As the saying goes, “There are no atheists in a foxhole.” That being said, is it more powerful to pray alone or in a group?

For thousands of years, Judaism has held the belief that wherever ten Jewish men gather, the Divine Presence resides among them. The Talmud states that "sanctification" occurs in the midst of a congregation of ten Jewish men. So strong is this dictate that orthodox Jewish men strive to attend prayer services three times a day with a minimum of 10 Jewish men in attendance.

The power of group prayer is accentuated by the fact that, Judaically, nine learned Rabbis praying together are not considered to have the strength to bring down Godly kindness while ten simple Jews together does.

Today, science has proven the power of group prayer in healing. Medical research from leading hospitals and universities across the U.S. have shown that a belief in God and prayer can heal and help bring longevity. “Studies have shown prayer can prevent people from getting sick, and when they do get sick, prayer can help them get better faster,” Dr. Harold G. Koenig, director of Duke’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health and the author of several authoritative books on faith and healing, reported to Newsmax Health.

Dr. Koenig oversaw 1,500 reputable medical studies. These showed that people who are more religious and pray more have better mental and physical health.
“And out of 125 studies that looked at the link between health and regular worship, 85 showed regular churchgoers live longer,” he noted.

And, there is power in numbers. “The benefits of devout religious practice, particularly involvement in a faith community and religious commitment, are that people cope better,” said Dr. Koenig. “In general, they cope with stress better, they experience greater well-being because they have more hope, they're more optimistic, they experience less depression, less anxiety, and they commit suicide less often. They have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, and probably better cardiovascular functioning.”

For the past 30 years, researchers have studied the effects of regular group worship. In 2006, researchers at the University of Texas found that the more one goes to church, the longer they live. It is now accepted as fact that group prayer is medically, socially, and psychologically beneficial.

In one of the most compelling studies done at San Francisco General Hospital, 393 cardiac patients were tracked to see if there would be a difference between those who were prayed for, even without their knowledge, and those who were not prayed for. Half of the group were prayed for by strangers who had only the patients’ names.

The researchers concluded that those patients who were prayed for had fewer complications, fewer cases of pneumonia, needed less drug treatments and recovered quicker than those who did not receive prayers.

As Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, Founder and President of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, said, “Prayer in Judaism is defined as ‘the work of the heart,’ which profoundly changes the nature of prayer from one of entreating God to an act that transforms who we are – not what God does.” We believe that God listens to the prayers of the individual, so how much more powerful and influential can we be when there are tens, hundreds and thousands praying for the same thing?

Author's Bio: 

The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews is a non-profit organization founded in 1983 to promote understanding between Christians and Jews, and build support for Israel. Learn more about the IFCJ here: https://www.facebook.com/FellowshipFan/
The IFCJ was founded by Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, a leading advocate of religious freedom who has dedicated his work to building bridges of understanding between Christians and Jews. Learn more about Rabbi Eckstein here: http://www.ifcj.org/who-we-are/leadership/rabbi-yechiel-eckstein.html