Healing Line

Healing Line

We Celebrate: The Arthritis Study is Released

by Francis MacNutt
Spring 2001

You may remember how excited we were back in 1996 when a group of twelve of us from CHM traveled to Clearwater, Florida, to take part in a pioneer medical study. For three days, we prayed for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Dale Matthews, M.D., planned the study, and Sally Marlowe, N.P. and director of the Pain and Arthritis clinic, evaluated the patients. We saw so much healing take place, and we were very encouraged.

One hitch: according to medical protocol, a study is not fully credible until it is published in a medical journal. Well, the good news is that the study was at last published in the December issue of the Southern Medical Journal. We think the results are truly amazing, so let me share with you a summary of what happened.

Rheumatoid arthritis was chosen because it is, at present, an incurable disease. Incidentally, there are more than one hundred forms of arthritis; the most common, osteoarthritis, is not a disease but simply happens with age, when the joints wear down and become inflamed. But rheumatoid arthritis is a disease of the immune system and, affecting more than one million sufferers in the U.S., it is the second most common form of arthritis.

In our study, we prayed for 40 patients, and 10 different factors were checked in each patient. The changes in several categories were extraordinary. To give just three examples:

  • The average number of tender joints at the beginning of the study was 16.8; at the end, the tender joints had decreased to a 5.7 average (with a P value of .0001).
  • The average number of swollen joints at the beginning was 9.8, but by the end was 3.1 (P value .0001).
  • The average grip strength ·improved from 244.3 (mmHg) to 278.8 (P value .039).

Dr. Matthews says that the introduction of prayer into the treatment was equivalent to an effective new drug coming upon the scene. (By the way, all the patients, whose mean age was 62, were already taking anti–inflammatory medications, such as Prednisone or Methotrexate.)

A mysterious finding was that, although the patients responded so well to prayer, two of the markers remained unchanged; these were the blood markers (the ESR and the CRP). This doesn't seem to make sense and is one of the areas about which we hope to learn more in the future.

Another significant positive finding was that the patients' improvement did not diminish in the follow–up examinations during the subsequent year. If we had administered a new drug, the results would have peaked during the three days of prayer and then disappeared over the course of time. Instead, the patients maintained the degree of healing they experienced. This is, in itself, extraordinary.

Many of you have seen the half–hour videotape of the prayer sessions, which is very moving as you see the improvements happen right before your eyes. In fact, it seemed that two of the patients, Bill and Marcia, experienced dramatic, visible improvement. We still do not have the rights to this powerful documentation, but Dr. Matthews is working on getting permission for us to release the video ( entitled "Shall We Pray?") through our bookstore. When it becomes available, we shall surely let you know.

Dr. Matthews is hoping, as we all are, that this study will gain the attention of the medical community, now that it finally has been published. So please let your friends in the medical community know the results of this fascinating study showing how Jesus can cure or make better an apparently incurable physical condition!

Note: P value refers to the statistical probabilities of these results being due to chance. Anything less than P<. 05 is considered significant. In other words, there is only one chance in 10,000 that these results (0001) are due to chance.
ESR = erythrocyte sedimentation rate
CRP = C–reactive protein
You can get an evaluation of the study via the Internet on www.sma.org. Click on "Library of Back Issues," then ''December 2000."

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Spring 2001 Issue