Does Prayer Really Help?

Hello.  Yes.  It helps.  But how, you may ask?   Perhaps your prayer life has been dry lately, and you’re tired of pushing prayer to the back burner.   Maybe you’re finally returning to church after spending years away, or maybe you’ve never uttered a prayer ever.  Either way, you’re curious about the power of prayer and how praying could change your life. If you need resources and support to inspire your prayer life, you can turn to Lizella Baptist and submit a question here.  For now, take a peek at some benefits of prayer, from shifting your mindset to helping you live a healthier lifestyle.

 

Improved Physical Health

You might be surprised to learn that praying regularly can actually enhance your physical health! PsychCentral states that people who pray on a frequent basis tend to heal from illnesses faster, and also tend to have lower mortality rates. While prayer alone is certainly not a cure for any disease or chronic condition, praying can definitely be a boon for your overall health.
 
 
 
 

 

Reduced Stress

Prayer can help you get your stress under control. Today, it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in stress – many people live such fast-paced lifestyles that it’s hard to find a moment to relax and unwind. When you pray, you come to recognize that you’re part of something bigger, and your own problems feel smaller and solvable in comparison. Medi-Share states that in some cases, praying can even help you alleviate the symptoms of mild physical ailments that are often exacerbated by stress and anxiety, such as headaches, stomach pains, and fatigue.

 

Coping With Tough Events

Everyone faces challenges in life. No matter who you are, you’ve probably dealt with obstacles that you weren’t sure you could ever overcome. Prayer in combination with reading God’s Word is two-way communication–it may help you avoid challenges, but when you find yourself in the midst of them, it can also empower you to better cope with tough events.  There may be times when you’re wondering whether you can truly move on from a difficult event or if you’re capable of overcoming a major setback.  When you pray, you find yourself tapping into a new source of strength, realizing you are never truly on your own.  You have an ever-present companion, counselor and comforter in the Holy Spirit.  Even when things feel difficult, you can find courage and conviction through prayer.

 

Positive Outlook

Do you ever struggle with a negative mindset? Maybe you have a tendency to assume that when you’re facing an uncertain situation, the outcome will not be in your favor.   Personally?  Been there.  Many times.  If you tend to have a pessimistic outlook, prayer can change that.  As you pray, you might notice your perspective shifting – perhaps you realize that a situation that seemed negative actually has an upside, or you recognize that you have strengths beyond what you thought you were capable of.

 

Related Health and Wellness Strategies

While praying regularly can help you improve your physical health, it’s also important to incorporate other beneficial habits into your usual routines.  For example, you could commit to cooking nutritious meals at home, going to bed earlier, or exercising several times per week.  If you have a busy work schedule, you might assume that you don’t have enough time to exercise, but you can always incorporate more physical activity into your existing routine. You might choose to go for walks on your lunch break or park further away from destinations.  Any moment outside in nature brings blessings and beauty from God’s creation your way, and in that, reason to pray and thank Him.

God has marvelously designed our bodies to refresh and renew with rest, nutrition, clean water and sunshine.  While most folks recognize that balanced exposure to all of these sources of healing is optimal, there is no substitute for the hope and peace garnered from including prayer as part of your larger daily wellness routine.  Spiritual wellness and emotional peace play equally important roles as sources of healing in physical wellbeing.  We greatly encourage recording your prayers in a journal to help you more clearly recognize God’s hand of grace and provision in your life over time.  This empowers you to praise God with heartfelt gratitude, which brings more positivity into your life and additional proven health benefits.  Further, we are blessed when we obey Biblical commands.  (Phil. 4:4-8 ESV)
 

Getting Started

What if you have never prayed or if it’s been a while since you last prayed, it’s never too late.  No need to have any specific prayer in mind – you can pray about whatever happens to be on your heart!  Prayer is simply conversation with God.  1 Peter 5:7 (ESV Bible) says, “Cast all your cares on Him, for He cares for you.”  Chat with God as you would your Father; this is the familial relationship He expresses in His Word to us.  The important thing is to be honest because He already knows what’s on your heart.  He just knows you’ll feel better if you’ll give it to Him and trust Him with it.  At first, you may feel self-conscious or nervous, or even silly or afraid.  Persist.  God loves you.  His Son came, lived a perfect life, gave it up and then took it back again for you to have the privilege of relationship through prayer in this moment.  Don’t let that go to waste.  It’s a precious and priceless gift to you.

The Bible offers helpful instruction in praying which exhorts us to reflect on five aspects our relationship with God in our prayers:

Adoration and blessing – because we recognize God is worthy; we are dependent on Him for our very breath and life.  He is truly marvelous and amazing.

Thanksgiving to Him – for His grace, His provision for Salvation through Jesus, and all our many blessings.

