Have you ever watched an orchestra? There are times when everyone is playing, but also times when various musicians are given the opportunity to rest. A music director I knew used to say, “The rests are the hardest notes to play.”
Sometimes taking a rest from our normal, busy lives may seem the hardest thing to do, but according to recent research it can be very beneficial. Neuroscience journalist, Maia Szalavitz, wrote for Time Magazine, “When you really relax – using any type of meditative technique such as deep breathing, yoga or prayer – the genes in your body switch to a different mode. Genes that counteract the chemical effects of stress kick in, while those responsible for driving more anxious and alert states take a backseat.”
But could it be that prayer can do more than just bring peace to one’s mind? Long before we had any idea what happened to genes when we pray, in settings in and outside of medical research – individuals found that communing with the Divine can do more for one’s health than merely quieting our thought. It actually can be a vital medicinal force.
Spiritual healer, Ron Roth, writes on the health benefits of prayer, including his own release from a painful foot problem in his book, The Healing Path of Prayer. Even though he recognizes that there are many different ways to pray, he brings prayer that heals down to this: “To pray is to be spiritually treated by the medicine of God – His divine energy.”
When experienced, this divine energy quiets hurt, grief, loneliness, and fear; and this, in turn, makes our bodies more harmonious.
Physician and author, Dr. Larry Dossey MD, has been following the role prayer can play in our health, including studies focused on praying for the sick, for decades. In his book, Healing Words, he predicted, “The use of prayer will become the standard in scientific medical practice in most medical communities. So pervasive will its use become that not to recommend the use of prayer as an integral part of medical care will one day constitute medical malpractice.”
So, if we want the greatest health benefit, let’s find time for those rests that allow us to feel His divine energy!