Benefits of Prayer

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Doing a search of the web for the “benefits of prayers” brought up a lot of religious websites. However, I found some credible non-religious websites had something to say about it also.

From the Psychological Science website, according to some studies prayer “can calm your “nervous system, shutting down your fight or flight response. It can make you less reactive to negative emotions and less angry.”

According to this article on the CNN website:

  • “Previous studies have associated prayer with a sense of calmness, peace, encouragement or social support.”
  • “Prayer can foster a sense of connection, whether it’s to a higher power, what a person finds important in life or their values.”
  • “Prayer can reduce feelings of isolation, anxiety and fear as well.”
  • “A 2011 study found prayer can help reduce anger and aggression.”

Psychology Today says prayer helps people have fewer depressive symptoms, and higher levels of life satisfaction, self-esteem, and a positive affect.

Healthline website says prayer:

  • increases compassion when praying for others.
  • “lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, lower blood pressure, and improved immune functioning.”

PsychCentral website says:

  • “Researchers from Baylor University found that people who pray to a loving and protective God are less likely to experience anxiety-related disorders — worry, fear, self-consciousness, social anxiety and obsessive compulsive behavior — compared to people who pray but don’t really expect to receive any comfort or protection from God.”
  • “Another recent study by Columbia University found that participating in regular meditation or other spiritual practice actually thickens parts of the brain’s cortex, and this could be the reason those activities tend to guard against depression — especially in those at risk for the disease.”

Health Fitness Revolution website lists 10 health benefits:

  • Better sense of self.
  • Good for your heart.
  • Increase lifespan.
  • Improves attitude.
  • Gain forgiveness.
  • Gives us hope.
  • Stronger mindset.
  • Recovery.
  • Maintain a positive outlook on life.

Procera Health website lists 5 health benefits:

  • Lowers inflammation.
  • Raises immunity.
  • Increases longevity.
  • Reinforces good habits.
  • Put us in touch with our true purpose, which fights anxiety and low energy.

To be fair, these studies might not be the last word on the subject. The University of Minnesota looks at the credibility of these studies. “The following issues exist in studying prayer and healing. Some are true of most medical research and some are unique to prayer.

  • Small sample size.
  • Subject selection.
  • Control group uncertainty.
  • No common, agreed-upon methodology.
  • Quantification of prayer.
  • How can we tell whether a higher power is intervening?
  • How do we measure God?”

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