There was a question asked for my potpourri sermon that I want to address here, since it was really about what I say before we enter our silent time. The questioner wanted to know why we are asked to hold those in our hearts who are ill or troubled. It's a good question, because it is highly doubtful that it will be the least benefit to them. Although there was a study some years ago that concluded that prayer for those who were ill had beneficial results it was terribly flawed, and later studies that were far more rigorous not only failed to confirm that finding but one of them even suggested that there were negative results - luckily not statistically significant, since it would be very difficult to keep people from praying under those conditions. It is not for them at that time that I ask that we do that but for ourselves. When we take that time to hold others in our car-ing and concern, those whom we know and those whom we do not, reaching out beyond our own personal concerns, we are helping our spirits to grow a little. And who knows, later it can even be translated into compassionate action. Even if it is not, it is well sometimes to put ourselves to the side for the sake of others.