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How Regular and Repeated Prayer Promotes Healing

Studies show that consistent prayer habits are good for your health.

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Have you ever prayed for healing? Whether we feel a cold or flu bug coming on or get an alarming test result, it’s natural to turn to God in prayer. King Hezekiah did; he was close to death, so he prayed, and God healed him (see 2 Kings 20). The psalmist David sang, “Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me” (Psalm 30:2 NIV). Praying friends of mine have been miraculously healed from multiple sclerosis, cancer, and severe depression.

But the healing power of prayer is much bigger than our prayers for healing. While a life of prayer is not a guarantee of health and well-being—many factors contribute to health and healing, from genetics to behavior, and more—a growing body of evidence indicates that people who pray regularly access the healing power of prayer even when they’re not sick or struggling.

Several studies conducted by Dr. Harold G. Koenig (director of Duke University’s Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health) and others have indicated that private spiritual practices such as prayer and regular attendance in public worship promote health and prolong life. Another study, published in the Journal of Psychology and Theology, showed that prayer and prayer experiences have measurable, positive effects on the general health of those who pray.

In other words, there are reasons to believe that when you pray—whether you’re praising and thanking God, confessing your sins, or interceding for others—you’re accessing the health benefits of prayer. Like the three Hebrews whose eating habits made them stronger and healthier even when they weren’t at the table (see Daniel 1), regular and repeated prayer habits can promote better health and longer life when you’re praying for yourself or for someone else, and even when you’re not praying at all.

Sure, it may not change things overnight (then again, it may!). Praying as a lifestyle is an ongoing process. But it’s a process that, over time, can bring about greater health, wholeness, and well-being in your life. Try it. Access the healing power of prayer. Just pray. And then pray some more. And have the faith to believe that the peace—and health—of God will heal and strengthen you when you’re aware of it, and when you’re not.

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