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Still Skeptical of the Power of Prayer

By February 12, 2019 No Comments

I never thought I’d live long enough to see Marijuana go mainstream. But, I have. When I was growing up, weed was something that “bad boys and bad girls”, as well as drug addicts, did. No one could anticipate seniors and average Joes and Josephine’s would do so. So far, it’s only Medical Marijuana and Hemp which have been approved in New York State. Soon, however, it looks as if Marijuana could be legalized for recreational use at the Federal, State, and Local levels (https://www.statnews.com/2018/11/20/joe-kennedy-legalize-marijuana-federal-level/). To be sure, not everyone is happy about the prospect.

When I thought about the purported medical and mental health benefits of Marijuana and Hemp, I found it hard to believe well-meaning, thinking Christians would object to others partaking, especially for the medical and mental health benefits, even if they refrain from personal use. For example, it’s reported cancer patients undergoing chemo and radiation treatments often experience negative side-effects, which ingesting and inhaling marijuana can offset—symptoms such as pain, nausea and vomiting, neuropathy, and anti-neoplastic (https://www.lungcancer.org/find_information/publications/328-medical_marijuana_and_cancer). At the same time, I have heard some partakers claim Marijuana and Hemp can cure arthritis, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction—just to name a few things. I don’t know whether such claims have any basis in realty and have been documented scientifically.  Yet, I have no intentions of taking Hemp or Marijuana, even though I suffer from essential hypertension. 

Over my years as a preacher and pastor, I have found some people, inclusive of Christians—some of my congregants, in fact—have heard of the benefits of maintaining a quiet time and the power of prayer. Yet, such persons, some of whom, listen to me from the pew, with either mild or acute skepticism about the benefits of prayer and quiet time with God. What’s more, such persons question whether the alleged and unquantifiable benefits of maintaining these holy habits are worth it in light of how difficult it is to cultivate the discipline to practice them daily. I understand the skepticism, even though I do not share it. I know from personal experience of the benefits of prayer. In summary, I’m a better, sharper, more creative and flexible, and a less flappable person when I’m consistent in my practice of quiet time with God.

Therefore, I’ve been blogging about the benefits for last two or three weeks. Moreover, I preached about “The Transforming Power of Prayer” on yesterday, which seemed well-received. My sermon, based on Mark 1:35-39, touched upon how to develop the daily habit of spending quiet time with God. However, I focused more on explaining some of the importance and impacts of quiet time with God. As per usual, I’m a preacher, after all, I mentioned three things God gives us through observing quiet time with Him/Her:

  1. God helps us to recognize and resist temptation. Verses 36-38a: And Simon and his companions hunted for him. 37 When they found him, they said to him, “Everyone is searching for you. 38 He answered, “Let us go on to the neighboring towns… 
  2. God helps us to focus on and fulfill our purpose. Verse 38b-c:.. So that I may proclaim the message there also; for that is what I came out to do.
  3. God helps us to confront and conquer the forces which distort and deface our lives. Verse 39: And he went throughout Galilee, proclaiming the message in their synagogues and casting out demons.

I’m not naive. I don’t believe you’ll accept what I have shared simply because I said it. Quite the contrary, I invite you take the 40 Day “Quiet Time” Challenge. Then, let me know on Easter Sunday, by leaving a comment about what your experience has been. Try it! You might like it—strike that: Through your diligence and dedication, God will bless you.

May you discover or rediscover the secret to Jesus’ life-transforming teaching and touch. Peace!

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