Before you waste your time looking up the new york times and msnbc links, ask yourself when these entities were anything but antagonistic to Christianity.
Some believers say it is pointless to try to divine the workings of God with experiments devised by mortals. I agree. The disciples asked why their prayers weren't answered. The reply was that they lacked the foundation of faith to support their prayers. The "study" mentioned above (both links refer to the same information) documents prayer for statistical purposes, not prayer by faith. As a result, it would naturally fall flat.
The word of God from Malachi 3:10 shows tithing to be the only thing you can expect God to be willing to prove Himself through.
About 20 years ago, a man from my church was also cured of leukemia during a prayer service. The last pastor we had was given six months to live due to a brain tumor which mysteriously disappeared at a Church of God camp meeting - that was 30 years ago, and he's still living with no sign of cancer. Our current pastor had lifelong debilitating back problems until he took a week to pray and fast. I've seen healings too many times of problems too physically evident to be bad doctor prognosis's of the problems.
In contrast to the bad example of "prayer testing" cited above, we also have:
San Francisco cardiologist Randolph Byrd, conducted an experiment in which he asked born-again Christians to pray for 192 people hospitalized for heart problems, comparing them with 201 not targeted for prayer. No one knew which group they were in. He reported in 1988 that those who were prayed for needed fewer drugs and less help breathing.
William S. Harris of St. Luke's Hospital in Kansas City, Mo., and colleagues published similar results in 1999 from a study involving nearly 1,000 heart patients, about half of whom were prayed for without their knowledge.
Why are there rainbows? Prismatic diffraction of light.
Why are there miracles? God is good. This incident may be him reaching out to you.
Edit: Regarding Val's marketing link...my father was a heavy follower of alternative medicine philosophies. Alternative medicine, like mainstream medicine, is also a multibillion dollar industry. However, alternative medicines didn't stop him from getting Alzheimer's or stop his appendix from rupturing. Plus, on a personal level, any place like AHS which posts advertisements with pricing like this
"Retail Price $88.95
Member Price $12.00" and product names like "No Fool I"
(page 15 in the above link)
seems to be preying upon the gullibility of potential customers.
Chocko's point A is hopeless, as he misses the point that disease and decay are the natural order of things, not a matter of God messing around playing "good cop, bad cop."