Petitions or supplications – those burdens we bring to the Lord for ourselves.  He is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider.  He is our Healer.  He is our Sustainer and Protector and our everlasating Prince of Peace.

Intercessions – prayers for the needs of others.

Praises – we express love for Him (because He first loved us).

He promises when we pray this way, that the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.  (Phil. 4:6-7, ESV Bible)  That is a powerful promise for our health and well-being.  And He is faithful to keep His Word.

Are you interested in deepening your prayer life?   Reach out to us today.
 
Article submitted by Laura Pearson.  Follow her at edutude.net.

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Clouds in the sky

Love After Life?

Clouds in the sky

It was college, 1990 something. Cher had just reinserted herself into pop culture with her hit “Do You Believe in Life After Love?” So, my suitemates at the time posed the question, “Jeremy, do you believe in life after love?” To which I replied, in a vain attempt to be cute, “No, but I believe in love after life.”

And so began my foray into well intentioned but poorly executed evangelism. I tried to explain that love came to us even after death, since Jesus promised the hope of eternal life. It was a stretch, I know. Valiant effort, but fruitless endeavor. You can’t fault a guy for trying.

We try so hard to share our faith before someone dies, forgetting that they must die anyway before they can experience true life in Him. “Unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains a single seed.” But, oh, the harvest when one seed decides to die to self, in the hope that others might come to bear fruit as well. It is the pattern of Christ Himself; die so that others might live.

This, though, is the death that begets life. We share Christ because He has shared Himself with us. We are recipients of His grace, and His blessings. But we don’t blithely receive; we dig in and pursue Him, just as He has pursued us. It’s the beauty of our romance. The Bridegroom has sought after His bride, and the bride can’t be but enthralled at such love displayed.

So, our response must be that of Mary, bowing at His feet in adoration and worship. Yet, we must also respond as Martha, “working out our salvation with fear and trembling.” We “work as unto the Lord.” While we have passively received His overtures of love, we aggressively pursue Him, and those who He has crafted after His image.

For those who know Him are “elect before the foundation of the world.” We have been His for all time, and in all ways, no matter our error or our wandering. And He has a people who are His own, sown as wheat among the tares. Yet, we are poor farmers who know not which is which. So, we sow; we reap. We go, we tell. “That all might know Him.” We are as “all things to all people, that some might be saved.”

There ain’t no grave, after all, that can hold those that God has resurrected. Though they die a thousand deaths, “His mercies are new every morning,” the sun rising on yet another day of life and vigor. “Though He slay me, yet will I live,” for He is our Source. Hope and joy, the new birth, emanate from Him, and invigorate those who have cast aside all that they have for the sake of this pearl of great price.

So, keep telling. Keep sharing, and showing. Let them see, and hear, and sense and feel, Jesus, who has come for them. “Shine your light among men.” Hide it under a bushel? No! Whatever mortification might come from identifying with Christ is a death worth dying. Whatever life might come from walking with Him is a life worth sharing. For He alone is worthy!


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Come to the Well…

I am a needy person. I need food, lest you face my wrath. I need sleep, lest you face the same. I need good relationships, good times of relaxation, good conversation with my wife. Right now, I need a haircut, and, on occasion, I need a new pair of shoes. The only thing that I don’t need is more needs.

The greatest need that the world has is Jesus. But I think we often forget in the church that our greatest need is the same. Sometimes I wonder that we assume, “Well, I’m saved, I got baptized; now I just need to make it through until I go to heaven,” when, in reality, we need Jesus now, right now, in this moment.

And we don’t need Him to fix our country, or fix our finances, or fix our marriage. We need Him. That’s it. Our souls crave and long for Jesus; not what He does, or even what He has done, but just Him, in His person.

At the risk of waxing boring, I’m going to reiterate the point. What the Christian needs, more than anything else, is Jesus. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” “Draw near to Him, and He will draw near to you.” “Abide in me, and I will abide in you,” Jesus says. And you know what’s great about that last promise? Jesus tells us to abide, “so that our joy may be full.”

Jesus brings joy, and isn’t that we long for, joy? Jesus said, “Apart from me, you can do nothing,” and nobody wants to do nothing. We want to be useful, and purposeful. Call it legacy if you like, but we want to know that we’ve contributed to the whole, that our lives have mattered, and that we left things better than when we found them. That brings us joy. So if having joy is contingent on abiding in Christ, the Christian had better find a way to linger in the presence of Jesus, and bask in the glory of who He is.

Your greatest need today is not healing. It’s not peace, or lack of stress. It’s not even the basics, like food and water. Your need is Jesus, and that is true regardless of where you find yourself on the spectrum of faith.

The unbeliever may not know they need Jesus. The new believer may know all too well that they need Jesus. But my fear is the greatest for the believer who has walked with Jesus for some time. We are so quick to forget that we can’t simply cruise on autopilot. All that requires is our own strength, and that will amount to nothing. Instead, tap into the presence and power of Jesus by sitting at His feet as Mary, tying your life to Him as the disciples did, counting all things as loss for the sake of gaining Christ as Paul did.

But, whatever you do, don’t persist in your neediness. You’re dry and famished, and are drinking at cisterns that are not of His making. Come rather to the well that never runs dry, to the streams of living water that refresh the soul, the mind, and the body.

Have your needs met in Him. “And all these things will be added unto you.”
–Jeremy Luman

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Happy Father’s Day

An Open Letter to My Children

I know that I haven’t always been the best at what I do. I’m really just trying to figure it out as I go along. And I don’t always heed the warnings, or learn the lessons, that I’m supposed to. But I’m trying. I really am.

It’s just so hard. I’m awash in my own sin, all while I try to coax you away from yours. And there’s just so much we don’t know. So many hard truths that we forget, so many past failings that we take up again.

But you guys are great kids. You’re intelligent, fun, and tender-hearted. You bring such joy to your mom and I, amidst the heartache. You have made our family a home. You make us whole, and complete. Our house would just be a house were it not for you.

So, this Father’s Day, we can’t celebrate how great I am; it simply isn’t true. And we can’t celebrate how great you’ve been; it’s often, but not always. What we can celebrate, though, what we can truly embrace and rejoice in, is that Jesus has shown us the Father, the father who loves deeper than we can ever love, forgives more than we can ever transgress, and gives more than we could ever need. He has shown us a better way, and He has given us the means to travel it through His Son.

In this world you will have sorrow. In this world it will never be completely right. But take heart, Jesus says, “I have overcome the world.” And we are overcome with His love. Thank God, for God. May He be the father to you that I never can be, and may He make me the father that I always wished to be.

Happy Father’s Day.

–Jeremy Luman

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Joy Comes in the Morning

 
If you are a Christian, you have been sold a false bill of goods. Not because Christ has failed you. I’m not sure who dropped the ball, honestly. But it has fallen with a resounding thud, and I fear that no amount of mighty men will be able to pick it up again.
 
Somehow, we got it into our head that we could bring heaven to earth, that this could be our best life now, that if we’d just pray enough and tithe enough and smile enough, the brokenness of this world would simply recede into the background, a forgotten dream from nights long ago.
 
But you have been lied to. You thought that if you just lived a holy life, kept your nose clean, and stayed away from the big sins, all would be well. But we are not well. We are very, very sick. Sick with the stench of this earth’s sin. It belches it out, gushing heaps of miry clay onto what otherwise was a pretty nice-looking universe.
Children will still cry. Cars will still fail. Bills will still accumulate. Relationships will be broken. Cancers and cankers and ulcers will abound. You will not escape it. It will hunt you down, the hound of hell scenting the stench of your sin-stained blood.
 
But all is not lost.
 
Amidst the headache and heartache and gut-wrenching grief of traversing this accursed world lies a glint. It looks as if it mustn’t even be there, it’s so far in the distance. You’ve seen it in your waking hours, just as you glimpse out the window, before you put your glasses on. It tickles your dreams, belying some echo of what could be, what perhaps once was.
 
But it’s real. It’s very real. It is the realest of all realities. It is not an alternate universe. It is the universe. That pain you’re experiencing, that hurt you’ve endured, is a marker. It’s pointing you to something. Something far better than any utopia you’ve fashioned, any heaven on earth that you have imagined.
 
The hope of the gospel is not that we will enjoy a “blessed and highly favored” life this side of eternity. We will not. We will grieve, we will wretch, we will scream into the night sky “Why?!” We will wonder if it is all worth it, and why it must be so accursed as it is.
 
And, Jesus will say, “I endured far worse, so that you could enjoy far better.” He would say, “Don’t settle for the best this world can offer. Long for the Christ who is better than all.”
 
He endured the cross, despising its shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God, for the joy that was set before Him. For the joy. He endured, for the joy. He knew what awaited Him, and you can know what awaits you. Joy. Unspeakable, unfathomable, sin-smashing, pain-obliterating joy.
 
So, endure. After all, joy comes in the morning. And mourn you shall. But, oh the joy that awaits you. As Paul said, it will decimate whatever suffering you endured. Your best life is just around the bend, and you’re gonna make it.
You’re going to be just fine.
 
–Jeremy Luman

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HOMECOMING IS COMING HOME

 
 

Join us!

We invite anyone and everyone to come celebrate all the blessings God has poured out on our church and our community!
 
 
 
 

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3 Areas All of Us Struggle to Trust God With

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