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January 2012 – Spend more TIME alone with GOD in PRAYER and BIBLE STUDY
FACT:  Prayer is associated with positive health behaviors in children.  Researchers at the University of Texas surveyed 271 fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade children in three central Texas school districts and found that children who prayed frequently reported significantly higher levels of positive health behaviors than children who never prayed.  Prayer was also positively related to social connectedness and sense of humor.

HOPE:  While parents often pray for their children, we can also make a difference in our children’s health by praying with them and teaching them to talk to God frequently throughout the day.  Having a self-identity rooted in God’s love helps them to value their health and the behaviors that contribute to health.

FACT:  More Americans are praying about their health. Scientists analyzed data on 30,080 adults ages 18 and older who took part in the National Health Interview Survey in 2002 and on 22,306 adults who participated in 2007. Forty-nine percent of adults said in 2007 that they had prayed about their health during the previous year, up from 43 percent in 2002. In 1999, only 14 percent of survey participants said they had prayed about their health.
HOPE:  If more people are showing a strong interest in spirituality for improving and restoring health, then faith communities can play an important role in helping them integrate faith in everyday health and in introducing people to the Master Restorer.  Does your church have a vibrant health ministry?

FACT:  Prayer, Bible study and other spiritual activities benefit your physical health.  A review of medical research found that religious beliefs and activities have been associated with better immune function; lower death rates from cancer; less heart disease or better cardiac outcomes; lower blood pressure; lower cholesterol; and better health behaviors (e.g. less cigarette smoking, more exercise, better sleep). In addition, 39 of 52 studies found that religious persons live significantly longer. The effect for regular religious attendance on longevity approximates that of not smoking cigarettes (especially in women), adding an additional 7 years to the lifespan (14 years for blacks).
HOPE:  One of the best strategies for improving your physical health in 2012 may be in spending more time fostering your spiritual health!

FACT:  Personal time with God may slow progression of Alzheimer’s disease.  A longitudinal study at the Behavioral Neurology Clinic at Bayside (Canada) assessed 70 patients aged 49 to 94 for quality of life, spirituality and religiosity.  Researchers found that higher levels of private religious activities and of spirituality predicted slower cognitive decline in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, after controlling for age, gender, education, and cognitive level at baseline.
HOPE:  Have you or a loved one been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease?  Include regular meditation, prayer, and scripture reading in your treatment regimen as a coping strategy—and to enhance brain function and slow down cognitive decline.
  • Rew, L., Wong, Y. J., & Sternglanz, R. W. (2004). The relationship between prayer, health behaviors, and protective resources in school-age children.  Issues in Comprehensive Pediatric Nursing, 27 (4), 245-255.
  • Wachholtz, A. & Sambamoorthi, U. (2011). National trends in prayer use as a coping mechanism for health concerns: Changes from 2002 to 2007.  Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 3(2), 67-77.  
  • Koenig, H. G. (2004). Religion, spirituality, and medicine: Research findings and implications for clinical practice. Southern Medical Journal, 97 (12), 1194-1200.  
  • Kaufman, Y., Anaki, D., Binns, M. & Freedman, M. (2007). Cognitive decline in Alzheimer disease: Impact of spirituality, religiosity, and QOL. Neurology, 68(18), 1509-1514. 

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