- The Washington Times - Monday, April 18, 2016

A new study released Monday reveals that a vast majority of Americans turn to their faith during a health challenge. Nearly nine of 10 Americans have relied upon healing prayer at some point in their lives, praying for others even more than for themselves, according to a study by Baylor University epidemiologist Jeff Levin.

“The most surprising finding is that more than a quarter of all Americans have practiced laying on of hands — and nearly one in five has done so on multiple occasions,” said Mr. Levin, who tracks the role of faith in health and cultural matters across society.

“Interestingly, most people who use prayer for healing do so alongside regular medical care, rather than as a substitution, as has been presumed up to now. Healing prayer is being used more as a complementary treatment rather than as an alternative one.” noted the researcher.

“Outside of belief in God, there may be no more ubiquitous religious expression in the U.S. than use of healing prayer,” he said, adding that the findings also suggest that prayer may be among them most widely used forms of treatment for medical problems, rather than a “fringe activity.”

In partnership with the Gallup poll, Mr. Levin surveyed over 1,700 people about their prayerful practices. The findings revealed that 87 percent had prayed for the health of others, 79 percent for their own healing and over half had participated in a prayer group.



Another 26 percent have given a “laying on of hands” for healing, a practice found in the Bible.

“For many of us, the image that might come to mind is the faith healer. But these findings show that the practice is much more widespread, as is healing prayer in general,” he said.

The study was published in the Journal of Religion and Health, an academic publication.

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