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Study finds proximity could be key to success of healing prayer
Date:8/4/2010

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Findings reported today (Aug. 5) 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 today 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.

An advance copy of the study is available prior to online publication from Bridget Garland at smjedit@etsu.edu.

"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."

Brown and her colleagues carried out the study as part of a larger research program, funded by the John Templeton Foundation Flame of Love Project, on the cultural significance and experience of spiritual healing practices. As editor of a forthcoming book on Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing (Oxford University Press, scheduled for release January 2011), Brown has made an in-depth, seven-year study of how pentecostals worldwide pray for healing.

Although pentecostals often pray for their own healing and request distant intercessory prayer, they consider proximal pra
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Contact: Steve Hinnefeld
slhinnef@indiana.edu
812-856-3488
Indiana University
Source:Eurekalert

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