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The Power of Prayer: South Korean Church Hosts Interreligious Prayer During Time of Uncertainity

Diane is a Religion freelance reporter based in Seattle. Inquires at diane.shelling55@gmail

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As the research race for a vaccine continues, religious adherrents are looking toward a different solution, prayer.

In May, Kansas-based physician Dr. Dhanunjaya Lakkireddy conducted a study to assess the role of "remote intercessory multi-denominational prayer on clinical outcomes in COVID-19 + patients in the intensive care unit." The trial consisting of 1,000 patients, half of which would receive "universal" prayer offered by 5 religious denominations (Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism) in addition to standard of care, with the remaining 500 as a control.

The Power of Prayer

In South Korea, Shincheonji Church of Jesus hosted large-scale online prayer meeting on September 16th to pray for COVID-19 patients and for an end to the pandemic.

The church faced scrutiny in February this year when an outbreak occurred in Daegu, South Korea resulting in over 5,000 cases amid allegations that the church was not cooperating with authorities. Yet, recovered members have since donated their plasma in record amounts in cooperation with South Korean health authorities to aid in the development of a vaccine.

The prayer meeting was held online among its "12 tribes," which are the branches of the church. Shincheonji's international churches also took part in the prayer in the regions of North, Central and South America. The prayer time encompassed various faith traditions including Sikhism, Buddhism, and Cao Dai, a minority religion popular in Eastern Asia.

Is Prayer Proven to Heal?

Chairman of Shincheonji Church Lee Man-hee suggested the prayer event and asked members to pray for the virus to disappear from each country. Among the prayer topics were also a repentance of any sins committed, forgiveness for neighbors, health for those suffering from the virus and an end to the pandemic.

A representative commented that prayer has been an anchor for its members, connecting them together as a spiritual body and to God.

“We hope that through this event, people of different religions can pray and break down the walls of denominations, organizations, and religions in order to overcome the disaster of the COVID-19 together” Shincheonji Church said in an official statement.

Although the substantive evidence of prayer in medicinal science has offered at times, no or varying results, prayer as a solidification of unity for the individual and the society has positive effects that can; in fact, progress physiological healing.

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© 2020 Diane Shelling