National Day of Prayer May 5, 2005

In a recent Reader's Digest is an article "The Healing Power of PRAYER." Quoting one paragraph: "Spiritual people tend to be optimistic and have more self-esteem and social support --factors that improve health. Bereaved people who used religion to cope needed fewer doctor visits than those who didn’t…The idea that faith can heal is controversial, but recent studies report positive findings." It tells of documented studies showing that not only prayers by patients promote healing, but also patients who unknowingly had others praying for them fared better than the ones who didn't receive intercessory prayers. These studies were reported by doctors and researchers at Duke University medical Center, Yale University School of Medicine, Italy's University of Pavia, Mid America Heart Institute of St. Luke's Hospital, and the University of Washington.

In the December 2004 Ladies' Home Journal is another article, "The Healing Power of Prayer." More doctors and scientists are taking seriously the role of faith in health and healing. Dr. Michael E. McCullough, Ph. D., at the University of Miami said, "It's time to stop asking IF religion is linked to better health. It's time to accept that it is and ask how and why…Overwhelmingly, patients and physicians believe prayers are answered."

Dr. Edward Creagan at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine says he has seen amazing regressions in cancer patients who pray. "I have the CAT scans and the biology and pathology reports, and there's no medical or statistical reason that a group of patients is alive…Each of those patients reached out to a higher power."

THURSDAY, MAY 5 is the 2005 National Day of Prayer. This year's theme is "GOD SHED HIS GRACE ON THEE." God's healing intervention has never been more acute than it is right now. Whether it be the ongoing threat of terrorism or the continued erosion of the moral and Biblical principles upon which our country was founded, the challenges facing us are monumental. Supporting our theme is Hebrews 4:16: "LET US THEN APPROACH THE THRONE OF GRACE WITH CONFIDENCE, SO THAT WE MAY RECEIVE MERCY AND FIND GRACE TO HELP US IN OUR TIME OF NEED." Grace has been described as God's unmerited favor toward mankind--an undeserved blessing freely bestowed on man by God. The Greek translation means "an undeserved act of kindness." It refers to all that God has given us in Christ; nothing of which we have earned or can repay. The miracle of God's grace is that He extends mercy to us in spite of our wickedness and rebellion against Him. Mercy is not getting what we deserve and grace is getting what we don't deserve. Be much in prayer on May 5. If possible, join the whole nation in prayer at 12 o'clock, noon.

My friend, Bertha Jester wants me to share her testimony to the precious, wonderful power of prayer with you. Although we have never met, she has been a tremendous blessing in my life. She sends me religious tracts, poems, articles, sharing beautiful thoughts. Maudie Clark was on our church homebound list, and the "letters" I sent her were my monthly "Happenings Along the Way to Heaven." Following are three of Bertha's letters--the first was written on October 14, 1997. Her story, "Miracle Healing Testimony" is enclosed.

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