Larry Dossey, M.D.

The Shadow Side of Prayer with Larry Dossey, M. D.


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Program Description

In the last few years, scientific evidence has validated the healing power of prayer. But the power of prayer can go both ways–controlled laboratory experiments have proved that prayer can harm and even kill human tissue. Dossey says, “What we’re talking about is my thoughts, my intentions, my wishes and my prayers being able to affect you physically at a distance, when you don’t even know I’m doing it.” Can we pray without doing harm? And can we protect ourselves from the negative prayers of others? Dossey addresses these and other fascinating aspects of the very real role prayer can play in our lives. He leaves us with perhaps the best prayer of all: “May the best thing happen.”


Larry Dossey, M.D. is a distinguished Texas physician deeply rooted in the scientific world, and has become an internationally influential advocate of the role of the mind in health and the role of spirituality in healthcare. He served as a battalion surgeon in Vietnam, where he was decorated for valor. Dr. Dossey helped establish the Dallas Diagnostic Association, the largest group of internal medicine practitioners in that city, and was Chief of Staff of Medical City Dallas Hospital in 1982. He is the Executive Editor of Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, served as co-chair of the Panel on Mind/Body Interventions of the NIH Office of Alternative Medicine, and served on Hillary Rodham Clinton’s task force on health care reform in 1993. In 2013, Dr. Dossey received the prestigious Visionary Award that honors a pioneer whose visionary ideas have shaped integrative healthcare and the medical profession.

He’s the author of numerous articles and many books, including:

To learn more about the work of Dr. Larry Dossey go to

Topics explored in this dialogue include:

  • How to protect yourself from negative prayers
  • What led Dossey to write a book about the negative side effects of prayer
  • How you can pray without harming anyone or anything
  • The connection between prayer and thought
  • How doctors cause unintentional harm through offhand words/comments
  • Documented cases of the power of prayer
  • Some surprising passages from the Bible
  • Becoming aware of your own little hexes
  • How to create more positive thoughts
  • Developing an ethical system for prayer

Program Number: 2681                 Host: Michael Toms               Interview Date: 11/19/1997


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