Quote: "It may have made them uncertain, wondering am I so sick they had to call in their prayer team?" Oklahoma cardiologist Charles Bethea in the New York Times.
Figure of Speech: dialogismus, the quoting figure. Also innuendo, the idea insertion.
Do a stranger’s prayers help heart patients recover? New findings say probably not; in fact, the praying can actually hurt the patient. Dr. Bethea, one of the co-authors of a $2.4 million study, guesses why in a dialogismus ("dialogue"), which brings another person’s words into an argument.
Rhetoric would lend credence to Bethea’s theory. The prayers may have committed accidental innuendo ("significant nod") — inserting negative ideas in people’s heads like Nixon’s "I am not a crook."
Three congregations prayed for the heart patients, asking God "for a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications." The patients were informed of the prayers, which, in the anxious mind, could be translated into: "Don’t let Patient X die a slow, agonizing death or suffer from the many easily imagined complications."
You can see why the sleaziest politicians love innuendo. It opens Pandora’s Box even while praying for closure.
Snappy Answer: "Imagine the TV series, though. ‘CSI: Holy Intercession.’"