Studies show prayer can be good for more than your spirit, it can also sharpen your brain. CNS photo

Praying good for the brain, not just the spirit

  • January 15, 2015

A friend popped by the other day while I was working on a Sudoku puzzle.

“I’ve never done one of those,” he said. “You like them?”

“Yes,” I answered. “I try to do at least one every day because I read somewhere that Sudoku is good for warding off diseases that can affect your mind like Alzheimer’s. Puzzles are good for the brain to keep it active.”

Then he suggested I should start praying more. “I was just reading about a bunch of new studies that say praying has neurological benefits, not just spiritual benefits. Just go Google ‘the science of prayer’ and you’ll be amazed what you’ll find.”
Later, I did just that. What I immediately found was a lot of reputable research on the topic and links that took me to some fascinating reading and video clips. I quickly learned there is even an emerging scientific field of study known as “neurotheology” which seeks to understand the relationship between the human brain and religion.

Just as we can sculpt our body’s muscles through exercise at the gym, so can we strengthen our brain by using it in different ways. Communicating directly to God in prayer, according to research, triggers incredibly high levels of activity.

There are many pioneers in neurotheology, including Montreal scientist Dr. Mario Beauregard, co-author of The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist’s Case for the Existence of the Soul. But it is the work of a Philadelphia scientist that really grabbed my attention.

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