28.   Health Benefits of Prayer

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Source: International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine – Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition associated with stress and marked by pain in joints, muscles, and tendons, severe fatigue, and an inability to get a good night’s rest. Malfunction of the fight-or-flight hormone cortisol, which enables us to deal with stress in day-to-day life, is one of its characteristics. A study of 91 women with fibromyalgia, at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, found that those who had stronger religious beliefs had healthier levels of cortisol, enabling them to be more resilient to stress.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) Matthew 11:28-30 stated, “28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies) – While those wise and learned in their own eyes are blinded to the truth (Matthew 11:25-26), our Lord Jesus Christ invites those who are weary and carry heavy burdens. The “wise and learned” Pharisees had placed so many rules and regulations on the people that religion had become like “labor,” and a life of devotion to the Law had become a burden to carry (see Matthew 23:1-4). But Lord Jesus invited the “little ones,” true disciples with eyes open to see the truth, to come to Him and find rest from these labors. Our Lord Jesus Christ was clearly admonishing them to abandon Pharisaic legalism and join Him. Those who follow Jesus Christ will find refreshment in their renewed relationship with Him, freedom from guilt over sin, deliverance from fear and despair, and the promise of continued help and guidance from the Holy Spirit. (See Hebrews 3–4 for more on the New Testament view of rest.)

A yoke is a heavy wooden harness that fits over the shoulders of animals, such as oxen, that is attached to a piece of equipment that the animals are to pull. The law was a “yoke” that was considered hard to bear. Our Lord Jesus Christ used the familiar phrasing used of the law as an invitation to discipleship. “Take off the burdensome yoke of the Pharisee-styled law,” Lord Jesus Christ said, and “take my yoke upon you.” Following Lord Jesus Christ would not be a free ride; Lord Jesus Christ had already described the persecution and rejection His followers could expect (Matthew 10:17-42). They were not free from all constraints; they would carry a yoke, but it would be light. Again, this did not belittle the importance or difficulty of carrying out His mission; indeed, Jesus asked for more than mere obedience to the law. Discipleship requires extraordinary effort. These words focused on Jesus’ care and concern for his followers, his promise of guidance and presence (Matthew 28:20), and the ultimate future rewards.

Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “Let me teach you.” Our Lord Jesus Christ, our God, our Comforter, and example, was also the ultimate servant, humble and gentle. His path of humble service is the pattern for us to follow.

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