The Curative Power of Prayer: Happy Science Doctrine and the Theoretical and Theological base for Prayer-based Health Interventions (pp. 129-154)
Authors: (Hakuun Kurokawa, Yasunori Matsumoto, Jiro Imai, T. S. Anderson, Yoichi Chida, Faculty of Human Happiness, Happy Science University, Department of Medical Science, Happy Smile Clinic, Takatsu-ku, Kawasaki city, Kanagawa, Japan)
Abstract: Recent decades have witnessed a tremendous increase in scientific interest regarding
the relationship between religion, or spirituality, and health. This trend may be viewed as
part of a larger movement to investigate the efficacy of prayer on health in the field of
complementary and alternative medicine. In particular intercessory prayer, or prayer
offered for the sake of others, has been the subject of a number of critical scholarly
reviews which identify this latter as having been practiced by many faiths and among the
oldest and most commonly used interventions to alleviate illness. Such research is
ongoing but, to date, the findings have been equivocal. While results from some
individual studies suggest that intercessory prayer may have a positive effect, the
majority of studies do not, nor does the evidence they present support a recommendation
either in favour of or against the use of intercessory prayer. Cochrane Committee reviews
and other reports in the literature have suggested that heterogeneity of trial procedures,
followed by the heterogeneity of prayee illness types treated, are the two most significant
factors preventing the medical field from properly acknowledging the efficacy of prayerbased
health interventions. Moreover, a major difficulty here may be that the prayer
literature provides no unified theoretical or theological basis from which to make such
claims. Thus, firstly, this paper reviewed the diverse existing articulations of a theoretical
base for prayer intervention in the medical field from the standpoint of physiological and
psychological mechanisms. Secondly, in preparation to address that gap, we introduced
the doctrine behind Happy Science, a religious movement founded by Master Ryuho
Okawa in 1986 that has since grown into one of the most influential religious
organizations in Japan, with a global membership base as well extending to more than
100 countries worldwide. Thirdly, we then directly addressed the gap in the literature on
intercessory prayer by proposing the following set of five theological factors, taken from
Happy Science theory and said to determine the effectiveness of prayer interventions: (1)
strength of faith, (2) a becalmed state of mind, (3) readiness to pursue self-help measures,
(4) a wish likely to be approved by guiding spirits, and (5) a positive spiritual
environment. We have also reported several outstanding cases in which those with severe
disorders were reported to have been miraculously cured, thanks to the use of Happy
Science prayers. Finally, we suggested reasons why the efficacy of prayer intervention on
disease differs statistically among different scientific research groups located worldwide.
Undoubtedly, further research will be needed in order to fully corroborate our
suggestions. It is nonetheless hoped that this first report will make those future steps
easier to take.
Open Access item.
Click below PDF icon for free download.
This is an Open Access item. Click above PDF icon for free download.