Community Conversations

The power of prayer has health benefits, science says. I’ve known that for years.

Pope Francis waves to faithful from his studio’s window overlooking St. Peter’s Square during the Angelus noon prayer at the Vatican, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019.
Pope Francis waves to faithful from his studio’s window overlooking St. Peter’s Square during the Angelus noon prayer at the Vatican, Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019. AP

Recently I received an article via email from Newsmax Media concerning the advantages of prayer. As a praying woman, the article caught my eye because the headline said: “What Prayer Does to Your Brain — New Scientific Discoveries Shine Light on Health Benefits.”

Right then, I was lassoed in. I wanted to know about the “scientific” findings about praying, something I have done — and seen results of — for as long as I have known how to pray.

People have known for centuries that sincere prayer actually does work. And now, science knows. So I guess that makes praying OK.

The information from Newsmax said, “Millions of Americans believe in the power of prayer. In fact, one recent poll found that 84 percent of U.S. adults prayed in the past week.” That’s impressive.

Newsmax said it sent its Mind Health Report team to find answers to such questions as: 1.) Can modern science explain prayer? 2.) What happens inside your brain when you pray? And, 3.) Does prayer really offer you specific physical, mental and emotional benefits?

In order to get the answers to these and other questions concerning prayer and its benefits, one had to click on an audio presentation.

I must admit, I clicked on the presentation. But I clicked it off when I learned I had to buy a book that detailed the conclusions of the Mind Health Report team’s findings. I am not trying to disclaim the scientific findings of the team, which according to Newsmax, learned how prayer changes you in the following ways:

1.) How a specific amount of “prayer time” per day can help prevent memory loss, mental decline, and even dementia or Alzheimer’s 2.) The dangerous prayer pitfall that can literally make you sick if you’re not careful... and 3.) Forty-seven scientifically proven benefits of prayer, including pain relief, reduced risk of death from heart attack or stroke, lessened anxiety and depression.

These are all important topics. But for those who might not be able to afford a new book outlining the benefits of prayer, let me recommend my favorite book: The Holy Bible. Nearly every household has one, even if it is sitting dusty on a shelf. In it, I have found not only the benefits of prayer, but how to live, how to treat my fellow humans, and so many other life-altering recommendations.

The Bible tells us that we “... ought to always pray and never faint …” and that the “... fervent prayers of the righteous avails much…”

I have lived long enough to know these are more than just phrases from the Holy Book. Prayer really does work. I have witnessed healing when people prayed.

Prayer for my son, the late James “Rick” Hines, led him to accept Jesus as his personal Savior. Years later, when doctors told him his heart was so bad that even an operation to correct the situation would not help him, we prayed together and the Lord gave Rick 15 more years of quality life before he died of a heart attack at age 55, in September 2013.

Bea Hines with her two sons, Rick, sitting next to her, who was 9 at the time. Shawn was 6. Miami

There are so many other times that I can recall when prayer was answered when all else failed. As a young, single mom, I prayed when I didn’t know where the next meal was coming from, or when I didn’t know how the rent would be paid. Because I had faith in my prayers and in the God to whom I prayed, my prayers were answered.

Today, in the evening of my life, I am an active great-grandma, who drives one of my great-grandsons to school every day. One of our daily rituals is to hold hands and pray before he goes to school. We pray for him, his classmates, his teachers, the principal and all the people who are responsible for the safety of our children while they are in school.

I don’t know the effect our praying time will have on my great-grandson, and so I pray for God to teach him how to believe.

I explain to him that not all prayers are answered the way we would have them answered, or when they are answered. At such times, I tell him, believers must rely on the will of God, who knows what we need even before we ask.

Prayer, and my faith is what has sustained me for all these years.

Special award for special person

It is never too late to say congratulations, and today we send warm congratulations to Cecily Robinson Duffie, Esq., who was presented with the 2019 Eunice W. Thompson Merit Award at the 64th National Convention of Charmettes. The award is the 68-year-old organization’s highest honor.

Duffie is the daughter of the late Andrew and Thelmarie Mitchell Robinson. She graduated with honors from North Miami Senior High School and received a bachelor’s in journalism from the University of Florida, where she was a presidential scholar and a recipient of the Karl and Madira Bickel Assistantship. She earned her law degree from Nova University in 1988, and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1989.

Married 33 years to Minister Troy Duffie, she and her husband are the parents of five, including a set of twins. When the twins were in kindergarten, Duffie successfully changed the Miami-Dade County Schools’ policy related to admitting twins and multiples to magnet schools.

Aside from her family and her career, Duffie is devoted to her church, St. John Institutional Baptist in Overtown, and is the founder of the St. John Youth Retreat, which she has served as chair for 20 years.

Duffie also serves as program director for the Miami Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, and is a member of the board of The Alternative Program (a pre-trial diversion program for first-time criminal offenders), and Iota Phi Lambda Sorority.

In addition to the twins — the Rev. Cecil Andrew and Cecily Anastasia — Duffie and her husband are the parents of Minister Troy Adam, Caitlyn and Trinity. They live in North Miami.

A bowling party

The Universal Truth Center for Better Living will sponsor a “Let’s Go Bowling” party from 1:30 to 4 p.m. on Aug. 31, and the community is invited to join the congregation at Sparez Bowling Lanes in Davie.

The cost is $15 per person and includes shoes and food. Call the church at 305-624-4991 to RSVP. You may also email the church at: to RSVP and for more information.

Health fair

The Miami Lakes Stake Center, 8201 NW 186th St., will have a free “Community and Health Fair” from 2 to 6 p.m. Aug. 31.

The event will feature information on education, healthcare providers, activities for children, music, guest speakers, a Zumba class, fire truck demonstrations, and snacks and refreshments. It’s free and the community is invited.

Osher class registration

The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Florida International University will have its Fall Open House at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 4. The free event will be at FIU’s Kovens Conference Center, 3000 NE 151st St. For information, call 305-919-5900 or visit:

Also, on Sept. 18, Chip Cassidy will offer a wine-tasting class for OLLI at the university from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The event will teach adults the art of wine tasting while sampling multiple wines, which will be served with cheese and crackers. The cost is $15 per person. To register, call 305-919-5900 or visit: