Most people don’t associate prayer with physical health, but moreso spiritual health and a relationship with God/a creator. Not only is prayer the way to communicate with our internal selves and our higher power, but is an excellent way to improve our overall health on so many levels, including physically. Praying has been shown to alter brain chemistry, reduce stress, lower blood pressure and create a sense of purpose and love (which that in and of itself has benefits – see post on purpose : ). The physical effects and scientific data around prayer is undeniable. Check this out:
Fact or Myth: Are the Effects of Prayer Scientifically Proven to Lead to Healing?
“Most extraordinary of all is the way prayer has been shown to produce physical changes in the brain. Barbara Bradley Hagerty put together a 5-part NPR series called, “Is This Your Brain on God?” In the series, Hagerty explores a possible reason that prayer has such restorative and preventative potential. That is, scientists can see noticeable differences between the brains of those who pray or meditate often and those who don’t.
One scientist in particular had published astonishing findings. His name is Andrew Newberg, and he’s a practicing neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania and author of How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings – Amazon.com. Newberg has been scanning the brains of people with religious convictions for more than 10 years. He says meditation in particular has a very visible effect on the brain’s frontal lobe. He believes that the neurological effects of prayer and meditation can be long-lasting.”
The studies below are just a few more examples why it’s so important to pray, but they also illustrate why it’s important to pray to a loving and personal creator. When you know, understand and BELIEVE that an infinitely powerful, all-knowing, all-loving, maximally great being in every conceivable way created YOU for a specific reason and wants to have a personal relationship with YOU (and oh by the way DOES answer prayers) you should want to engage in that activity as much as possible.
Even if a specific prayer isn’t “answered” in a specific desired way, you should not get discouraged. The simple act of prayer has a profound impact on the human body and physical health, regardless of the outcome. Obviously, praying does not need to involve the “asking of something” anyways!
I find it so fascinating that all of these metaphysical aspects of health (meditation, praying, beliefs, purpose, mindfulness, positive thought, etc.) have PHYSICAL benefits to the human body. It is as if we were almost designed to partake in these activities regularly because they are so beneficial. Some argue there is no God, higher power, etc. If that is the case, it is pretty interesting, to say the least, that all of this metaphysical “hokey” stuff works!
I know it’s not the cool thing to talk about, or even do in this day and age. I find myself almost sounding like an evangelist at times, but it is not my intention to push religion or my beliefs on anyone. I simply want to show why I believe what I believe, but more importantly show why it is fundementally beneficial to your health to do things like pray and meditate often. I incorporate it into my daily routine and encourage you to as well. Strong faith is healthy!
Here are a couple more cool articles on prayer and health:
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