“Pray without ceasing.” 1Th 5:17
Gone are the days when gun-shy theologians bowed to the god of science. Reliable scientists are now affirming how ingenious God is and how His principles hold up under the piercing light of scientific scrutiny. 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 centers 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 practicing 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 marvelous” (Ps 139:14 NLT). Can you think of a better reason to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Col 3:16)?