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'Young man looks up, hands clasped, praying fervently'

Source: Don Bayley / Getty

When sickness comes knocking at the door, what do most Americans do? They pray.

According to a new study, nine out of 10 Americans seek God for healing when they fall ill— in addition to relying on doctors.

“It was very surprising,” said the study’s author, Jeff Levin, professor of epidemiology and population health at Baylor University. “I was expecting that some proportion of the population would be involved in this, but I wasn’t expecting the numbers to be this high.”

Levin was also stunned to find that nearly 80 percent of Americans have prayed for their own healing, with almost a third admitting they do this frequently. Nearly 90 percent have prayed for the healing of others, with over half saying they practice intercession frequently as well.

“Outside of belief in God, healing prayer might be the most ubiquitous religious practice that there is,” Levin said. “This might be one of the most prevalent forms of primary care medicine, and I don’t say that lightly.”

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