(NaturalNews) Researchers from Indiana University (IU) in Bloomington recently conducted a study on the effects of praying directly with someone for healing. According to Candy Gunther Brown, an associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies at IU and author of the study, "proximal intercessory prayer", as she calls it, can actually help to bring about healing.
Published in the Southern Medical Journal, the study is part of a larger research project investigating the power of spiritual healing practices to heal disease. For this particular study, Brown and her team investigated two charismatic Christian groups known for their healing prayer activities, one from Africa and one from South America.
The team measured the hearing and vision capabilities of impaired people both before and after they received proximal intercessory prayer, and discovered a "statistically significant" improvement in many of them after they had received prayer.
Two people with impaired hearing reduced the threshold at which they were able to detect sound by 50 decibels. Three people with vision impairment at 20/400 or worse improved to 20/80 or better after receiving prayer. One woman who was virtually blind before receiving prayer was able to not only see a person's hand afterward, but was able to count the person's fingers and read the 20/125 line on a vision chart.
Brown explained that Christian subgroups that practice proximal intercessory prayer are among the fastest growing groups worldwide because of this phenomenon.
"If [people] 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," she explained.