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Introduction

In August 1998, Duke University reported that a study of 4000 North Carolinians ages 65 or over found those who participated in religious activities were 40 percent less likely to have high blood pressure which increase risk of heart disease. Research has shown that religious people are less depressed, have healthier immune systems and deal better with addictions than the non-religious.

Prayer has been used as a healing tool for centuries. And now, the scientists have proof that it really does work.

The football player, the psychologist, and the child have something in common that explains their recovery against all odds. In each case, while medical care certainly played a role, ultimately it was prayer that brought their remarkable recovery.

Invoking divine intervention has been a standard approach to healing across cultures for thousands of years. Medical researchers, reluctant until recently to acknowledge a link between faith and recovery, are now concluding that, indeed, praying may make sick people better. A team at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reviewed more than 250 studies published since the 19th century and found a positive connection between prayer and healing for nearly every kind of cancer, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, colitis, and enteritis.

There is even evidence that patients who are prayed for by friends, family, or prayer groups — sometimes hundreds of miles away — are more likely to recover faster from illnesses than those who have nobody praying on their behalf.

"We're beginning to see that having faith in God, a higher power that listens, cares, and responds, can be a very powerful force in healing," says Harold G. Koenig, M.D., director of the Program on Religion, Aging, and Health at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. "All the evidence says that prayer does have an impact."

Kenneth Pargament, Ph.D., a psychologist and researcher at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio said, "We can't measure God directly, but we can measure the impact of belief. We can look at the footprints in the sand, the footprints left by faith."

In this website, we will examine the evidence of healing power of prayer. We will look at the practice of prayer by different religious groups from around the world; we will give some clues as to how to make prayer more effective. Finally, we will list some powerful prayers from different religions. A related topic, Meditation, is covered in depth elsewhere.

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