Prayer changes things, people

By Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist

In a recent study, half of a group of cardiac patients were prayed for and half were not. Those who were prayed for improved remarkably in many ways.

I read a story of Saint Peregrine, a young priest in the 14th century, who was scheduled for a leg amputation because of cancer. The night before, he prayed fervently. He dreamed that night he was cured. The next day he awoke to find that his dream had come true. He lived a long full life with no further evidence of cancer.

Prayer and love form a common bond among living things. I saw a program on television about a young boy who had been in a coma for weeks. The parents obtained special permission to bring the boy’s beloved dog to him. The pet was overjoyed to see his master and began to lick the boy on the face. The boy suddenly awoke and hugged his dog.

Prayers can continue in our subconscious, as an attitude of prayer can exist even in our sleep.

Romans 8:26 relates how the Spirit helps us in our prayers: “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” (KJV)

1 Thessalonians 5:17 reminds us to “Pray without ceasing.” The Spirit helps us to accomplish just that.

Praying is a reminder that we are never alone. In this huge, vast gigantic universe we are never alone.

Prayer connects us with God, who is always ready to hear and to answer. Does prayer change things? Yes. Coincidences, miracles and verified documents attest to the fact.

History itself gives evidence of answered prayer. Germany could have invaded England at a specific, defenseless time during World War II but the many prayers of believers on their knees held back the evil forces.

Prayer is vital for America. We have ignored and disrespected God in so many ways. I wonder sometimes in the event of a catastrophic calamity would there be a decree stating, “We will now restore prayer in public places.”

Sometimes we might feel our prayers are not answered. Yet we don’t see the future nor what is best for us. It comes down to trust as Philippians 4:5-6 reminds us:

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (NIV).

Imagine what it would be like to not worry about anything. True peace is knowing God is in control. When you begin to worry … stop and pray. It will lower blood pressure, improve health, lessen stress and bring peace.

After all, who doesn’t want peace in their lives? I think all of us do. So let’s allow God’s peace to keep us from anxiety. Let God be the umpire in your heart.

Start and end your day with prayer. You will find your day goes better. One of my e-mail friends signs with this quote: “Have a good day and a great forever!” I’ll buy that.

Prayer not only changes things. It changes people. In this world of turmoil our only hope is in Jesus.