Saturday, January 15, 2011

Faith healing: Does being close enough matter? Study says yes.

In “Faith Healing: Study Finds Proximity Could Be Key To Success Of Healing Prayer”, Medical News Today reports ((07 Aug 2010))

Findings reported from a new international study of healing prayer suggest that prayer for another person's healing just might help -- especially if the one praying is physically near the person being prayed for.

Candy Gunther Brown, an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University Bloomington, led the study of "proximal intercessory prayer" for healing. It is available online and will be published in the September 2010 issue of the Southern Medical Journal.

The study, titled "Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Proximal Intercessory Prayer (STEPP) on Auditory and Visual Impairments in Rural Mozambique," measured surprising improvements in vision and hearing in economically disadvantaged areas where eyeglasses and hearing aids are not readily available.

"We chose to investigate 'proximal' prayer because that is how a lot of prayer for healing is actually practiced by Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians around the world," Brown said. "These constitute the fastest-growing Christian subgroups globally, with some 500 million adherents, and they are among those most likely to pray expectantly for healing."
For more, go here.

Some complain that the study offers no mechanism. But it would be difficult to propose a mechanism before identifying situations in which intercessory prayer made a difference, whether positive or, as in the case of the STEP study of distant prayer, negative in a statistically significant way. In other words, either way, mind did matter.

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