Praying habits have been an integral part of our learning since we were born in the Hindu Society. Our Parents and grandparents have been teaching us how to join our hands and close our eyes while praying. But have we ever wondered, what could possibly be the benefit of praying?
I know there will be a case setup by Atheists, who would say that we don’t believe in the “Higher Power”and that our existence has been logically explained by studies that all forms of life on earth exist due to the perfect living conditions, environment and the distance of earth from the sun.
Well here comes the answer from several other studies that not only provide compelling evidence that the “Higher Power” exists but there are also scientifically proven benefits of praying. Of course, faithful individuals from every religious denomination have always claimed prayer can heal our bodies along with our souls. But these claims have long been questioned by science.
One of the recent studies about “Feeling closer to Higher Power” was done at Wayne State University in Michigan , the research found that people suffering from traumatic brain injuries or depression who feel closer to higher power have actually healed faster.
“Feeling closer to higher power not only made them feel better but also improved their functional capabilities to do tasks” said the Head researcher Brigid Waldron-Perrine. This is not it, an experiment at the coronary care unit in August of 1983 involving 393 patients was conducted. It was a double –blind experiment assessing the effects of prayer. The patients were randomly selected by a computer to divide them into groups where they would either receive prayer or not and there was no way that the patients could know that in which group they were selected or to sum it up they did not know whether they will receive the prayer or not.
At the conclusion of the experiment it was found that the patients who received prayer were healthier than the ones who did not. Compared with the ones who did not receive prayer , these were the following observations , they had lesser need of:
• Mechanical Ventilators
Even the doctors at San Francisco General said that only prayers were a possible cause of such outcomes in the patient’s involved.
In the time of crisis, we have all kneeled before god but another such study that supports the claim of long term health and well being effects of prayers. This study was conducted by Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond who analysed 1902 sets of twins.
It turned out that twins who were committed to spiritual lives had lower levels of depression, addiction and lower rate of Divorce. Praying habits not only made them happier , but also gave them a sense of self contentment.
These studies above were not supported by laws of physics, so the effects of prayer were now studied onto produce physical or quantitative changes in the brain. Barbara Bradley Hagerty published a 5 part NPR series called “Is this your Brain on God?” In this series Hagerty explores that prayer has restorative and preventative potential or in other words scientists can observe noticeable differences between the brains of those who pray and those who don’t.
One such amazing finding was done by Andrew Newburg who is a practising neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of How God Changes your Brain. He has been studying the brains of people with Religious Beliefs for a long span of 10 years. He says meditation and prayer have visible effects on the frontal lobe and that these effects are positively long lasting.
Apart from scientific findings, prayers not only give a sense of well being and contentment but also spread:
We hope that we have given enough reasons to people to start praying if they haven’t been doing it lately.