Reducing Stress Among Caregivers

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36. Health Benefits of Prayer

Source: American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry – Caring for a loved one with dementia and surviving their death are two of the most stressful events that we can experience. At the University of Pittsburg, researchers looked at the role of religion among more than 1,200 caregivers.

They found that three aspects of faith reduced caregiver stress, improved mood, and fostered a brighter outlook: attendance at religious services, private prayer or meditation, and strength of personal beliefs. For bereaved caregivers, frequently attending religious services had the greatest impact.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT)Matthew 11:28 NLT 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 our Lord 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 said, and “take my yoke upon you.” Following Lord Jesus would not be a free ride; Lord Jesus 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, Lord Jesus asked for more than mere obedience to the law. Discipleship requires extraordinary effort. These words focused on Lord 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.” Lord Jesus, their leader and example, was also the ultimate servant, humble and gentle. His path of humble service is the pattern for us to follow.

Reference: The Mind Health Report – Special Report from Newsmax

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

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