Four men of the cloth, taking a short breather from their heavy schedules, were on a park bench, chatting and enjoying an early spring day.
“You know, since all of us are such good friends,” said one, “this might be a good time to discuss the problems that are disturbing us.” They all nodded in agreement.
“Well, I would like to share with you the fact that I drink to excess,” said one.
There was a gasp from the other three. Then another spoke up. “Since you were so honest, Id like to say that my big problem is gambling. Its terrible, I know, but I cant quit. Ive even been tempted to take money from the collection plate.”
Another gasp was heard, and the third clergyman spoke. “Im really troubled, brothers, because Im growing fond of a woman in my churcha married woman.”
More gasps. But the fourth man remained silent. After a few minutes the others coaxed him to open up. “The fact is,” he said, “I just dont know how to tell you about my problem.”
“Its all right, brother. Your secret is safe with us.”
“Well, its this way,” he said. “You see, Im an incurable gossip.”
I would let no man take confession away from me, and I would not give it up for all the treasures of the world, since I know what comfort and strength it has given me.
Research at San Francisco General Hospital has revealed that victims of heart attack, heart failure and other cardiac problems who were remembered in prayers fared better than those who were not. Cardiologist Randy Byrd assigned 192 patients to the “prayed-for” group and 201 patients to the “not-prayed-for” group. All patients were in the coronary intensive care unit. Patients, doctors and nurses did not know which group patients were in. Prayer group members were scattered around the nation and given only the first names, diagnoses and prognoses of patients. The researcher said that the results were dramatic.
The prayed-for group had significantly fewer complications than the unremembered group. And fewer members of the former died. The latter group was five times more likely to develop infections requiring antibiotics, and three times more likely to develop a lung condition, leading to heart failure. These findings were published in the American Heart Association.