22. Health Benefits of Prayer
Source: Psychosomatic Medicine – Giving help brought about greater benefits than receiving help. Helping others through one’s religious activities increases satisfaction and improves one’s outlook on physical and spiritual lives.
Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) – Galatians 6:7-10 stated, “7 Don’t be misled – you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. 10 Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially to those in the family of faith.”
Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – This sentence, inserted within Paul’s flow of thought regarding money, gives a general principle about the attitudes of kindness, giving, and sharing. While people can deceive one another, and even themselves, about their motives and attitudes for giving, they cannot deceive God. Paul said that these believers themselves must not be misled. People can’t ignore God and get away with it. What they sow, they will reap. Sow means “spread, utilize, invest.” Whatever we use as key values determines the course of our life. Jesus taught the importance of investing our time and utilizing our resources wisely for the Kingdom (Matthew 6:19-21).
While believers have received God’s special blessings and promises, God does not change the positive and negative of the natural law that people will reap what they sow. From farming to finances, this saying holds true (Proverbs 22:8). A farmer plants corn and grows corn; he should not expect nor desire anything else. Believers must decide what crop they want and plant accordingly, for what they get back will be directly related to what they put in, as Paul explains in the next verse.
Believers who use their lives and sow their resources to satisfy their own sinful desires will earn a harvest of decay and death. Those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:21). When we sow to the flesh, we bring these seeds of destruction into our life. Born-Again Christian believers who sow their resources and invest their lives to please the Holy Spirit have a far different harvest. They will reap everlasting life.
How do we sow “to please the Holy Spirit”? When we use our resources to grow spiritually and to support the Lord’s work so that others can enter the Kingdom and grow spiritually, we are sowing to please the Holy Spirit. Why? Because our harvest results in spiritual growth and souls reached for the Kingdom; thus, our harvest lasts forever. This kind of stewardship of our resources can only be done through the power of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit controls a believer’s life, the results are amazing. As Galatians 5:22-23 pointed out, the fruit borne in a believer is life-changing. That change will affect the believer’s handling of money, use of talent, and investment of time.
While good works will never earn salvation, Paul did encourage believers to persist in doing what is good. While we do good, we should not get discouraged and give up. To continue the analogy of sowing and reaping, a farmer will have no harvest to reap if he becomes too weary to labor in the fields or if he gives up altogether. The harvest will not reap itself. Every aspect of farming, planting, maintaining, and finally the harvesting takes hard work. So, too, Born-Again Christian believers must not become discouraged and give up when they follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance, grow spiritually, and do good for God’s Kingdom. While it may seem at times like a losing battle [Corona Virus/COVID-19], we are assured that we will reap a harvest of blessing at the appropriate time, in God’s timetable.
What kind of harvest did the apostle have in mind? A Christian will reap a harvest of present blessings: the fruit of the Spirit, well-instructed believers, restored sinners, and mutual support. But ultimately he or she will reap the harvest of eternal life in the Holy Spirit (Galatians 6:8). Though the appropriate time is the time of God’s own choosing, Paul was most likely referring to the time of the fulfillment of God’s promises at Christ’s second coming (1 Timothy 6:15).
Every time we have the opportunity to do good, we should do it. The timing for doing good is always right. The opportunity is not optional. We are to treat it as strategically placed by God in our path. Our settings may continually change, but each one will bring a fresh opportunity for helping and serving.
God calls Born-Again Christian believers to do good to everyone, believers and nonbelievers alike. The fruit of the Holy Spirit must be shared with both the Christian and the non-Christian world. Some fields may be very difficult to “work,” but our purpose should be to sow goodness anyway!
If Paul still had in mind our financial responsibility, we should be willing to help others financially whenever we are able. But we should focus particularly on the needs of our Christian brothers and sisters. The Christian family extends far beyond the walls of a particular church or the limits of a particular denomination to include all true believers.
When Paul told individual believers to “do good,” he spoke to their responsibility in the community as well as in the church. The church is not meant to become merely a social agency, but individual believers can work together in meeting social needs, giving time and resources as God calls and enables them. Sowing seeds of kindness to those in need expresses our Lord Jesus Christ’s love and prepares hearts to receive the Gospel.
He left the Galatians with a strong word-picture of the Cross of Jesus Christ. The decision that faced his readers was not really between two competing voices of authority; rather, the choice was between denying the Cross or finding through it the only true Way [Jesus Christ] of life [see John 14:6 below]
John 14:6 says, Jesus told him, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.”
Our Lord Jesus Christ replied: “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” Jesus’ response shows that the destination is not a physical place but a person (the Father), and that the way to that destination is another person (the Son). Jesus is the Way to the Father; Jesus is the Truth (or reality) of all God’s promises; and Jesus is the Life as He joins His divine life to ours, both now and eternally. Jesus is the Way that leads to the Truth and Life.
Our Lord Jesus’ exclusive claim is unmistakable. It forces an unconditional response. Lord Jesus Christ invites people to accept or reject Him, making it clear that partial acceptance is rejection. His self-description invalidates alternative plans of salvation. Some would say that a single way is entirely too restrictive. But that attitude fails to see the desperate state of the human condition. That there is a way at all is evidence of God’s grace and love. The state of human rebellion can be seen in this: We are like people drowning at sea who are graciously thrown a life-saving rope but who respond by insisting that we deserve a choice of several ropes along with the option of swimming to safety if we so choose.
THE PRIORITY OF PRAYER by Dr. Charles Stanley of InTouch Ministries https://www.intouch.org/watch/the-priority-of-prayer