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God is still in the healing business—and the Global Medical Research Institute is out to prove it.
GMRI is applying rigorous methods of evidence-based medicine to study Christian spiritual healing practices—specifically, prayer to God in the name of Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Not since healing evangelist Kathryn Kuhlman’s book trilogy of healing testimonies—complete with medical documentation—has anyone set out to launch such a large organized study into the medical facts and spiritual truths of healing.
GMRI is the brainchild of healing evangelist and revivalist Randy Clark and is registered with the National Institutes of Health.
“Randy’s heart is to show medical evidence that God is still healing people,” says Brenda Jones, a nurse practitioner and member of the five-person GMRI board. “Most people—even most medical doctors in the United States—believe in the healing power of prayer. Even people who aren’t religious will accept healing prayer. We want to prove that God is really healing people through prayer.”
GMRI’s website (globalmri.org) allows people to upload medical documentation for review. Caseworkers then confirm the data and submit it to GMRI’s medical experts in Boston, many of whom are affiliated with Harvard Medical School. The researchers conclude if the healing is questionable or truly “beyond medical explanation,” with the latter suggesting the manifest healing power of God.
Candy Gunther Brown, an associate professor at Indiana University, began studying supernatural healing about eight years ago. The result is her book Testing Prayer: Science and Healing. Brown says the importance of and challenges with the GMRI project are one in the same.
“Many in the Pentecostal/charismatic community are resistant to tracking down medical documentation because they believe faith should come by hearing, not seeing,” she says. “There are also concerns that the media is going to be abusive, take things out of context, and harass ministries and families involved.”
Brown discovered there were bona fide cases of healing despite a medical explanation. But she also found falsification of medical records—people claiming healing by faith despite no physical evidence. That, she says, is why it’s so important to sift through claims and publish the legitimate healings.
“Increasingly, the language of the day is medical science,” Brown says. “Whether or not there is a supernatural power involved in producing healing, there are a lot of medical researchers interested in knowing if prayer helps people get better. GMRI needs to get a critical mass of positive cases, which should motivate others to get involved.”
Cal Pierce, director of the International Association of Healing Rooms, is already motivated. The 2,000 healing rooms—ministries that focus on the presence and power of the Holy Spirit to work through ministers to heal the sick—around the world plan to collect information to submit to GMRI.
“GMRI now has a consistent ministry setting as opposed to corporate meetings or conferences that move around,” Pierce says. “We can provide information on the medically inexplicable and also provide medical records for doctors to analyze the activity of the Holy Spirit. With GMRI’s work, more people will put their faith in healing because the miracles will be acknowledged by God and man.”