Prayer Is Powerful
We have had Vacation Bible Camp at church this week and every session has included a time when the children are taught to pray. Children are being taught to pray when they have a big test coming up; pray when they are anxious and have trouble sleeping, pray to know that they have a friend who always hears them, and pray when they aren’t sure what to do. We teach our children that prayer can help them, no matter how they feel or what their situation may be.
Prayer has amazing properties. It can do all of the above and more. I was recently given an article from the Harvard Business Review, January 8, 2015, which says that prayer and other forms of mindfulness changes the brain. Recent studies indicate that at least 8 areas of the brain are consistently affected when we pray.
One of the areas affected is the hippocampus which actually grew when people prayed. It is located inside the temple on each side of the brain, and is associated with emotion and memory. While stress shrinks the hippocampus, prayer actually contributes to resilience. Neuroscientists have also shown that practicing prayer affects brain areas related to perception, body awareness, pain tolerance, emotion regulation, introspection, complex thinking, and sense of self.
In short, scientific studies are providing observable results pointing to a growing knowledge that prayer is powerful!
Loving God, we are grateful for studies which show that prayer actually changes us. When we shift our thoughts in a mindful way, we open channels for health and wholeness which can help us everyday. Thank you for the ways in which science and religion are converging to help us further understand the power of connecting with You! Amen.