Having a Happier Marriage

47. Health Benefits of Prayer

Christie G Busuego & Elias A Busuego Jr PhD DTM – 40th Wedding Anniversary on May 21, 2020

Source: Journal of Marriage and Family – Couples who share religious beliefs, practices, and affiliations are happier than those with different or no religious orientation, according to a study of nearly 1,400 Americans between the ages of 19 and 59, conducted by the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia. The happiest couples think, discuss, and practice their beliefs in the home, rather than only attending church or fellowship services.

Earlier research has identified three ways in which religion or spirituality enhances marriages:

  • By promoting ethical behavior [the Golden rule] and forgiveness;
  • by providing a family-oriented social network [Home Fellowship Church (family church)]
  • and by bringing a sense of meaning and purpose to life, which increases resilience to stress.

Christie and I was with our son Christopher, his wife Taylor, and daughter Zarah Rose

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) Matthew 19:1-12 stated about, “Discussion about Divorce and Marriage
1 When Jesus had finished saying these things, He left Galilee and went down to the region of Judea east of the Jordan River. 2 Large crowds followed Him there, and He healed their sick.
3 Some Pharisees came and tried to trap Him with this question: “Should a man be allowed to divorce his wife for just any reason?” 4 “Haven’t you read the Scriptures?” Jesus replied. “They record that from the beginning ‘God made them male and female.’ 5 And He said, ‘This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife, and the two are united into one.’ 6 Since they are no longer two but one, let no one split apart what God has joined together.” 7 “Then why did Moses say in the law that a man could give his wife a written notice of divorce and send her away?” they asked. 8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted divorce only as a concession to your hard hearts, but it was not what God had originally intended. 9 And I tell you this, whoever divorces his wife and marries someone else commits adultery – unless his wife has been unfaithful.” 10 Jesus’ disciples then said to Him, “If this is the case, it is better not to marry!” 11 “Not everyone can accept this statement,” Jesus said. “Only those whom God helps. 12 Some are born as eunuchs, some have been made eunuchs by others, and some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – The Pharisees hoped to trap our Lord Jesus Christ by getting Him to choose sides in a theological controversy regarding divorce. The debate focused on Moses’ words about divorce in Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Some thought a man could divorce his wife for almost any reason. Others thought that a man could divorce his wife only if she had been unfaithful to him. If Jesus were to support divorce, He would be upholding the Pharisees’ procedures; they doubted that Jesus would do that. If Jesus were to choose sides in the controversy, some members of the crowd would dislike His position, for some may have used the law to their advantage to divorce their wives. Or, if He were to speak against divorce altogether, he would appear to be speaking against Moses.

The Pharisees had quoted Moses’ writings in Deuteronomy; our Lord Jesus Christ also quoted from Moses’ writings (Genesis 1:27; 2:24), but He went back to Genesis, the beginning, referring to the ideal state of creation and particularly of marriage. In creating male and female, God’s plan was that in marriage the husband and wife are united into one. The wife is not property, but a person created in God’s image. Jesus drew a distinction: God’s creation of marriage and his absolute command that it be a permanent union versus the provisions written hundreds of years later that tolerated divorce because of people’s utter sinfulness (Matthew 19:8). The Pharisees regarded Deuteronomy 24:1 as a proof text for divorce. But our Lord Jesus Christ focused on marriage rather than divorce. The Pharisees regarded divorce as a legal issue rather than a spiritual one; marriage and divorce were merely transactions similar to buying and selling land (with women being treated as property). But our Lord Jesus Christ condemned this attitude, clarifying God’s original intention; that marriage bring unity that no one should separate.

The Pharisees asked why Moses allowed divorce. They wondered if our Lord Jesus Christ was saying that Moses had written laws contrary to God’s commands. In reality, Moses had instituted divorce laws to help its victims. Under Jewish law, only a husband could initiate and carry out a divorce. The civil laws protected the women, who, in that culture, were quite vulnerable when living alone. Because of Moses’ law, a man could no longer just throw his wife out – he had to write an official letter of divorce so she could remarry and reclaim her dowry, money or property. This was a major step toward civil rights for women, for it made a man think twice before sending his wife away. Moses’ words gave protection to the wife and limited abuses of divorce.

