Category Archives: Prayer and Health

Thankful in a tumultuous year

Could things be anymore divided?

Protest, distrust, hatred, and violence scarred the year, but the President thoughtfully shared his impression: “The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.”

Abraham Lincoln’s gracious assessment of 1863 is immortalized in the opening line of his first Thanksgiving Day Proclamation. And it offers insight into a healing response to this year’s unrest.

Over 150 years have passed since Lincoln’s establishment of an annual, national observance of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”  In 1863 that day came just one week after the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg where Lincoln gave his celebrated two minute address. The War Between the States would go on for another year and a half.

What prompted Lincoln to articulate such a “healthful” outlook, where many saw only servitude to gloom and despair, was an intensified appreciation for blessings and their origin.   Read more…

Simple Prayer

The most important thing we can do today is pray.

It turns out most of us already know that, even if we don’t talk about it. Nine out of ten Americans have turned to prayer for healing at some point according to a study.

Calamities and sickness impel many to turn to God whether religious-minded or not. “For active believers and people of faith, prayer, including for healing, is more than a situationally motivated response to one’s own suffering; it is an ongoing expression of piety and of taking up the yoke to be of service to others,” writes  the study’s author, Jeff Levine at Baylor University.   Read more…

Is materialism health care’s Achilles’ heel?

“Turtles all the way down.” That’s the now famous response to a scientist’s inquiry as told in an anecdote by Stephen Hawking in A Brief History of Time.  After explaining the basics of astronomy and the relationship between the earth and sun, a little old lady expresses her disbelief to the scientist and pipes up, “The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.”

Hawking continues, “The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, ‘What is the tortoise standing on?’  ‘You’re very clever, young man, very clever,’ said the old lady.  ‘But it’s turtles all the way down.’”

There’s both humor and heartbreak in the old lady’s retort.  Such determinism has propelled the achievements of many a visionary.  It also illustrates the stifling nature of a stubborn dogma that can blind thinkers and shutter what should be the open-minded nature of true science and scholarship.

Today’s healthcare practices offer a similar dichotomy…Read more

Getting more out of your fitness workout

Remember the Royal Canadian Air Force 5BX (Five Basic Exercises) Plan? Hugely popular in the 60’s, it was simple to do, but boring as heck. I remember my dad struggling with sit-ups and tediously running in place. It wasn’t long before his exercise regimen was history. To stick with an exercise routine, one needs a compelling reason for doing it.

I was not old enough at the time to think to ask dad why he wanted to exercise. He got plenty of activity running the family hardware business. Maybe he was doing it because his friends were into it. Perhaps he was concerned about his health. Finding answers to the question “Why am I exercising?” fortifies the endurance needed in the fight to be fit.

Along with the sheer enjoyment, some people exercise to work off excessive weight, relieve stress, improve athleticism, and/or train for sporting competition. If someone is exercising for his or her health, though, something more than mere muscle-flexing is needed. Consistent well-being includes living an active life with a spiritual focus.  Read more…

Giving thanks in tough times

“The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.”  

Abraham Lincoln’s gracious assessment of 1863 is immortalized in the opening line of his first Thanksgiving Day Proclamation.

Over 150 years have passed since Lincoln’s establishment of an annual, national observance of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.”  In 1863 that day came just one week after the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery at Gettysburg where Lincoln gave his celebrated two minute address. The War Between the States would go on for another year and a half.

What prompted Lincoln to articulate such a “healthful” outlook, where many saw only servitude to gloom and despair, was an intensified appreciation for blessings and their origin.  He saw “bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come.”  He writes in his Thanksgiving Proclamation that these abundances are “so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.”

Such an attitude as Lincoln’s serves as a timely example for all of us. Read more…