Touching someone’s life is powerful. Prayers, visits, phone calls, cards of encouragement, meals, sitting together, singing together, listening together…these all have tremendous power to bring healing into our lives.
This is part of the message I shared on Sunday. And I threw some research and data at you all that showed exactly how powerful touching someone’s life within a community of faith can be. But numbers and research can be a bit overwhelming when it is just spoken. So, I want to share that with you again today in writing.
Power of Prayer
Research at San Francisco General Hospital looked at the effect of prayer on 393 cardiac patients. Half were prayed for by strangers who had only the patients’ names. Those patients had fewer complications, fewer cases of pneumonia, and needed less drug treatment.
Power of Prayer Within a Faith Community
Researchers tested the differences between praying for strangers versus praying for someone you know personally. There were groups of people praying for sick folks they did not know who were all the way across the country. There were also groups of people praying for similarly sick folks they personally knew from church. Similar instructions were given; pray for the ill people every day. The sick persons receiving prayers from strangers across the country showed only slight difference from the general public. But the people with comparable sicknesses receiving prayers from people whom they knew intimately showed significant difference in improvement and in quality of life.
Power of Participation in a Community of Faith
Being a part of a community of faith where folks are praying for you, caring for you, supporting you and nurturing you makes a difference in your life.
- Separate studies conducted at Duke, Dartmouth, and Yale universities show that people in faith communities tend to heal faster, get sick less often, and live longer. Some statistics from these studies:
- Hospitalized people who never attended church have an average stay of three times longer than people who attended regularly.
- Heart patients were 14 times more likely to die following surgery if they did not participate in a religion.
- Elderly people who never or rarely attended church had a stroke rate double that of people who attended regularly.
- In Israel, religious people had a 40% lower death rate from cardiovascular disease and cancer.
- In 2006, population researchers at the University of Texas discovered that the more often you go to church, the longer you live.
- One researcher has said: “There is a seven-year difference in life expectancy between those who never attend church and those who attend weekly.”
- The American Society of Hypertension established in 2006 that church-goers have lower blood pressure than non-believers.
- The American Journal of Public Health studied nearly 2,000 older Californians for five years and found that those who attended religious services were 36 percent less likely to die during that period than those who didn’t.
These statistics represent the power of God working through us as we serve one another in our faith communities. And in almost every case, it’s not just about someone who believes. It’s about folks who participate in faith community. The more you participate, the more healing there is, the better your health, the more whole your life!
Gerald May, a medical doctor who practices psychotherapy in Washington, DC, writes of the importance of community in the healing process:
God’s grace through community involves something far greater than other people’s support and perspective. The power of grace is nowhere as brilliant nor as mystical as in communities of faith. Its power includes not just love that comes from people and through people but love that pours forth among people, as if through the very spaces between one person and next. Just to be in such an atmosphere is to be bathed in healing power.
If You Missed Sunday’s Sermon…
Read or listen to Serving: You Have the Power to Heal— Mark 1:29-31
God’s Words for This Week
2 Kings 5:1-14 – Then his servants approached and said to him, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he has said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean?’” So he went down and plunged himself into the Jordan seven times, just as the man of God had said; and his flesh was restored like that of a little child and he was clean. (AMP, v. 13-14)
Psalm 30–For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning. (NIV, v.5)
1 Corinthians 9:24-27– I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. (The Message, v. 26)
Mark 1:40-45 -A leper came to him begging him, and kneeling he said to him, “If you choose, you can make me clean.” Moved with pity, Jesus stretched out his hand and touched him, and said to him, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him, and he was made clean. (NRSV, v. 40-42)
This Week at Hood
Wednesday, February 7, 3:30 pm–Prayer and Inspiration
Wednesday, February 7, 6:00 pm – Choir Practice
Wednesday, February 7, 6:00 pm – Young-ish Adult Small Group
Thursday, February 8, 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm – Pastor Jason at The Cellar for Drop-In Coffee & Conversation (108 N Wilson St)
Sunday, February 11, 9:00 am – Church Cabinet Meeting
Sunday, February 11, 11:00 am – Worship
Sunday, February 11, 12:00 noon-Valentine’s Lunch for all the Ladies, sponsored by the Men’s Fellowship
Sunday, February 11, 2:00pm–Marriage Vow Renewal Ceremony
Wednesday, February 14th, 6:00 pm– Ash Wednesday Service
Wednesday, February 14th, 6:00 pm– Love Wins, Children’s Mission Class
Saturday, February 17th, 10:00 am -12:00 noon–Valentine’s Tea & Tunes @ The Cellar
February 18, 2019
February 12, 2019
January 22, 2019