Nine out of 10 Americans have turned to God to pray for their own healing and for the healing of other people including their loved ones at some point in their lives, according to a new study.
Moreover, many Americans have also practiced the laying on of hands to try and heal other people, said Jeff Levin, the researcher who led the study, which was published in the Journal of Religion and Health.
The study was conducted by the Institute for Studies of Religion at Baylor University in Waco, Texas.
"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," Levin said, as quoted by Newsmax.
"Outside of belief in God, there may be no more ubiquitous religious expression in the U.S. than use of healing prayer," he added.
The study also said many Americans regard prayer as one of the most widely used forms of treatment for medical problems and not just a "fringe activity."
The study said 75 percent of Americans have prayed for their own healing, with nearly a third saying they often do this. Nearly 90 percent have prayed for the healing of others, with more than half saying they often do this.
More than half of the respondents say they have asked for healing prayer and have taken part in prayer groups.
Levin said Christians who have close relationship with God—and not necessarily those who attend church regularly or read the Scripture—are the ones who practice healing prayer.
"People who feel a close connection to God, who love God and feel loved by God, are the very people most likely to pray for healing: for themselves or others, alone or in a group, and verbally or through laying on of hands," Levin said.
"These people are taking to heart the biblical call to 'love your neighbor as yourself,' something found in both the Old and New Testaments," he added.
Levin said the study did not ask the respondents on whether the healing prayer proved effective.
However, Dr. Chauncey Crandall, a nationally recognised cardiologist, said prayer truly has a healing effect. "We've seen miraculous healings in the office, cancers disappear and almost any disease you can think of, we've prayed for and have seen the power of God and miracles happen," he told CBN.
Dr. Harold G. Koenig of Duke University also attests that saying a healing prayer works. "Studies have shown prayer can prevent people from getting sick — and when they do get sick, prayer can help them get better faster," he told Newsmax.