In Moses’ time, as well as in our Lord Jesus’ day and today, the practice of marriage fell far short of God’s intention. Our Lord Jesus Christ said that Moses permitted divorce only because of people’s hard-hearted wickedness, referring to a stubborn, willful attitude. Many refused to follow through with their marriages as God had intended, so God allowed divorce as a concession to their sinfulness. Our Lord Jesus Christ turned the Pharisees’ “test” question back on them by using it as an opportunity to review God’s intended purpose for marriage and to expose their spiteful motives in testing our Lord Jesus Christ.

Our Lord Jesus Christ had clearly explained that divorce dissolves a divinely formed union. Some men were divorcing in order to get remarried. The rabbis’ interpretation of Moses’ law permitted remarriage after divorce, but our Lord Jesus Christ explained that marriage after divorce is adultery. However, He gave one exception: unless the wife has been unfaithful (see also Matthew 5:32). Scholars agree that our Lord Jesus’ words refer to both husbands and wives; that is, the unfaithfulness of one could be grounds for divorce by the other (see Mark 10:12).

While the application of our Lord Jesus’ words requires interpretation to specific situations, one truth is inescapable: God created marriage to be a sacred, permanent union and partnership between husband and wife. When both husband and wife enter this union with that understanding and commitment, they can provide security for each other, a stable home for their children, and strength to weather any of life’s storms or stresses.

The disciples believed our Lord Jesus Christ upheld such an impossible standard that it would be better for people not to marry than to enter into the covenant of marriage. It seemed better not to make the vow than to make the vow and not be able to keep it.

The high ideal of marriage was not for everyone, but only those whom God helps. Those given that responsibility are expected to adhere to it. There are some to whom this gift of marriage is not given. A “eunuch” is an emasculated male – a man with no testicles. Some are born as eunuchs, who perhaps had physical limitations that prevented their marrying. Others were made that way by others, such as those servants who, in ancient cultures, were castrated in order to serve the master without sexual distractions. Some choose not to marry for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven, voluntarily remaining abstinent because, in their particular situation, they could serve God better as single people. Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself would be in this category, as was the apostle Paul.

Elias A & Christie G Busuego Families – Year 2011

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

Improving Family Relationship

32. Health Benefits of Prayer

Elias A & Christie G Busuego Families > Four Children, Four In-Laws, and Seven Grandchildren – May 21, 2020

Source: Sociological Quarterly – Compared to non-religious teenagers, those who find meaning and importance in religion, and continue to do so during their teen years, experience a better relationship with each parent. And, the whole family has a more satisfying relationship. However, when parents try to enforce beliefs that the children do not share or easily accept, relationships can worsen.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) -“Spirit-Guided Relationships: Wives and HusbandsEphesians 5:21-30 says,
“21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. 22 For wives, this means submit your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything. 25 For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up His life for her 26 to make her holy and clean, washed by the cleansing of God’s word. 27 He did this to present her to Himself as a glorious church without a spot or wrinkle or any other blemish. Instead, she will be holy and without fault. 28 In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself. 29 No one hates his own body but feeds and cares for it, just as Christ cares for the church. 30 And we are members of His body.

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – People often misunderstand the concept of submitting to another person. It does not mean becoming totally passive. Our Lord Jesus Christ – at whose name every knee will bow (Philippians 2:10) – submitted His will to the Father, and we honor our Lord Jesus Christ by following His example. When we submit to God, we become more willing to obey His command to submit to others, that is, to subordinate our rights to theirs. In Paul’s day, women, children, and slaves were to submit to the head of the family – slaves would submit until they were freed, male children until they grew up, and women and girls their whole lives. Paul emphasized the equality of all believers in Christ (Galatians 3:28), but he counseled all believers to submit to one another by choice. This kind of mutual submission preserves order and harmony.

Submission provides evidence that we have Spirit-controlled relationships, and it requires the Holy Spirit’s guidance and restraint (Ephesians 4:2-3). In the church, the believers should be willing to learn from, serve, give to, or be corrected by others in the fellowship. Such submission can allow growth both individually and corporately as the believers seek to follow Christ. Our motive should be reverence (literally, “fear”) for Christ. We should not treat one another rightly just because it is expected or because we will be well regarded but because one day we must give account to Christ of how we have lived.

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Calming Anger

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30. Health Benefits of Prayer

Source: Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin – Anger not only detracts from human relationships but is also associated with increased health risks, because it puts our stress reaction into overdrive, can raise blood pressure, and if frequent or chronic, can damage the brain. Studies at Ohio State University have found that praying for the well-being of the person with whom one is angry, or even praying for someone else, calms anger and fosters positive emotions and attitudes, such as compassion, that improve overall health.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) Ephesians 4:31 stated, “31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – The sins listed in this verse picture the former way of life, the old nature (Ephesians 4:22). None of these attitudes and activities have any place in a believer’s Holy Spirit-filled life; indeed, they foster dissension today and are the opposite of how believers should be characterized (see Ephesians 4:32).

In our lives and in our fellowship churches, we as Born-Again Christian believers must get rid of:

  • Bitterness – a spirit that refuses reconciliation.
  • Rage – outbursts of anger or quick temper for selfish reasons. This could mean continual and uncontrolled behavior.
  • Anger – a continuous attitude of hatred that remains bottled up within. This could refer to what is under the surface, while “rage” refers to what bursts out. Anger would destroy harmony and unity among believers.
  • Harsh words – loud self-assertions of angry people determined to make their grievances known.
  • Slander – destroying another person’s good reputation by lying, gossiping, spreading rumors, etc. Malice often manifests itself through slander. This defamation of character destroys human relationships.
  • Malicious behavior – doing evil despite the good that has been received. This word is a general term referring to an evil force that destroys relationships, and it can mean anything from trouble to wickedness. It is a deliberate attempt to harm another person. Thus, all types of malice must be destroyed.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

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

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

Reducing Stress in Fibromyalgia Patients

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

Shortening Hospital Stays for Heart Surgery, Healings for COVID-19 Patients

27.   Health Benefits of Prayer


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Source: Health Psychology , Samaritan’s Purse – People with stronger religious and/or spiritual beliefs who had heart surgery and sick of coronavirus had fewer complications and, as a result, shorter hospital stays, and most got healed after treating them with therapy medicine and effective and powerful prayer.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) James 5:13-16 stated, “13 Are any of you suffering hardships? You should pray. Are any of you happy? You should sing praises. 14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. 16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. “

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies) – There are many responses to suffering. Some of us worry; some of us vow revenge against those who have caused the suffering; some of us let anger burn inside us. Some grumble. But James says the correct response to suffering is to keep on praying about it (see also Psalms 30; 50:15; 91:15). This is not necessarily a prayer for deliverance from the trouble, but for the patience and strength to endure it. If we are fortunate enough to be happy, we should thank God by singing praises to the Lord (see also 1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Because our praise is directed to God, singing is actually another form of prayer.

One characteristic of the early church was its concern over and care for the sick. Here James encourages the sick to call for the elders of the church for counseling and prayer. The elders were spiritually mature people responsible for overseeing local churches (see 1 Peter 5:1-4). The elders would pray over the sick person, calling upon the Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord for healing. Then they would anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. As the elders prayed they were to voice clearly that the power for healing resided in the name of Jesus. Christ. Anointing was often used by the early church in their prayers for healing. In Scripture, oil was both a medicine (see the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:30-37) and a symbol of the Spirit of God (as used in anointing kings; see 1 Samuel 16:1-13). Thus the oil may have been a sign of the power of prayer, and it may have symbolized the setting apart of the sick person for God’s special attention.

The prayer must be from the heart, sincere, with trust in and obedience to God behind it, and with no doubting, as in James 1:5-8. The faith is the role of the elders who are praying, not the sick person’s (nothing is said about his or her faith). It is possible that the sick person’s faith is exercised in calling the elders. Also, if there is need for confession, the elders will be able to minister to the individual. The process insures dependence of believers on each other.

Not the elders or the oil, but the Lord Himself does the healing. Does this mean that every prayer for healing guarantees that God will make the sick person well? It must be emphasized here that the prayer offered is a prayer offered in faith – not only the faith that believes God can heal, but also the faith that expresses absolute confidence in God’s will. A true prayer of faith will acknowledge God’s sovereignty in his answer to that prayer. It is not always God’s will to heal those who are ill (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-9). A prayer for healing must be qualified with a recognition that God’s will is supreme.

Sin may or may not be the cause of the illness, but an opportunity for confession is given, and the elders are there to receive it. No demand of confession is given, but the opportunity is given that anyone who has committed sins will be forgiven. This condition is important because all too often we are prone to assume that sin is the cause of someone’s suffering. The Bible teaches that sin can cause sickness (see Mark 2:1-12; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 11:27-30), but it also notes clearly that this is not always the case (see John 9:2-3).

It is not God’s plan that His people be alone. Members of our Lord Jesus Christ’s body should be able to count on others for support and prayer, especially when they are sick or suffering. The elders should be on call to respond to the illness of any member, and the church should stay alert to pray for the healing of any who are sick. But we are often not only guilty of hesitating to lean on each other in our sicknesses and weaknesses. We are even more liable not to confess our sins to each other.

The recent emphasis on small groups within churches especially home fellowships has risen largely especially with this pandemic COVID-19 > from a need to recapture some of these basic features of life in the body of Christ that have been neglected. When Born-Again Christians are really working to “share each other’s troubles and problems,” the world does take note, and we come closer to fulfilling “the law of Christ” (see Galatians 6:2). Loving your neighbor as yourself does include, above all else, praying for him or her.

The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results because the person who is praying is righteous. The person is not sinless, but he or she has confessed known sins to God and is completely committed to Him and trying to do His will. Again, we can say that the righteous people get what they want in prayer because they want what God wants.

The Christian’s most powerful resource is communication with God through prayer. It is the instrument of healing and forgiveness and is a mighty weapon for spiritual warfare. [See Ephesians 6:10-18].The results are often greater than we thought were possible. Some people see prayer as a last resort, to be tried when all else fails. Our priorities are the reverse of God’s. Prayer should come first. God is pleased to use our prayers to accomplish His purposes and He delights in answering our needs, but He is never bound by our prayers. God’s power is infinitely greater than ours, so it only makes sense to rely on it – especially because God encourages us to do so.

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


Protecting Against Age-Related Mental Decline

26.   Health Benefits of Prayer



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Source: The Journals of Gerontology Series – Researchers at Yale University School of Medicine studied more than 2,000 people over age 65 and found that those who attended religious services and/or fellowships were less likely  to lose their mental  faculties in the following few years. Religious people and/or spiritual people were also less likely to become physically disabled.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) Hebrews 13:1-3 stated, “1 Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. 2 Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it! 3 Remember those in prison, as if you were there yourself. Remember also those being mistreated, as if you felt their pain in your own bodies.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies The first command is: continue to love each other with true Christian love. The early Christians faced persecution and hatred from the world; hopefully, within the church and in the fellowship of believers, they should be able to find love and encouragement. The church ought to be a haven for believers. The command for believers to love one another was not new (see Leviticus 19:18; John 13:34-35). We as Born-Again Christian believers are to love one another based on our Lord Jesus Christ’s sacrificial love for us. Such love brings people to Christ and will keep believers strong and united in a world hostile to God. Our Lord Jesus Christ was a living example of God’s love, and we are to be living examples of JLord esus’ love (see also Romans 12:10; 1 Thessalonians 4:9; 1 Peter 1:22; 2 Peter 1:7).

The second command is to show hospitality to strangers. This kind of hospitality was important because inns of that day were expensive, as well as being centers for pagan practices and criminal activities. This hospitality also helped spread the Gospel because traveling missionaries would be able to go to more places and minister to more people if they did not have to stay in inns. These “strangers” to be entertained, however, were not to be people who worked against God’s Kingdom; that is, believers were not to welcome false teachers into their homes (2 John 1:10-11; 3 John 1:5-9). A further encouragement to this kind of hospitality comes from the biblical record that, through their hospitality, some have entertained angels without realizing it. This happened to Abraham (Genesis 18:1-14) and Lot (Genesis 19:1-3). That hospitality was given to and received by angels shows the importance of the hospitality Christians ought to give one another. It is better to offer hospitality generously than to miss the chance to entertain angels.

The third command focuses on those in prison. This instruction was already alluded to in 10:32-34. Believers are to have empathy for prisoners, especially for (but not limited to) Christians imprisoned for their faith. Our Lord Jesus Christ said that His followers would represent Him as they visited people in prison (Matthew 25:36). Others who were mistreated—beaten, robbed, assaulted, humiliated—also needed to be remembered.

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

Protecting Teens Against Meningitis

25.   Health Benefits of Prayer


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Source: British Medical Journal – Researchers at the University of London in England examined nearly 300 patients between the ages of 15 and 19 and found that attending religious services and/or fellowships was associated with approximately 90 (%) percent less likelihood of meningitis (inflammation of the membranes of the brain and spinal cord). Such a risk reduction was slightly greater  than the associated with meningtis vaccine.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) 2 Corinthians 12:9 stated, “9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies Our Lord Jesus’ answer to Paul’s prayer is the theme of 2 Corinthians: Jesus Christ’s gracious favor is what empowered Paul’s ministry, despite his own inadequacies and failures. Although Paul’s request wasn’t granted, Lord Jesus assured Him that He would continue to work through Paul in his weakness. In fact, Jesus Christ’s power worked best there. So in response, Paul accepted that Lord Jesus Christ, in His divine wisdom, knew what was best for him. Paul would not boast in being healed, but he would boast about his weaknesses, for it was through his weaknesses that Lord Jesus Christ could powerfully work through him.

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

Lowering Blood Pressure

24.   Health Benefits of Prayer

hand touching glass

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Source: International Journal of of Psychiatry Medicine – Researchers at Duke University tracked nearly 4,000 people age 65 and older and found 40 percent less risk of elevated blood pressure among those who prayed or studied the Bible daily and attended religious services and/or fellowships at least once a week. Another study of nearly 15,000 American adults showed that regular attendance at religious services and/or fellowships was associated with lower blood pressure.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) Hebrews 4:12-13 stated, “12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. 13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God. Everything is naked and exposed before his eyes, and he is the one to whom we are accountable.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – God will discern whether or not we make every effort (Hebrews 4:11) and whether or not we have truly come to faith in Jesus Christ; nothing in all creation can hide from Him. We may fool ourselves or other Christians with our spiritual lives, but we cannot deceive God. He knows who we really are because the Word of God is full of living power. The Word of God cannot be taken for granted or disobeyed. The Israelites who rebelled learned the hard way that when God speaks, they must listen. Going against God means facing judgment and death.

The Word of God is living, life-changing, and dynamic as it works in us. The demands of the Word of God require decisions. We not only listen to it, we let it shape our lives. Because the Word of God is living, it applied to these first-century Jewish Christians, and it applies as well as to Christians today. Most books may appear to be dusty artifacts just sitting on a shelf, but the Word of God collected in Scripture vibrates with life.

The Word of God penetrates through our outer facade and reveals what lies deep inside. The metaphor of the sharpest knife pictures the Word of God cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires, revealing what we really are on the inside. Nothing can be hidden from God; neither can we hide from ourselves if we sincerely study the Word of God. It reaches deep past our outer life as a knife passes through skin.

Two thoughts are presented by the phrase, everything is naked and exposed before his eyes. (1) We cannot give excuses, justifications, or reasons – everything is seen for exactly what it is. No one can deceive God. (2) We are exposed, powerless, and defenseless before God. The Word refers to the paralyzing grip of a wrestler in a choke hold. The Word of God penetrates like a sword, exposing us to God Himself to whom we must explain all that we have done. All people must give an account to God, but without trappings and rationalizations. These Words give warning that believers must be careful not to drift away, but to obey God wholeheartedly. God is the final Judge. This verse paves the way for the following section describing Jesus Christ as our High Priest. With our lives laid bare before God, we would be hopelessly lost without Christ. Because He took our judgment and serves as our advocate with God, we can rest secure with God.

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

Lowering Kids’ Anxiety Before Surgery

23.   Health Benefits of Prayer

baby lying down on hospital bed getting a check up

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Source: Anaesthesia and Intensive Care – A test group of 120 children ages 5 to 12 were tested while they were waiting to receive anesthesia for surgery. Those children whose mothers were religious were less anxious.

Spiritually: The Bible New Living Translation (NLT) Philippians 4:6 stated, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.”

Life Application: iLumina Bible Studies – Attitudes of joy and gentleness, combined with constant awareness of Christ’s return, should dispel any worry. Believers should not set aside life’s responsibilities so as not to worry about them; Paul was focusing on believers’ attitudes in daily life and as they faced opposition and persecution. Christians are to be responsible for their needs and their families and to care about and be concerned for others, but they are not to worry (Matthew 6:25-34).
Worrying is bad because it is a subtle form of distrust in God. When believers worry, they are saying that they don’t trust that God will provide and they doubt that He cares or that He can handle their situation. Paul offered prayer as an antidote to worry. Instead, pray about everything. Prayer combats worry by allowing us catharsis or to release of pent-up feelings and repressed emotions. We can off-load our stress onto God. Paul said to take all the energy that is used in worrying and put it into prayer. This includes praying about everything. No request is too small, difficult, or inconsequential to God. Paul encouraged the believers to pray about what they need and then to thank God for all He has done. It may seem impossible not to worry about anything, but Paul explained that this can happen if Born-Again Christian believers truly give their worries to God. Worry and prayer cannot coexist.

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

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