‘Pray without ceasing.’ 1 Thessalonians 5:17 KJV
Neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, MD, who studies the relationship between spiritual phenomena and the brain, has demonstrated that we were designed physically and mentally to interact with God through prayer and Scripture. It’s a known fact that there are centres in the human brain that respond positively to prayer, reading and meditating on God’s Word, group worship, hymn singing, and empathy for other people. And Dr Newberg believes that practising a personal religious faith is the most powerful way to maintain a healthy brain.
The brain’s frontal lobe is used in focusing attention, rational thinking, and decision-making. It responds to prayer and meditation by helping to reduce stress, strengthen our immune system, enhance memory, and increase our capacity for compassion. It helps us ward off age-related brain deterioration and live longer! Newberg’s research indicates that praying for at least twelve minutes a day slows age-related brain decline. Prayer and reading Scripture also deactivates areas in the brain associated with anger, guilt, anxiety, depression, fear, resentment, and pessimism.
It seems that finally twenty-first-century science has joined ancient Scripture in echoing what the psalmist said: ‘Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvellous.’ (Psalm 139:14 NLT) Can you think of a better reason to ‘let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly’? (Colossians 3:16 KJV)
SoulFood: Deut 18–21 Mark 3:20–35 Ps 119:9–16 Pro 17:4–6
The Word for Today is authored by Bob and Debby Gass and published under licence from UCB International Copyright [cy]