Praying, reading the Bible, and having a strong Christian faith can have a positive impact on both mental and physical health, according to a new report.
According to the “Faith and Wellness: Evangelical Insights on Healing and Physicians” report, released by Grey Matter Research and Infinity Concepts, 99% of evangelical Protestants agree that praying, reading the Bible, and having a strong Christian faith all contribute to positive mental health.
“For evangelicals, it appears spiritual wellness is inextricably intertwined with both physical and mental wellness,” said Mark Dreistadt, president and CEO of Infinity Concepts.
He continued, “When we explore things such as whether they believe people can be healed through prayer or whether activities such as prayer and Bible reading have a positive impact on both mental and physical health, they almost universally agree. That’s something we rarely see.”
Most respondents, 96%, believe a strong Christian faith contributes to positive physical health as well, and the same proportion says it’s also true about reading the Bible. For prayer, 98% affirm this belief.
In other words, the Gospel is literally good news for those struggling with their mental and physical wellness.
According to a new advisory from the U.S. Surgeon General, many Americans lack social connection which can lead to poor health and other negative outcomes.
As CBN News recently reported, the advisory notes loneliness and social isolation increase the risk of premature death by 26% and 29% respectively. Comparatively, a lack of social connection can increase death as much as smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.
In that same report, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek H. Murthy recognized that a steep decline in participating in religious services contributed to many Americans feeling that sense of loneliness and isolation.
“In 2020, only 47% of Americans said they belonged to a church, synagogue, or mosque,” he said. “This is down from 70% in 1999 and a dip below 50% for the first time in the history of the survey question.”
He continued, “Religious or faith-based groups can be a source for regular social contact, serve as a community of support, provide meaning and purpose, create a sense of belonging around shared values and beliefs, and are associated with reduced risk-taking behaviors. As a consequence of this decline in participation, individuals’ health may be undermined in different ways.”
Many people are yearning for deep and meaningful relationships since the COVID-19 pandemic.
A large majority of millennials felt they lacked deep, healthy interpersonal relationships, and more than half reported mental health issues like anxiety, depression, fear, and suicidal thoughts, says the study from the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University (ACU).
And American men who said they have no close friends had increased by 500% between 1990 and 2021, according to the American Survey Center.
One Barna study suggests that now is the time for the church to respond to this epidemic of loneliness.
“As a nation, we may be past the danger of COVID-19, but we’re in the thick of the danger brought about by people relying upon syncretism as their dominant worldview. Biblical churches must see this as a time for an urgent response to the direction society is taking,” the group told “Washington Watch with Tony Perkins” recently.
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The Biden administration agrees.
“Social connection is a fundamental human need, as essential to survival as food, water, and shelter. Throughout history, our ability to rely on one another has been crucial to survival,” said Murthy.
“We have an opportunity, and an obligation, to make the same investments in addressing social connection that we have made in addressing tobacco use obesity and the addiction crisis,” he added.