Bad Science meets Bad Religion
Apparently 1,802 heart bypass patients were either prayed for and knew it, prayed for yet not informed they were being prayed for, or not prayed for (at least not by the prayors used for the "study.")
The flaws in this study are numerous. God was given a time limit to respond. There's no way to determine whose prayers were going unanswered for whatever reason. It's impossible to measure any mental and spiritual benefit in patients who declined in some physical capacity. How was God expected to reign over his creation when it's known by all parties involved that a handful of finite "study leaders" are seeking to possibly pass judgment on what is strictly a God-ordained, spiritual discipline--prayer--for which mankind has no sovereign control and only limited insight? Was it ever ascertained that these Christian groups doing the praying were all comprised of Christians? Christ's church is invisible and it's highly unlikley any church doesn't have a few or more reprobates "playing the game."
Was God saddened that mankind had outwitted Him and trapped Him at his own "game?" What if God had fully restored all the hearts of the "prayed for" group in an instant, while the other patients all died within a couple days of their surgery? Would the journal have published those results? Would the study leaders suddenly start tithing?
If God could be completely or even more fully understood through man's studies then he would not truly be God. Men that seek to prove any aspect of God know not God. This whole John Templeton Foundation-sponsored study costing $2.4 million was an exercise in foolhardiness and manipulation, inclusively.