The power of prayer
Prayer is an important part of many religions and certain schools of thought. Depending on your beliefs, prayer can either be regarded as the communication with a higher being or the setting of intent through communication with the inner self. Religions such as Christianity, Judaism and Islam communicate with higher beings, while Gnostics and Sufis and Buddhists tend to believe that we are divine beings and can bring things about through the power of prayer.
Whatever your beliefs, the practice of prayer tends to have one thing in common: the focussing of energies on a particular person or situation, in the hope of bringing about a positive resolution. Prayer is viewed by some as a form of meditation or positive visualisation but the question remains - does it actually work?
An interesting insight into the power of prayer came as the result of an experiment conducted by the Duke University Medical Centre. Of 150 cardiac patients, those who were prayed for had the highest rate of recovery. What makes the results even more fascinating is that neither the researchers nor the patients themselves knew which of them were being prayed for. A similar study at the San Francisco General Hospital’s Coronary Care Unit offered similar results. Those who were prayed for showed a significantly diminished need for critical care, maintenance medications and sudden interventions.
Science is slowly waking up to the idea that the power of prayer is an important one. The Journal of Modern Psychology states that “prayer, like meditation, influences our state of mind which, in turn influences our state of body....Prayer and meditation also influence our thinking. This causes a shift in the habits of the mind and, subsequently, patterns of behaviour. These changes, in turn and over time, induce changes in the brain, further influencing our subjective and objective experience of the world and how we participate in it.”
While science may deem it necessary to delve deeper into the power of collective prayer and its positive effects, it only confirms to those who pray what they already believed in. Prayer is the beginning of inner transformation, which can be transmitted to create significant and positive change.