (3 sprouts showing in the picture versus 1 red)

4th Day Jan. 2, 2002 more sprouts

Now it is becoming clear, there is a difference between the red and the blue. Keep in mind that all seeds are in the same type containers, the same dirt, in the same flat, in the same window, sharing the same water.

5th Day Jan. 3, 2002

Wow, the difference seems to be expanding, in this picture there are 10 sprouts in the blue containers which have began to grow and only 6 in the red. Prayer seems to be making a difference.

Day 8, 2002 Still growing.

Our phot efforts were hindered, as our digital camera broke after day 5 and we were not able to get a replacement until day 8, but the results are still astounding 22 blue and 16 red sprouts.

9th Day Jan 7, 2002

Not only are the sprouts in the blue pods continuing to outnumber the red, (27 to 20 in this picture) It seems that the blue ones, on average are out growing the red sprouts also.

10th Day Jan 8, 2002

The number of each has remained about the same, and the blue ones continue to grow faster than their counterparts. It seems certain that there can be no explanation for this other than prayer to God.

10th Day, Jan 8, 2002

Her a bean sprout in the red, which seemed to be growing now seems to be wilting. (no diferences have been made to plants). I can't help but think that if God will intervene in our little plant study, how much more is he willing to intervene when we pray for things like cancer cells to die, and healthy tissue to grow.

11th Day Jan. 9, 2002

The results continue to glorify God. I believe The Lord wants us to use the principals learned here to increase our faith and apply sincere prayer to every area of our lives, believing we shall receive the answer to our petitions. If God cares for these seeds, how much more important are you.

12th Day Jan. 10, 2002

Again more blue seeds continue to sprout and another red ones seems to be decreasing. Praise our Lord. Here there are 30 blue versus 20 red (only 19 seem to show in photo, but we counted 20). Blue also continues to be healthier.

13th Day Jan. 11, 2002

As we near the end of the study, some people may think this is stupid, or worse, haviing kids "pray for a bunch of plants". I hope, and pray that they will see beyond that, to the principal the kids are learning, "prayer works", and in fact, God seems to be confirming this idea, by causing the seeds to grow according to our prayers. There seems to be no other explanation. Our only goal is to get the kids to think about prayer, by any means, and to try it, God does the rest. Let all the credit for this go to Jesus Christ!!

14th Day Jan 12, 2002

As we conclude our 2 week study there are 30 blue plants which have begun to grow and only 20 red. That is 50% more blue plants than red. Also it seems very clear that the blue on average have far out paced the red. This, to me is very significant.

17th Day, Jan 15, 2002

Notice in the top left corner one of the tomato plants has fallen over and began to wilt. Also in the bottom left corner one of the corn plants has also fallen over and dried up for no apparant reason. Both in red pods

19th Day Jan. 17, 2002

After nineteen days (even after we have stopped asking people to pray) the pattern seems to continue. There does not seem to be as much difference between the growth rate of the red and blue that are already up, but a couple of the reds have died and there are now 18 red plants and 30 blue ones.

25th Day Jan 23, 2002

There continues to be difference between the 2 colors even though there has been no difference in their treatment

25th Day Jan 23, 2002 close up

In the last couple of days some of these red plants have started wilting for no apparant reason, even though thereis a seed newly germinated in the blue pod you can see to the left. Again, Absolutely nothing has been done, other than prayer to hinder the red ones or give extra help to the blue. Expect Jesus to intervene in your life in the same way only more.(Mat. 10:31)

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