The short answer is:
You cannot afford NOT to support GMRI. Why?
1) Without strong scientific evidence that in-person prayer has positive effects on health, authorities have prevented Christians from offering prayer and claiming they even believe God can heal.
A survey from 2014 showed that 48 percent of Americans pray every day. Out of that population, 82 percent report that they typically pray about family and/or friends.1 For example, if they learn that a friend is ill, they might ask to pray for them.
In these scenarios, you may think one would be free to say to those in need, “God can heal you, can I pray for you?”, however a group of Christians in the UK were prohibited from saying “God can heal you, can I pray for you?”. The group claimed they had witnessed several individuals who were ‘physically healed’, however complaints were made to the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), arguing that making such a statement might give false hope for individuals suffering from terminal diseases. The praying group was brought before the ASA with the complaint that the testimonials found on the group’s website were ‘insufficient as evidence for claims of healing’.2, 3 The ASA determined that the group could pray, however, they were not permitted to state that God could heal them.
Nowadays medical treatment cannot be claimed effective without careful scientific evidence. Unless evidence is available showing positive clinical effects of prayer in relation to health, we can likely expect further restrictions on prayer as an intervention for healing. GMRI is working to gather strong evidence to clarify whether and how prayer for healing may be effective.
2) Many Christians, doctors, and medical professionals would like to pray for those of their patients who would appreciate it, but some have already lost their jobs simply for offering prayer.
GMRI does not advocate coercive measures, especially as there is a power asymmetry in the provider-patient relationship. Nevertheless, a lot of patients would appreciate their doctors offering a prayer for healing and/or respecting the importance of their spiritual beliefs,4 but praying for patients can put the provider’s livelihood in jeopardy. To this end, GMRI is working to study the effects of prayer for healing specifically with randomized and controlled trials in the context of provider-patient relationships.
3) Christians are behind other religious groups in studying the health effects of prayer practices and thus losing influence.
Religious practices are already prevalent in health care, especially in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) and integrative health practices.5 Much of alternative medicine derives from and continues to be based on religious and metaphysical principles. Christians as a whole have invested far less effort in research on the health effects of prayer than other religious groups who are actively studying the health effects of their practices.6, 7
As a result, a number of religious practices are now part of standard health and wellness practices, but prayer, for the most part, is not. Research efforts must increase if claims of healing through prayer are to be on even footing with claims of health benefits from other religious practices.
That’s where the Global Medical Research Institute comes in. We carry out medical and scientific research on healing through Christian prayer, to show extensive, rigorous, and influential evidence on the question of whether and how it is effective. To do so, our mission is to:
- ESTABLISH A MEDICAL RESEARCH FIELD in Christian Spiritual Healing;
- BUILD LEGITIMACY with Scientific and Medical Communities;
- COMMUNICATE EVIDENCE of the effects of prayer in the language of scientific and medical cultures;
- LEVERAGE EXISTING NETWORKS of Healing testimony databases, ministries, and researchers;
- DEVELOP EDUCATIONAL PROGRAMS for medical professionals & lay public
Our vision is that through careful scientific research:
*Medical and scientific research on healing through Christian prayer will be extensive, rigorous, and influential.
*On the basis of sound evidence, it will be scientifically credible to claim that remarkable and medically unexpected healings happen through prayer.