Thursday, September 27, 2012
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
Saturday, September 22, 2012
Categorized through abstinence and engagement, spiritual disciplines emphasize denial of flesh and the connecting to God and other people. Vos (2012) indicated that Willard describes The Spiritual Disciplines as tried and true activities employed in order to give our spirits more control over our bodies, by molding and shaping our embodied selves. Vos goes further in the literature stating that the spiritual disciplines are limited in power, because they are designed solely to put us in a place where God's grace can change us; making us totally reliant on God for our spiritual transformation.
The ideal of personal spiritual growth, in general, is birthed out of pure discipline. This discipline or obedience may be entailed through routine activities, such as The Spiritual Disciplines, being exercised that create a favorable
I believe the overarching principles associated with the influence of The Spiritual Disciplines on personal growth is the emphasis of relationship and the heightened sense of accountability. Proverbs such as "iron sharpens irons..." promote personal growth and the essentially betterment of mankind. To that end, I believe this sharpening process is only attainable through The Spiritual Disciplines' underlying message of being fully reliant on God.
Willard, D.(1996). Spirituality: Going beyond the limits. Christian Counseling Today, 4 (1), 16-22.
Willard, D. (1998). Spiritual Disciplines, spiritual formation, and the restoration of the soul. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 26 (1), 101-109.
Vos, B. (2012). The Spiritual Disciplines and Christian ministry. Evangelical Review Of Theology, 36(2), 100-114.
Friday, September 21, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
2 Corinthians 4:16-18
Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardley we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
“Pray for me...Pray for our troops...Our prayers are with the families of this tragedy...You are in my prayers...Our thoughts and prayers are with you...Let’s take a moment of silence…”
Is bending a knee worth the energy?In an age of data driven practice, this seems to be a question researchers in the fields of medicine and psychology are beginning to ask more frequently in their research efforts.
Recently, medical research has emerged within academic literature exploring the physical healing benefits of religious activities from various faith communities, including meditation and prayer, as complementary alternative therapies to traditional medical practice. The work of Green and Turner (2010) explores the health benefits of meditation in working with brain injury patients and presents a call for further research on the healing properties of meditation. Researchers in the field of pediatrics have examined and call for continued research regarding the appropriate integration of spiritual and religious practices into their work with patients; including, but not limited to praying with patients. Rekha Chaudhary M.D., presents her mother's story of 'supernatural' physical healing in a case study published in the Journal of Pacing and Clinical Electrophysiology—She proposes her mother’s story is an example supporting the possibility of physical healing resulting from intercessory and personal prayer.
Of particular interest to this reader are the results from research studies examining the correlation between specifically Christian prayers said for patients who were unaware they were being prayed for and their improved physical health outcomes. In San Fransisco, a study in which cardiac patients who were unknowingly prayed for by Christians showed those prayed for had less congestive heart failure, required less medical intervention, and had less medical complications than the control group of patients who were not prayed for. A similar study was conducted on cardiac patients in Kansas City yielding analgous results. Of final note, was a study on hospital patients suffering from a bloodstream infection. The duration of fever and overall hospital stay of individuals for whom intercessory prayer was said for, was less than a control group of patients who were not prayed for. Overall mortality rate was only slightly lower in those prayed for.
However, not all medical research points to an empirical correlation between physical healing and general types of prayer. For example, in a study of the relationship between physical healing and music, imagery, and touch (MIT) therapy and masked intercessory prayer of various faith systems (the patient was unaware of the prayers), no significant relationship was found. Additionally, an article in the British Journal of Cancer documents a replication study by Zachariae et al. (2005) in which the researchers found that contrary to the indications of a previous study, patients with cancer who were unaware of being prayed for did not experience significant improvement in their physical symptoms when compared with a control group. The researchers propose that there may have been psychosocial and psychophysiological benefits to the patients, but no physical healing of the cancer cells (Zachariae et al., 2005).
In regards to mental health and healing, researchers in the field of psychology have been increasingly examining the relationship between spiritual practices such as prayer and mental health. A meta-analyses conducted by Hodge (2007) of empirical research studies on intercessory prayer showed that in alignment with the APA's Division 12 criteria, intercessory prayer can be considered an experimental intervention with a small, but significant positive effect (Hodge, 2007). The research of Laird et al. (2004) on five dimensions of personal prayer in the lives of arthritis patients showed that healthy mental adjustment to arthritic conditions was positively related to specific types of prayer (ex. prayers of Thanksgiving), level of faith, and frequency of personal prayer in patients’ lives. Of particular interest to this reader, are the writings emerging in the field of psychology presenting preliminary findings surrounding the use and efficacy of specifically Christian Inner Healing Prayer (Garzon, 2005; Tan, 2007). During this type of prayer (Theophostic Ministry) a counselor, with the client’s permission, guides the client as he/she prayerfully walks through painful memories seeking God’s insight and healing (Tan, 2007; Garzon, 2005). Siang-Yang Tan (2007) presents a case study presenting what he believes is a practical and ethical use of prayer and inner healing prayer in conjunction with Christian Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
A survey of both Christian and Secular academic literature on prayer and physical and mental healing shows that researchers in the medical and mental health communities are engaging in and calling for more data regarding the potential existence and nature of the relationship between prayer and healing. Although I am personally encouraged by the research community’s interest in prayer and the nature of its relationship to physical and mental health and healing, I am beginning to wonder as Krucoff and Crater (2009) examine, whether we can ever truly empirically capture the complexities of the relationship between prayer and healing. Part of my personal belief system is that healing from God may not be limited to physical and mental improvement in the material realm. Can we assume that because a person who is prayed for does not physically heal or improve in their mental functioning on earth that prayers are not heard and answered? I must admit, I am excited and quite curious to see what the emerging research surrounding the topic of prayer will reveal in the future. However, I am even more curious to know if the God of the Universe--who is said to typically not be a fan of being tested, will sit still long enough under the microscope for us to figure Him out.