Prayer is one of the basic norms of religious practices. Whether you are a Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu or someone who has belief in some form of religion, you must be aware that you show allegiance, gratitude, or even ask for blessings from your God by praying.
Religion is deeply ingrained in the life of common people, in fact, there are more people with a strong belief in some form of God compared to the people who negate the existence of God. There are more people in the world who pray to God compared to people who don’t pray.
Why do religious people pray? Do prayers actually work? Is prayer just a method to “find God in life” that does not have any scientific proof?
For a long time, it was believed that prayers boost your morale, gives you confidence, makes you optimist, helps you find a motive in life; in other words, it was believed that prayers work in the psychological plane. By constantly praying you would develop spiritually, and the spiritual development would help you psychologically and emotionally.
However, after many years of research involving thousands of people, scientists have found interesting facts about praying.
Does prayer have the power to heal?
Can prayer heal you? YES say the scientists.
Let’s be straight forward.
Someone is battling with cancer, will he be able to cure cancer by praying? Or let say, someone just suffered a stroke. His relatives start praying for his health. Will this person recover?
YES is the answer. When you pray, you will be able to cure your disease. When some pray for you, your health will improve.
In the last 10 years, there have been hundreds of researches on whether your own prayers or the prayers from others, have anything to do with your health. Almost all studies point to the same thing, when you pray or when someone prays for you, your health will improve. The researches include systematic investigations, clinical trials, and case studies.
According to Herbert Benson, a Harvard scientist who has been studying “Healing Power of Prayers” for the past 30 years, all forms of prayer evoke a relaxation response that eliminates stress, calms the body, and promotes healing.
How does prayer heal?
So, the scientists say prayers have healing properties. How does prayer heal?
Prayer involves constant repetition of sounds, words, sentences or stanzas from religious books. Herbert Benson performed brain MRI on people who prayed regularly. He discovered that prayers also have physiological changes in the brain and body. In another research from the University of Pennsylvania, it was found that when an individual prays very intense activity begins to take place in his brain. For example, the limbic system starts controlling the autonomic nervous system, heart rate, blood pressure, and metabolism.
In his book Handbook of Religion and Health, Harold Koenig, and associate professor of medicine and psychiatry at Duke, documents about 1,200 studies performed on this topic. Interestingly all of these studies show that prayer not only promotes mental health for also physical health.