What Strong Spiritual Disciplines Can Do for Your Physical and Mental Health

(Charisma News archives)

While reports may say that less Christians are praying and reading the Bible these days, a recent study by Grey Matter Research and Infinity Concepts says that nearly 100% of Evangelical Protestants believe that engaging in such spiritual disciples—and having a strong Christian faith—are the best things that can influence their physical and mental health.

The research shows that 99% of evangelical Protestants agree that having strong faith—which most likely reads to consistent prayer and Bible reading—positively impacts their well-being. Titled "Faith and Wellness: Evangelical Insights on Healing and Physicians," the study reveals that only 1% of Evangelicals disagree with these findings.

Individually, the study found that 96% believe a strong Christian faith contributes to positive physical health, as well as 96% believe it about reading the Bible. Nearly 97% affirm this belief about prayer.

Ron Sellers, founder and president of Grey Matter Research, told The Christian Post that he was amazed at the survey's results.

"To see such a nearly unanimous belief on this was really surprising," said Sellers.

Sellers emphasized to The Christian Post that the findings should not be misunderstood to suggest that 99% of evangelicals deny the existence of mental or physical illness, but that the idea suggests that these spiritual disciplines can offset symptoms associated with these infirmities. He also said it does no imply that all individuals included in that category expect "miraculous cures for mental or physical elements."

"The research is not saying that anyone believes that prayer is the cure to suicidal tendencies or 'If you pray, you'll never have suicidal tendencies' or anything like that," Sellers said.

Just because these individuals say they believe it about the spiritual disciplines, however, doesn't mean that they practice them.

The report found that the "actions and beliefs of evangelical Protestants do not always align. Six out of 10 evangelical Protestants who strongly believe that reading the Bible contributes to positive mental health still do not ready it daily, while 26% do not even read it monthly.

The report reveals that a total of 99% believe God can heal people physically through their own prayers or the prayers of others; including 91% who strongly believe this.

The study also believes that it helps Christians' confidence in their potential healing if they know that their primary care physician is a believer. Over half of evangelicals who know their doctor is a fellow believer say this fact has influence their choice of doctors and seven out of 10 evangelicals feel that knowing their doctor is a Christ believer would give them more confidence in that physician.

Among evangelicals who have a primary physician, 27% know their doctor is a believer, while 5% know their doctor does not share their faith. That leaves two-thirds who have no idea about their doctor's faith.

Shawn A. Akers is the online editor at Charisma Media.

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