07 aug 2010-- Many have prayed for a loved ones health to be restored, but researchers say for best results, get close.
A new study shows praying for another person's health can benefit that person, especially if the person praying is close to the ill. The Study of The Therapeutic Effects of Proximal Intercessory Prayer (STEPP) on Auditory and Visual Impairments in Rural Mozambique," measured how people in poorer areas who don't have glasses and hearing aids readily available reacted to prayer.
Proximal prayer is often practiced by Pentacostal and Charismatic Christians. Pentacostals often pray for their own healing and ask others to do distant intercessory prayer, but they feel that proximal prayer is very important. They emphasize the importance of being close and physically touching the person for effective healing.
"When people feel that they have serious need for healing, they are willing to try almost anything," Candy Gunther Brown, an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Indian University Bloomington, was quoted as saying. "If they feel that a particular religious or spiritual practice healed them, they are much more likely to become an adherent. This phenomenon, more than any other, accounts for the growth of these Christian subgroups globally."
The study was conducted in Mozambique and Brazil because of their reputation for being popular places for specialized prayer. Researvhers studied the effects of prayer on people with vision and hearing impairments. They decided on these to conditions because they are easily detectable with an audiometer and vision chart. The subjects were 14 Mozambican natives who were audibly impaired and 11 who were visually impaired. The subjects reported improvements in their vision and hearing. Two with hearing problems reported reducing the threshold at which they could hear by 50 decibels, and three visually impaired subjects went from 20/400 to 20/80 vision.
There is much controversy behind PIP because scientists and doctors argue that it is not clinically proven or scientific enough to be tested and used in clinical settings, but regardless, the medical community is committed to healing people any way necessary.