2.   Health Benefits of Prayer

Source:   Psychological Bulletin – Prayer affects regions of the brain that improve self-control, and people who view their goals as sacred put more effort and energy into attaining them.

Spiritually:   The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) James 1:2-4 stated, “Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. 3 For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4 So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – How can a person consider trouble as an opportunity for joy? This is a remarkable command – we are to choose to be joyful in situations where joy would naturally be our last response. When certain circumstances make us angry and we want to blame the Lord, James directs us to the healthier alternative – joy. Those who trust in God ought to exhibit a dramatically different, positive response to the difficult events of life.

Our attitude is to be one of genuine rejoicing. This is not joyful anticipation for trials. Instead, it is joy during trials. The joy is based on confidence in the outcome of the trial. It is the startling realization that trials represent the possibility of growth. In contrast, most people are happy when they escape trials. But James encourages us to have pure joy in the very face of trials. James is not encouraging believers to pretend to be happy. Rejoicing goes beyond happiness. Happiness centers on earthly circumstances and how well things are going here. Joy centers on God and His presence in our experience.

The word whenever doesn’t allow much room for doubt. We are urged to be joyful not if we face trouble, but whenever. Trials, problems, situations can be joy robbers if we lack the proper attitude. Where does this trouble come from? The troubles and trials we face can be hardships from without or temptations from within. A trouble may be a hard situation that tests a person’s faith such as persecution, a difficult moral choice, or a tragedy. Life’s trail is marked with such trials. Enduring one trial is not enough. God’s purpose in allowing this process is to develop complete maturity in us.

Considering your troubles to be joy comes from seeing life with God’s perspective in mind. We may not be able to understand the specific reasons for God’s allowing certain experiences to crush us or wear us down, but we can be confident that His plan is for our good. What may look hopeless or impossible to us never looks that way to God!

It is not our nature to endure. When it comes to trials, we would rather escape, explain, or exit the difficulty. In fact, we will tend to do almost anything to avoid enduring a trial. Faithful endurance, however, generates whole people, recognized as strong in character, or mature. We will be seasoned, experienced, well-developed, fit for the tasks God sent us into the world to do. This strength is a quality developed by how much we have learned from the trials we have experienced. We are also ready for anything because we have been fully trained. The weaknesses and imperfections are being removed from our character; we are gaining victory over old sins; we are demonstrating a sense of competence about life. This completeness relates to the breadth of our experience.

Finally, we will go through this together against this pandemic – Chinese/Wuhan/Coronavirus/COVI-19. We will walk through this darkness through the power of the Holy Spirit and God’s Words.

“Stay-At-Home” and follow the White House Federal guidelines. Hear in Texas, we are in Phase 1, and looking forward to Phase 2 & 3. The Light is at the end of the tunnel. Anyway, Fear not! Don’t be afraid, Be smart and courageous, vigilant against this pandemic, in Jesus name. Amen! Let’s rejoice!

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer