Sunday, June 13, 2010
The Power of Prayer
No matter what your religious beliefs are, prayer can be a powerful force for strengthening faith, calming emotions, and even improving physical health.
Praying…does it really help? This sixty-four thousand dollar question has been around since the beginning of time. Some say yes and some say no. So, who is right? I guess it kind of depends on your faith in God and how you have learned about God, no matter whom you perceive to be your God. I am not talking about praying in the context of a specific religion. Religion is an organized set of beliefs we have created to govern our actions and how we think God wants us to conduct ourselves. No matter what religion or denomination we follow, we pray mostly because God says to do so.
What do you pray for? You can pray for anything. People often pray for their loved ones who may be sick or going through a difficult time. You may ask for help on a problem at work, or help with passing a test for school. You may pray for yourself to be a better, more tolerant person, or you may be going through a personal crisis that you can’t handle on your own. You may pray for success. But keep in mind that the meaning of "success" to you may not be the same as what it is to God. You may pray for a Mercedes so you can go to church or take the kids to school. God will help get you to church and your kids to school, but not necessarily in a Mercedes.
The psychological benefits of prayer are obvious—focusing your emotions by praying can help to relieve stress, calm fears, reduce anxiety, and impart calm in the midst of a storm. Praying on a regular basis can have an enormous effect on your psyche by stabilizing your moods, giving you a feeling of well-being, both physical and psychological, improving how you interact with others, and positively changing how you conduct yourself.
But prayer can be a boon to physical health in addition to emotional health. The physiological benefits of praying can be very far-reaching. These benefits have been studied and fully documented in medical journals. There is also a wealth of information on the benefits of praying before risky medical surgery. In a number of important studies, patients who prayed before surgery came through their operations in much better shape than those who did not pray.
Some of the most powerful and successful political leaders all over the world have professed to praying on a regular basis. The power of prayer has helped them to overcome poverty in their countries, keep their people together, and stand up to their enemies with courage and resolve.
Does God answer all prayers? I believe that God does indeed answer every prayer. It may not be the answer we are looking for, but He does answer in His own way and in His own time. Often we become impatient and expect fast results. Sometimes it may take a lifetime to get an answer. Therefore, praying and patience must go hand in hand—praying on a regular basis teaches patience and strengthens faith in God, no matter who you think of as God. There are literally thousands of articles and stories published each year by publications such as Guideposts, Angels on Earth, and Readers Digest, to name a few, about people from all walks of life who have used prayer to benefit themselves or loved ones, often with the unexpected result of receiving more than they asked for.
So does praying really help? The answer is a resounding yes. There is an enormous amount of evidential, testimonial, and scientific proof that prayer really does help us emotionally and physically, not only in our time of need, but also—and most importantly—in our everyday lives.
By Gary Orlando
Posted by Johana Johari at 2:02 PM