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37. Health Benefits of Prayer

Source: Preventive Medicine – At the University of Texas, researchers examined whether people who frequently attend religious services take more action to maintain good health, compared to those who attend less frequently or not at all.

Among 1,504 Texas adults, they found that those who attended church once a week were approximately 60 percent more likely to get regular physical and dental exams and to routinely take vitamins; about half as likely to go to bars; twice as likely to regularly use seat belts; 73 percent more likely to walk; 84 percent more likely to do strenuous exercise; and 49 percent more likely to get restful sleep.

Those who attended religious services more than once per week were half as likely to smoke and nearly three times as likely to drink alcohol only occasionally or moderately, rather than being heavier drinkers.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT)Matthew 9:12-13 stated, “12 When Jesus heard this, He said, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor – sick people do.” 13 Then He added, “Now go and learn the meaning of this Scripture: ‘I want you to show mercy, not offer sacrifices.’ For I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – The Pharisees’ question apparently made its way to Lord Jesus’ ears. The first part of Lord Jesus’ answer was from a common proverb. Healthy people don’t need a doctor; the doctor’s waiting room is filled with sick people. Lord Jesus then told these self-righteous Pharisees to go and learn, implying that they did not understand their own Scriptures. The Pharisees thought they knew Scripture perfectly; Lord Jesus told them to go back and study again the words of God spoken through the prophet Hosea, “I want you to be merciful; I don’t want your sacrifices” (Hosea 6:6). God did not want the Israelites’ rituals; He wanted their hearts. Lord Jesus challenged the Pharisees to apply Hosea’s words to themselves. God wants a heart attitude that includes a right relationship with him and with others, an attitude that reaches out to those in physical and spiritual need.

Our Lord Jesus Christ did not come to call those who think they are already good enough (like these Pharisees), for the self-righteous do not recognize their sinfulness. But these sinners saw their need. Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Physician, healed people of physical illnesses, but He knew that all people are spiritually sick and in need of salvation.

Reference: The Mind Health Report – Special Report from Newsmax

THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries