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Fri, February 11, 2011
The power of prayer and the parietal lobe
By Sara Groves
From the time I was a kid, my parents only forced me to go to church for the Christian biggies: Christmas, Easter and weddings. Once I moved out and went to college, I became one of those annoying 20-somethings who sits around questioning the existence of God — both in philosophy classes and after drinking too much.
But then I grew up and as grown-ups do, I hit what I now think of as the bleakest, most awful and horrible period of my life. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I was lost, lonely and confused. And with nowhere else to turn, I found myself once, in the middle of a very long and dark night, in an unfamiliar place: talking to God — praying, if you will....
In the past 10 years, the federal government has invested millions of dollars in scientifically rigorous studies designed to test the efficacy of prayer and its power to heal. The results aren’t exactly conclusive. For every study that seems to link prayer to some medically desired outcome, there is another study that shows opposite or conflicting results.
But research does irrefutably support one thing: being a spiritual person, a prayerful person, a person who attends church — means you’ll live longer than those who aren’t. And the reason is pure science — your parietal lobe.
“My what?!” you’re probably asking. Your parietal lobe — a central mass of brain tissue at the top of your head that processes sensory information — is the part of your brain that changes when you pray or meditate. Now that scientists can conduct functional medical resonance imaging of brains, they are able to note other changes that occur too, namely to your thalamus region and your frontal lobes. These changes work together to help make you more resilient by helping to make you more content — happier.
This phenomenon can also be explained as prayer as “relaxation response.” In other words, prayer helps people be healthier in the same way that meditating — taking five or more minutes out of your day to sit in quiet reflection — provides physiological benefits such as slowed breathing, reduction in heart rate, a drop in blood pressure, peripheral warming and slower brain wave activity.
But there’s also the idea of prayer as placebo. The placebo effect has been shown to account for 50 to 70 percent of the therapeutic benefit derived from certain pharmaceutical and even surgical procedures. If belief in a pill can be so powerful, belief in God, which touches the devout far more than pharmacology, ought to be even more powerful.
What it boils down to: Science doesn’t deal with supernatural explanations. But, if you want to err on the side of caution when it comes to your health, establishing a relationship with God is a pretty safe bet.
Please click HERE to see the entire article, which is edited here...
From The Urantia Book:
Prayer is not a technique for curing real and organic diseases, but it has contributed enormously to the enjoyment of abundant health and to the cure of numerous mental, emotional, and nervous ailments. And even in actual bacterial disease, prayer has many times added to the efficacy of other remedial procedures. Prayer has turned many an irritable and complaining invalid into a paragon of patience and made him an inspiration to all other human sufferers.
To some individuals prayer is the calm expression of gratitude; to others, a group expression of praise, social devotions; sometimes it is the imitation of another's religion, while in true praying it is the sincere and trusting communication of the spiritual nature of the creature with the anywhere presence of the spirit of the Creator.
Words are irrelevant to prayer; they are merely the intellectual channel in which the river of spiritual supplication may chance to flow. The word value of a prayer is purely autosuggestive in private devotions and sociosuggestive in group devotions. God answers the soul's attitude, not the words.
But real praying does attain reality. Even when the air currents are ascending, no bird can soar except by outstretched wings. Prayer elevates man because it is a technique of progressing by the utilization of the ascending spiritual currents of the universe.
Link to External Source Article
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