A systematic review of the empirical literature on intercessory prayer

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52 Scopus citations


Perhaps surprisingly, many social workers appear to use intercessory prayer in direct practice settings. To help inform practitioners' use of this intervention, this article evaluates the empirical literature on the topic using the following three methods: (a) an individual assessment of each study, (b) an evaluation of intercessory prayer as an empirically supported intervention using criteria developed by Division 12 of the American Psychological Association (APA), and (c) a meta-analysis. Based on the Division 12 criteria, intercessory prayer was classified as an experimental intervention. Meta-analysis indicated small, but significant, effect sizes for the use of intercessory prayer (g =-.171, p =.015). The implications are discussed in light of the APA's Presidential Task Force on Evidence-based Practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)174-187
Number of pages14
JournalResearch on Social Work Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Direct practice
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Intercessory prayer
  • Religion
  • Spirituality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Psychology(all)


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