Inner Workings of Prayer

Perhaps Quantum Entanglement explains how concerted prayer actually works



In the early church, reports of Christians healing the sick and raising the dead by prayer were accepted without skepticism or disbelief. In his five-volume series Against the Heresies, St. Irenaeus (c.130-220), Bishop of Lyons, writes, “Some persons that were dead have been raised again and have continued among us many years…” He affirms this in an almost casual manner, assuming that Christians took this sort of happening for granted and regarding it as unchallengeable.

Today a minority of the general public believes in miracles of healing or in the resurrection of Christ. Of churchgoers, 86% “believe” in Christ’s resurrection, but few would have faith enough to fervently pray to resurrect a dearly-beloved relative or friend who just died. Healing-prayer groups exist but apparently not to the extent evident to Irenaeus in the early Church.

During the Middle Ages, from the fall of Rome in 476 AD to the “enlightened era” of the Renaissance in the 15th century, saints like Vincent Ferrer worked wonders and miracles that stagger the imagination. He is credited with raising the dead 28 times and is said to have worked over 40,000 miracles. Unmanned doors would open at the approach of St. Francis de Paula, and his voice carried over hills packed with people who clearly heard him in their own languages. More recently, St. Padre Pio (d. 1968) worked healings, read minds holding hidden sins not confessed to him, could bilocate, and resurrected a dead baby. Even more spectacular, the relics of many saints long dead have restored life and health when doctors couldn’t (see Saints Who Raised the Dead: True Stories of 400 Resurrection Miracles by Fr. Albert J. Hebert, S.M.).

Since the advent of the scientific method, which requires reproducible evidence, far fewer reports of miraculous phenomena have circulated. Technology has usurped popular faith in prayer. Why bother wrestling with unreliable prayer when the near-dead are raised by ER medics, electronic doors open automatically at our approach, and millions of people can view TV preachers who are thousands of miles away, heard in their own language? With wonder drugs, who needs to pray to God?

But modern scientists have stumbled across a curious phenomenon called Quantum Entanglement, where two “entangled” particles at vast distances transfer precise information that enables duplicate behavior at faster than the speed of light. Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance” and had no explanation for it.

Who knows, perhaps this gives some answer for how concerted prayer actually works and for the miraculous powers displayed by saints with strong faith in God. It might explain our intuitive and foreboding feelings, like how a mother 7,000 miles away “knows” her son in a war zone just got killed.

There is more to this world than meets the eye.


Richard M. DellOrfano spent ten years on a cross-country pilgrimage following Christ’s instruction to minister without possessions. He is completing his autobiography: Path Perilous, My Search for God and the Miraculous.

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