Prolific author, apologist, professor and luminary C.S. Lewis said, of prayer, “I pray because… it doesn’t change God – it changes me.”
There may now be scientific evidence of just how powerful your prayers are to change you for the better, not that we need scientific evidence, for the basis of prayer is our faith. As C. S. Lewis also said of prayer, “You can’t know, you can only believe – or not.”
A study published in Biological Psychiatry on January 29, 2016, brings scientific thoroughness to mindfulness meditation and for the first time shows that, unlike a placebo, it can beneficially change the brains of ordinary people and potentially improve their health through reduced stress and risk for various diseases, improve well-being, and, rewiring one’s brain.
35 unemployed men and women were recruited who were seeking work and experiencing considerable stress. Blood was drawn and brain scans were given to determine a baseline. Half the subjects were then taught formal mindfulness meditation at a residential retreat center; the rest completed a kind of sham mindfulness meditation that was focused on relaxation and distracting oneself from worries and stress including mindless chatter.
At the end of three days, the participants all told the researchers that they felt refreshed and better able to withstand the stress of unemployment. Yet follow-up brain scans showed differences in only those who underwent mindfulness meditation. There was more activity, or communication, among the portions of their brains that process stress-related reactions and other areas related to focus and calm. Four months later, those who had practiced mindfulness showed much lower levels in their blood of a marker of unhealthy inflammation than the relaxation group, even though few were still meditating.
These scientific discoveries confirm what Jesus promised us long ago:
But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Mt 6:6-8)
Well, if He knows what you need before you ask Him, why ask? Jesus knew the hidden power in your prayer, as your prayers change you, not God!
So, make praying to your Creator a regular habit, not making a big deal about it, and, without babbling or speeches. No churchy lingo required, no mantra needed. God will reward you with His prolific promises, including better health, better relationships, better finances, less stress, and, a rewired brain – who wouldn’t want that?