You don’t have to be religious to feel the benefits of prayer. Prayer is for anyone and is one of the most powerful mindful techniques. Prayer can be used to generate positivity, help you connect with nature, provide comfort in times of trauma and sadness or to seek guidance in the moments you feel most lost or alone. Prayer is your greatest friend and your cosiest blanket. Particularly at times of need.
Prayer is universal, there is no particular place in which you have to do it, it costs nothing and benefits everyone, it is the greatest gift you can give to yourself and others.
Prayer could be seen as a powerful, simple meditation of being grateful, thankful or to find a moment where you’re connecting to a universal source that will always listen and be your confidant. Prayer is a safe place to come back to when you’ve lost hope or faith or experienced the greatest disappointment. It will provide the bridge you’ve been searching for where you will always find compassion and comfort. Both Prayer and meditation have a soothing and calming effect that are beneficial to our mind and body connection.
Research has proven that there are many powerful effects of meditation and mindfulness on our health. Studies conducted by Sara Lazar from The Mindfulness Research collaborative at Harvard Medical School have found that meditation can change how our brains function, and that it leads to structural changes in the brain that affiliate with the ageing process. You can watch Sara’s Tedx Talk if you’re interested in this area, she talks about how it can improve your happiness and concentration as well as improve depression.
Prayer has long been used as a means for comfort in medical settings. Research shows that there are beneficial effects of meditative prayer. A study conducted at the Mid America Heart Institute, found patients were likely to have a faster recovery with fewer complications. Further studies indicated patients had a stronger immune function and a greater purpose to live than those who didn’t have prayer or spiritual support services. Prayer also assisted in heart patients healing and recovery from cardiac and heart surgery operations. And had positive outcomes in lowering depression in cancer patients.
Prayer as a form of spiritual meditation has been proven to have greater effects than non spiritual or faith based meditation and improvement of overall quality of life.
Dr. Jeffrey Rediger, a University Professor from Harvard Medical School and a graduate of divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, discusses his view on the mind, body connection in his Ted Talk “A Medicine of hope and possibility“. He looks at how the mind and body connection, could have a great effect on the outcomes of patients with diseases. He is also the author of “Cured: The Life Changing Science of Spontaneous Healing”, which is a great insight into how we heal our body and miraculous recoveries from patients with disease. When we have the opportunities to read books such as these, we can better understand, that miracles are possible and have happened over centuries.
Meditative prayer may have different meanings for everyone, while some may practice their prayers formally, others may take just a moment to say thanks. Prayers can be said while your’e undertaking any task, whether its cooking, cleaning, working or mowing the lawn, it is accessible in every moment. Thats why prayer is so unconditionally felt throughout every country and city across the world, because prayer is a connection in every moment in time with something greater than ourselves. We can’t see it, we can’t touch it, but we can all benefit from it.