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"Does Prayer Work?" University of Wyoming Experiment Asks Wyoming Pastor to Participate in Study »
Just completed by the Economics Department at the University of Wyoming in Laramie is a study on prayer, the results of which will be published within the next few months. Although not wanting to give out too much information before publication, assistant professor of economics, Linda Thunstrom, explained what gave birth to the study. “Whenever there’s a disaster, people say, ‘Our thoughts and prayers are with you.’” With this in mind, her department wanted to find out if this comment made a difference. “What if they pray for you in lieu of giving help?” she queried. “And what is the monetary value of this statement?”
A group of nearly 50 people from North Carolina was asked to fill out a questionnaire listing areas where they could use "thoughts and prayers". The group included atheists and agnostics as well as Christians. Some listed several areas of need, including health, employment, loss through death, even a felony conviction. The $5 they were given to take part could be used for a prayer or thought or it didn’t have to be spent.
One UW professor put out a feeler on social media to find a pastor in the area who would pray for the individuals on the list. Someone suggested Mark Jagitsch, pastor of RMC’s Cheyenne Church, after which he received a phone call from the University asking for his help with his “thoughts and prayers.” He was happy to cooperate with their request, immediately enlisting the help of his church members and DeeAnn Bragaw, prayer coordinator for Rocky Mountain Conference, who was thrilled to join him.
“I was excited when Pastor Jagitsch told me about this project and even more excited when together we thought how wonderful it would be to involve all of our RMC members in praying over these individuals. This is the heart of prayer ministry,” enthused Bragaw.
“I prayed for them on a regular basis,” explained Jagitsch, and I’m hoping God will answer.” He had recently seen billboards written by unbelievers like, “I’m a happy heathen without God,” and “Prayer doesn’t do anything. Work does,” and wanted God to respond to these declarations by showing up in the lives of the North Carolina people like He did when Goliath proclaimed, “This day I defy the armies of Israel.” He wanted God to make Himself known to them.
When the study is published, NewsNuggets will provide its readers with the results.
-- Carol Bolden