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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Why Pray when You can Fight?

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Fighting makes us feel strong.  Prayer reminds us that we are vulnerable.  Fighting makes us feel in control.  Prayer reminds us to let go and let God.  Fighting feeds on anger and bitterness.  Prayer feeds on forgiveness and peace.

I became a Christian 42 years ago, after 17 years of spiritual hide-and-seek.  Being raised in church, I was taught to pray as a child but never really understood the intimacy of a real relationship.  As a teenager, my prayer life gradually faded into non-existence.  I never rejected God.  I just kept God at a convenient distance without even realizing it.

God to me was not untrue, but rather irrelevant.  I never rejected prayer.  It just slipped off my radar screen into oblivion.  I never rejected the Church.  I just found it painfully boring and obscure.  Though I was desperately seeking for the meaning of life, I had no idea that the Church would have anything to offer in that area.

When I was brutally attacked as a teenager by a gang member, I turned to martial arts in a secret desire for both self-defense and revenge.  Fighting made me feel strong.  I had no idea that prayer might turn out to be a more powerful weapon.  Within a year, I came to know Jesus Christ on a personal basis, and lost the desire to get even.  A few years later, I discovered that this bully had gone after someone larger than him who had kicked this bully’s teeth in and twisted a broken beer bottle in his face.  Hearing that story taught me that violence always breeds violence.  It was better to forgive because there is always ‘a faster gunfighter just waiting around the corner.’  Even with that realization, it still took me twenty years  before I finally parted company with martial arts.

When I met Jesus Christ 42 years ago, I was flabbergasted that someone was actually listening.  Prayer no longer felt like talking to the ceiling plaster.  It felt personal, real, and infectious.  I couldn’t get enough of connecting to this new best-friend.  There had been  an emptiness inside me that skiing, golfing, and parties couldn’t fill.  Through prayer, I felt a new inner peace and warmth that even my former drinking buddies noticed.

Going back to church, I noticed that church wasn’t as boring as it used to be.  While it may have changed, the big thing was that I had changed from the inside out.  I developed a new love and concern for people that I used to avoid and even look down on.  Instead of resenting life, I began to wake up looking forward to the next adventure that was ahead of me.

One of the things that troubled me though, as a new Christian, was the infighting between all the different denominations.  Why couldn’t the Anglicans, Baptists, Pentecostals, Mennonites, Presbyterians, etc learn to get along and stop competing?  Sometimes Christians reminded me of my old life as a non-Christian when I would rather fight than pray.

One of the wonderful gifts of living on the North Shore is that denominational bickering is at an all-time low.  Clergy and pastors speak well of each other’s congregations and even freely send parishioners to attend other churches.  There is a generosity among North Shore pastors that allows us to bless each other instead of cursing each other.

This hasn’t happened by accident.  It is the fruit of thirty-six years of weekly prayer by the North Shore clergy, first at Hillside Baptist . and now at Valley Church.  By praying together on the second Wednesday of each month, God has been teaching the North Shore pastors how much we need each other.  We busy North Shore Clergy have been learning that we are too busy not to pray.  By focusing on Jesus Christ, we have been rediscovering that we are on the same team.  Denominations are second.  Jesus is first.

Every denomination has its own strengths and weaknesses.  Instead of putting down another group for their flaws, we are learning to hold them up in prayer that they may become all that they are meant to be.  Presbyterians don’t need to become Anglicans, and Anglicans don’t need to become Baptists.  Our real calling is to love each other with the life-changing love of Jesus Christ.  Many churches have formed because someone was hurt.  We have been learning that it is time to forgive, time to heal, time to pray.  Why fight when we can pray?  My prayer for those reading this article is that we may rediscover the deep truth that the family that prays together stays together.

 

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback andebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 

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Prayer Really Changes Things…

By the Rev. Dr.  Ed HirdPraying Hands picture

The story is told of two men, Harry and Stan, who have known each other for some time.  Harry has fallen upon hard times and has come to his old friend asking for some help.

 “Why come to me?”, Stan asks.  “Why should I help you out?  What have you ever done for me?”

 “What have I ever done for you?”, Harry gasps.  “Why, don’t you remember when your house burned down several years ago, and you and your family moved in with me?”

 “Yes, I remember.  But…”

 “And what about the time your child was in danger of drowning and I jumped into the lake to rescue him?”

 “Yes, but…”

 “And how about the time that you lost your job and I gave you all that money?  Don’t you remember?  I’ve done lots for you through the years!”

 “Everything you say is true enough”, Stan says.  “But what have you done for me lately?”

Most of us on the North Shore have many things to be grateful for: employment, children, family, food on the table, a roof over our head, the forest, the mountains, the beaches, the sunshine.  All these things are wonderful gifts from God.  Prayer is simply a way of saying “Thank you” for all these wonderful gifts.  It  is so easy to grumble and complain.  It takes work to be grateful and thankful for what we have.  When we make the decision to say “thank you”, things begin to change in our lives.  When we make the decision to acknowledge our “Higher Power”, more peace and contentment can enter our personal lives.  Prayer really changes things, but first it changes us!

