Author Bill Sweet discussed his involvement with Spindrift Research, an organization started by Bruce and John Klingbeil in 1969 to explore the connections between prayer, consciousness,and healing. Some of their early laboratory research, he explained, showed that when subjects prayed over soybean plants growing under adverse conditions, the plants could be made more healthy.
Sweet reported that the Klingbeils faced some negative reactions to their experiments, by religious groups and others who felt they may have been opening a kind of "Pandora's Box." And indeed, something eventually drove Bruce and John Klingbeil (a father and son) to commit suicide using shotguns, an act which Sweet said was out-of-character for them, and is still shrouded in mystery.
Spindrift Research examined two kinds of prayer-- that which is goal oriented and that which is a simply a wish for "what is best." Sweet noted that non-goal oriented prayer could often yield the better results, though its exact outcomes couldn't always be anticipated.
At a prayer wall outside the critical care unit at the Saint Elizabeth Medical Center cards are posted with messages such as "Please pray for a turnaround in my mother's condition." These prayers are then given to members of the hospital's Intercessory Prayer Program, in which over 100 employees take part. "You can't separate the spiritual from the physical. That's why prayer plays such a vital role in [a] health-care program," Sister Elaine Herold, the pastoral care director at the hospital recently told the Lincoln Journal Star. Read more here.