Prayer and reflection can have Christian health benefits that go beyond simply spiritual. Our lives are fuller than ever, with wonderful moments interspersed with times of trial. Making time to pray or reflect offers us more than the chance to have a moment of peace in our busy days. We move so fast to meet the demands of work, community and family, it's too easy to forget to take time out to reflect or have conversations with the Lord about our worries and stress.
Effects of Stress On Your Health
According to some figures, 43% of adults suffer from health problems related to stress, and somewhere between 75% and 90% of doctors’ visits are for stress-related troubles. The effects of stress on your health can take more of a toll on our bodies we may realize. Some common physical effects of stress include:
• Stomach troubles
• Insomnia and sleep issues
• High blood pressure
• Chest pains
Emotional symptoms can surface in response to stress as well and affect our health. Stress takes a toll on our health as a whole, both physically and spiritually. Stress can make us feel restless and unsettled or cloud our ability to focus. We may become unmotivated to accomplish what we need to or may become easily angered. Deep sadness and depression can also come in response to stress.
Cast Your Anxieties Onto the Lord Through Prayer
Good Christian health depends on the peace and support of lifting our worries up to God in prayer and letting God take control. Medical science is coming to understand it, as well. Research has started to show concrete benefits in prayer and reflection for those who practice it. These studies have given us some startling statistics:
• Regular church-goers have hospital stays an average of three times shorter than those who don't attend church.
• Religious heart patients were 14 times less likely to die following heart surgery.
• Strokes occurred half as often in church-going elderly patients.
Most amazingly, though perhaps not surprising to those who take part in prayer circles, praying for others has been shown to have similar health benefits for the one praying as does prayer for oneself. Caring about your neighbor does you good, too.
Pray Without Ceasing for Christian Healthy Living
You don't have to come up with elaborate prayers to use prayer and reflection to ease stress. A simple, heartfelt prayer you keep in mind will do just as well. Simple reminders such as, "God is my strength. God is my peace. With God's help, I can handle anything," activate parts of the mind that trigger the physiological defenses against stress.
Get Closer to God and Improve Your Christian Health
Taking time to pray for yourself and for others doesn't just bring you closer to God; it is an essential component of your Christian health. It's a defense against your body's reactions to the stresses life puts on us. When you feel worried or overwhelmed, take a few minutes out to pray for strength and guidance. Both your body and your spirit will thank you for it!
A great way to keep track of your prayer requests and the prayer requests of others in your community is by using PrayerStream, a free mobile app that connects Christians in prayer. Download PrayerStream from the Apple App or Android App stores or use it online at www.PrayerStream.com.