This week I read an article in Ladie’s Home Journal about a woman who is living the reality of a lot of women at the present time. Out of work. Issues to address everywhere she turns. Complete overload.
Even without the added challenge of being out of work, people are just plain too busy. Most of the time we are too busy to even think. I mean the kind of thinking that doesn’t involve our next task, or destination, or meal to prepare.
When is the last time you had the time to sit down and think? For many people, this may be the quiet time you sit down to pray.
The story I read centered around the benefits of prayer. The writer stumbled upon a simple prayer that was able to comfort her, and then she questioned how that happened.
She talked with people in religious life, religious studies, searching for answers about why prayer was able to relax her and do such good things for her in the midst of chaos in her life.
The individualism of prayer was discussed. Prayer can be such a powerful force for a person without involving another person. It can take you out of your own life for that time and away from reality itself.
Having both the opportunity to feel like she is connecting directly to the source and also to step away from the current demands of life seem to appeal to women especially.
It’s not like most of us expect that everything we ask is going to be granted, so why is prayer this powerful force for many of us?
The next part of the article became interesting to me. What is the connection between faith and our bodies? Are there health benefits? There is current scientific research being done on exactly this question, and there has been progress made.
First was the connection between strong faith and lower rates of depression. Next it was discovered that there was a relationship between daily prayer and lower blood pressure.
There was also the discovery that attending public prayer services regularly was associated with having a stronger immune system. These are positive and powerful health benefits that prayer can influence.
Next came some challenging questions. Can you pray simply to gain better health results? Will we get the same effect if we simply slow down and spend time on reflection or meditation?
What about time spent engaging in yoga or other relaxation or meditative physical exercise? There seems to be a difference between prayer and meditation, even if both can provide health benefits.
Toward the end of the article a new scientific field of study was introduced: neurotheology, the biological basis of religion and spirituality. Scientists have shared some powerful information when looking at the brains of people in deep meditation or a deep prayerful state.
They expected to see the part of the brain where we concentrated was very active, but were surprised to see that part of the brain that would receive outside signals was shut down. This demonstrates the one-ness you can feel when deep in prayer.
Depending on your beliefs, you will have your own explanation for what happens to your body and to your mind. Is it God or is it your body? Or maybe the most important consideration is the fact that we have an outlet for our crazy lives.