Church Attendance Can Prolong Life
"Trust in the LORD with all your heart; and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths."1
In his book, Finding God in Unexpected Places, Philip Yancey says, "When Dr. David Larson was training for a career in psychiatry, faculty advisers warned him, 'You'll harm your patients if you try to combine your Christian faith with the practice of psychiatry. It's clinically impossible.' Instructors insisted that religion usually harms a person's mental health."
This troubled Larson so much that he made a study along these lines for fifteen years. He discovered that most of the research ignored the subject of religion altogether. What he did learn from the research (that did include religion) proved to be pleasantly surprising. A sampling:
Regular church attendees live longer and are less likely to abuse alcohol or drugs. Prison inmates who make a religious commitment are less likely than their counterparts to return to jail after release. He also found that people who attend church regularly are more than twice as likely to remain married.
Larson also pointed out the disastrous effects that broken homes have on families. For example, divorce dramatically increases the likelihood of an early death. It also disrupts mental health, especially for men. And it "takes a devastating toll on children. Proportionately twice as many criminals come from single-parent homes. Indeed, family structure proves more effective than economic status in predicting a life in crime. Children from broken homes are more likely to do poorly in school, abuse drugs, and attempt suicide."2
Having come from a broken home I know too well the devastating effect it has on the children. If it weren't for the grace of God, I don't know where I would be today. We simply cannot emphasize the tremendous importance of daily committing and trusting our life to the Lord and acknowledging him in everything we do.
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, with your help I choose to trust you with all my heart and acknowledge you in everything I do, and I thank you for promising to direct my paths. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. Proverbs 3:5-6.
2. Philip Yancey, Finding God in Unexpected Places, p. 81-83.
Note: See "What a Good Church Can Do for You" at: http://tinyurl.com/ov5f7 .