To benefit from prayer, it does not matter what beliefs or religion one practices or whether they practice any at all. The benefits of prayer have been acknowledged throughout time and in recent times have been documented through research. Some researchers also label prayer as non-local healing, distant healing, distant intentionality, and empathic concern.
Most of this research began in the 1960's with the pioneers, psychologist Lawrence LeShaw and Bernard Grad. LaShaw is know for creating awareness of the mind / body link in medicine and Grad created the standards for all the experiments in this area.
In Grad's experiments, goiters that had been induced by withholding iodine in the diets of mice were reduced by the use of prayer. In a study done by Elizabeth Targ with AIDS patients, the group who received prayer had significantly fewer AIDS related illnesses, fewer hospitalizations, and less doctor visits than those not receiving prayer. Then Dr. Mitchell Krucoff at Duke University Medical Center in Virginia studied the effects of prayer on patients undergoing angioplasty. The results showed that the prayed for group had 50 to 100 percent better results than those who had angioplasty and did not receive prayer. Those results were made public in Time Magazine. There have been hundreds of studies done that have showed positive findings. In 1997 one hundred researchers from medical schools and universities all over the United States gathered at a conference on Harvard University Campus in Boston to share their ideas, research and findings. Some of the information from that conference is discussed in Larry Dossey's book, Reinventing Medicine. Prayer, as part of one's healing treatment plan, is no longer considered to be only for those who are "religious". The benefits are widely recognized and accepted by a much larger segment of society and the medical establishment than ever before.