Improving Mood and Outlook

29.   Health Benefits of Prayer

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Source: Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease – Numerous studies have found a strong connection between deeply held religious beliefs and less likelihood and incidence of depression. For example, a study of more than 600 middle-age and older adults, by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, examined how both men and women experienced the influence of religious beliefs that protected them against symptoms of depression.

Researchers found that these were some of the protective experiences: “I feel God’s presence,” and “I feel comfort in my religion or spirituality.” Benefits were comparable for both men and women.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) Ephesians 6:18 stated, “18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – This verse, although not naming another “weapon” in the believer’s armor, does continue the thought of Ephesians 6:17. As we take the sword of the Holy Spirit, God’s word, we must also pray at all times and on every occasion in the power of the Holy Spirit. Praying in the Spirit means that the Holy Spirit helps us when we pray (Romans 8:26); the Holy Spirit prays on our behalf (Romans 8:27); the Holy Spirit makes God accessible (Ephesians 2:18); the Holy Spirit gives us confidence when we pray (Romans 8:15-16; Galatians 4:6). He inspires and guides us when we pray. He helps us communicate with God and also brings God’s response to us.

Paul was giving the how-tos for taking up the armor described in the previous verses. We must not underestimate Satan’s forces. He will strike in different ways at different people; thus, we need to pray “all kinds” of prayers, allowing for all kinds of requests. Satan will attack at various times, but he will always be attacking someone. Satan will attack when we least expect it, so we need to stay alert to prayer needs when they arise. Satan will rarely let up if he thinks he can win the battle, so Born-Again Christian believers must be persistent in praying, no matter how long it takes. No believer is exempt from being Satan’s target – Satan demands battle against his enemies (we as Born-Again Christian believers). Thus, all Christians everywhere need our prayer support.

How can anyone pray at all times? Make quick, brief prayers our habitual response to every situation we meet throughout the day. Order our life around God’s desires and teachings so that our very lives become all kinds of prayers. We can make prayer our life and our life a prayer while living in a world that needs God’s powerful influence.

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

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