Baylor University released a study on April 18 revealing that most Americans still believe in praying to God for healing. Americans are not only praying for themselves, but for others also–including the use of laying on of hands.
According to Jeff Levin, “Ph.D., M.P.H., University Professor of Epidemiology and Population Health and director of the Program on Religion and Population Health at Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion,” who ran the study, prayer is considered a “complementary treatment” that is used alongside medical care for most people. It’s rarely used as an exclusive, alternative treatment.
Apart from the typical religious practices of reading and meditating on scriptures and attending religious services, the main trait of the 1,714 individuals surveyed about their prayers for healing is that they thought of themselves as having a loving relationship with God. Their prayers are done “alone or in a group, and verbally or through laying on of hands.” So here are some interesting statistics by the numbers from the study published in the Journal of Religion and Health:
♦ 26.1% did laying on of hands for healing, a common practice mentioned for Jews and Christians in the Bible.
♦ 53% took part in a prayer circles, prayer groups, or prayer chains.
♦ 54.1% asked others to pray for their health.
♦ 78.8% prayed for their own healing at some time and of that percentage, 32.4% do that regularly.
♦ 87.4% at some time had prayed for the healing of someone else, and of that number, 51.1% routinely do that.
Levin believes that this shows that people are putting into practice the command to love your neighbor as yourselves, as taught in the Bible. The study, however, is not an all-encompassing one that reveals how many of the prayers were actually answered or the specific religious background (Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, etc.) of those surveyed. Nor did it cover which denominations or specific religious beliefs the participants had. But I would venture to guess that since the majority of Americans still have some Christian influence somewhere in their lives, many (if not most) of the surveyed probably reflect that.
Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray, and cry aloud: and he shall hear my voice. Ps. 55:17
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. Jas. 5:16
Source: Caitlin Burke, Americans and the Practice of Healing Prayer: Do We Believe?, CBN News, April 22, 2016.