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The secret to well-being may lie in worship

Nicholas Stojakovich's spiritual well-being grew once he supplemented his private faith with attendance at Hope Church in Springfield.

And the church was there for him when his only son, Matthew, 25, died in an August 2008 auto accident in Pennsylvania in which he was a passenger in a car that hit a pole.

“I was just an absolute mess. My whole world just came crashing down,” said Stojakovich, who lives in Springfield. “I loved my son dearly and had a lot of questions about faith. I never got angry at God as much as I just (asked), ‘God, why?’”

Without the support of his church family, Stojakovich said he doesn’t know what he would have done. They talked and prayed with him. A group of people surrounded him with love, concern and support.

“They didn’t always have the answers. It was just more listening and a hug, a card, a phone call, those types of things,” Stojakovich said.

Stojakovich, who has two daughters, misses talking to his son, but he said he knows he’ll see him again.

“Without a place called ‘Hope,’ I might not have much hope,” Stojakovich said.

Religious anchor

Stojakovich is an example of what a new Gallup-Healthways study found about Americans who say that religion is an important part of their daily lives. Those who say faith is important also have the highest rates of well-being when it comes to their emotional and physical health and their work environment.

The very religious, also defined as those who attend worship services at least every week or almost every week, scored 68.7 (on a scale of 0 to 100) on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, while the moderately religious and the nonreligious each received a score of 64.2. The finding is based on a survey of more than 550,000 people (Healthways is a global well-being company).

Religious Americans with high well-being have higher levels of life evaluation, work environment perceptions, healthy behaviors, emotional health and physical health, according to the article “Religious Americans Enjoy Higher Wellbeing” (available on www.gallup.com).

Researchers didn’t determine why the very religious had higher levels of well-being.

But they speculate that being highly religious generally involves more meditative states and faith in a higher power, both of which have been used as methods to lower stress, reduce depression and promote happiness. Religion provides mechanisms for coping with setbacks and life’s problems, which in turn may reduce stress, worry and anger.

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The Urantia Book on Worship:

196:3.19 True religious worship is not a futile monologue of self-deception. Worship is a personal communion with that which is divinely real, with that which is the very source of reality. Man aspires by worship to be better and thereby eventually attains the best.

143:7.5 Worship is intended to anticipate the better life ahead and then to reflect these new spiritual significances back onto the life which now is. Prayer is spiritually sustaining, but worship is divinely creative.

Worship is the technique of looking to the One for the inspiration of service to the many. Worship is the yardstick which measures the extent of the soul's detachment from the material universe and its simultaneous and secure attachment to the spiritual realities of all creation.

Prayer is self-reminding—sublime thinking; worship is self-forgetting—superthinking. Worship is effortless attention, true and ideal soul rest, a form of restful spiritual exertion.

Worship is the act of a part identifying itself with the Whole; the finite with the Infinite; the son with the Father; time in the act of striking step with eternity. Worship is the act of the son's personal communion with the divine Father, the assumption of refreshing, creative, fraternal, and romantic attitudes by the human soul-spirit.

And on Prayer:

91:8.13 Prayer is not a technique of escape from conflict but rather a stimulus to growth in the very face of conflict. Pray only for values, not things; for growth, not for gratification.

144:4.9 Prayer is the sincere and longing look of the child to its spirit Father; it is a psychologic process of exchanging the human will for the divine will. Prayer is a part of the divine plan for making over that which is into that which ought to be.

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