 

Dr. Reginald Bibby, the famous Canadian sociologist, has done some very interesting statistical research on the prayer habits and beliefs of Canadians.  He found that 75% of Canadians pray privately at least once in a while, 30% pray daily, and 28% say grace before meals at least once a week.  Close to 50% of Canadians acknowledge the possibility of having experienced God’s presence in their daily lives.  Bibby also notes that more than 40% of the nation’s 15 to 19 year olds believe that they have experienced God.  Clearly prayer is still a meaningful activity for the vast majority of Canadians.  But Canadians, especially the Baby-boomers, are wanting prayer to be much more experiential and informal than in the past.

 

Even though Canadians are people of prayer, they are also very private about their prayer lives.  Often even their spouses, or their closest friends don’t know about the extent of their prayer lives.  In previous decades, the taboo subjects were sex, death, and politics.  In our “liberated” age, the one topic that people still feel embarrassed to mention in polite conversation is their prayer lives.  Yet studies, referred to in DSCF3321Newsweek, show that spouses who can pray together report greater degrees of marital satisfaction and greater sexual intimacy.  One study showed that while up to 1 in 2 marriages break up, only 1 in 20 marriages break up where both of the couple regularly attend church.  More significantly, the study showed that only 1 in 200 couples break up where both couples go to church regularly and pray together on a regular basis.  It is encouraging to see research confirm the historic belief that “the family that prays together stays together.”  Prayer, it seems, really changes things.

 

Even medical science is beginning to confirm that prayer really makes a difference in the health and recovery of individuals.  In an experiment at San Francisco General Hospital, reported in the Southern Medical Journal,  a researcher asked outsiders to pray for a group of cardiac patients.  Even though the patients weren’t told that prayers were being said for them, the study found that they recovered faster than those in an otherwise identical control group.  Studies by Harvard Cardiologist Dr. Herbert Benson showed that patients that prayed were more successful at lowering metabolic rates, slowing the heart rate and reducing other symptoms of stress.  Even science is showing that prayer really changes things.

My prayer is that more and more of us will be able to break the taboos around prayer, and begin to discover for ourselves that prayer really changes things.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s  Church  North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide


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Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread…

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

Benjamin Franklin 2 pictureBenjamin Franklin once said, “Work as if you were to live 100 years, pray as if you were to die tomorrow.” Many of us are very dedicated and enjoy our line of work despite its intermittent frustrations. On the North Shore where I live, many have put in numerous years of preparation for our life work, either at University or some other institute. As a result, we see ourselves as responsible hard-working citizens who pay our own way and earn our own bread.

 

The danger with being hard-working and fairly successful is that we start thinking that we’ve achieved it all by ourselves. We think of ourselves as self-made men and women. Self-made people, however, suffer from the problem of worshipping their “maker”. “Self ” becomes their focus and centre, Whenever self is on ‘the throne’. other relationships (spouse, children, parents, work) tend to suffer. Self-centredness is the greatest disease for successful, hard-working people. The cure for the disease is to begin to see one’s life and “successes” more as a gift than just an achievement. Most of us were probably taughtdaily-bread as children either at home or public school to say “Give us today our daily bread.” The value of such a prayer is that it reminds us that receiving a gift is just as important as earning a reward. If we are very intelligent, it is ultimately a gift that we never earned. If we are very artistic, it is very much a gift.

 

It we are good with finances, once again that is a wonderful gift. Now we are responsible for how we develop and make use of the gifts God has given us. But let us never forget that all of our abilities are ultimately a pure gift.

wheatA few years ago, the Associated Press released a study done by an agricultural school in Iowa. It reported that production of 100 bushels of corn from one acre of land in addition to the many hours of the farmer’s labour, required 4,000,000 pounds of water, 6,800 pounds of oxygen, 5,200 pounds of carbon, 160 pounds of nitrogen, 125 pounds of potassium, 75 pounds of yellow sulphur, and other elements too numerous to list, and, in addition to these things, which no human being can produce, rain and sunshine at the right time are critical. Human beings have no control over these things. It was estimated, the report said, that only 5% of the produce of a farm can be attributed to human efforts.

If you feel led to pray the Lord’s Prayer this week, I encourage you to pray “Give us today our daily bread” with a new sense of thanksgiving and gratitude.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, Rector

BSW, MDiv, DMin

St. Simon’s Church North Vancouver

Anglican Mission in Canada

-author of the award-winning book Battle for the Soul of Canada

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 1008- 555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC, V7N 2J7, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #1008-555 West 28th Street, North Vancouver, BC V7N 2J7. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $9.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to download a complimentary PDF copy of the Battle for the Soul study guide :  Seeking God’s Solution for a Spirit-Filled Canada

You can also download the complimentary Leader’s Guide PDF: Battle for the Soul Leaders Guide