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"In An Extensive clinical study of healing, personal prayer caused an overall 20 percent decrease in the amount of pain experienced by patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Patients also reported less swelling in their joints, greater mobility, and a heightened sense of spiritual peace," reports Tara Yeaman, writing for Research News & Opportunities in Science and Theology.

The study was conducted at the Arthritis/Pain Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida, by Dr. Dale Matthews. It also examined the effect of distant intercessory prayer for 44 patients, all of whom were told that people were praying for them (even those in the control group, who were not actually being prayed for).

According to researchers, "The distant prayer showed no additional effects." Research News' report continues, "In the past, clinical studies on prayer have focused on distant intervention, a group of religious people praying for patients from a distance. Matthews claims that such studies call for an enormous leap of faith on the part of the medical community.

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A celebration of healing
June 4, 2001

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