Faith-Based > Laying-on Hands

List ISHAR Online Sources: Faith-Based > Laying-on Hands


Functional Summary


  • Mind/Body

Spiritual leader, or congregation of spiritual people physically place their hands on an individual and channel spiritual power.


  • Restoration
  • Optimization

Invokes spiritual power for the purpose of healing, blessing, or ordaining.


  • Ancient Jewish
  • Christian

Used to empower ancient Hebrew leaders, according to Biblical texts.

Contemporary Christians practice for a variety of purposes.


Topic Summary

While used in the ancient Hebrew tradition to ordain priests, for example, Moses’ transfer of power to Joshua by laying on of hands, this practice is mostly used by contemporary Christians with New Testament writings as their basis. Laying on of hands can be used for a number of purposes including commissioning for God’s work, giving spiritual gifts, baptism, healing, and blessing.

Though practices differ around the world, Christianity generally has six guiding principles for laying on of hands based on scriptural instances. First is a blessing. In every instance, the group or individual seeks to encourage and bring God’s favor upon the receiver of the laying on of hands. Second is spiritual authority. Those that lay on hands should have some degree of spiritual authority over the receiver. Third is group unity. Laying on of hands is always performed in the presence of a group. Fourth is transference, wherein authority or power is transferred to the next generation. Next is personal relationship. In every Biblical instance of laying on of hands, the receivers were specially selected and personally known. The final guiding principle is representation. This is a blend of the previous five principles and essentially means that those who received the laying on of hands went forth to represent the group as a figure of authority.

Those key aspects of laying on of hands from the Bible guide its use by contemporary Christians; as Jesus and Paul are cited using the practice for healing, believers are encouraged to also use it for that purpose.


Research Summary

Studies on this practice are scarce as many in the scientific and medical community consider laying on of hands to be a purely spiritual act with no clinical benefit. Further complicating matters is that the faith-based nature of this practice make its effects difficult to measure by objective outsiders.


ISHAR strives to present all of our data in an impartial, informative manner.  Nonetheless, there are always different viewpoints on various topics, and ISHAR encourages users to review the perspectives on other informational sites, then come to their own conclusions regarding what they consider the least biased.  The sites below were chosen to represent a wide spectrum of approaches to this topic, and none are endorsed or promoted by ISHAR itself.


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