Benefits of Prayer

The Benefits of Prayer to Reduce Stress and Promote Mental Calmness

Although it has been known throughout history that religion promotes war and self-righteousness, there are many benefits of prayer and other religious practices.  For the most part, they do promote peace, trust, forgiveness, harmony and associated with mental health and well-being.  Spiritual practices can help in reducing stress and protect against anxiety, depression and suicidal thinking. Prayer is one of the spiritual practices that provides a lot of spiritual healing particularly when you experience stressed and feel overwhelmed.

The Benefits of Prayer

Prayer is part of a lot of cultures.  Some people consider it as a communication with God or a way to connect with a divine power greater than ourselves.   Numerous studies that have been conducted to show that people who pray regularly have better mental health than those who do not.1 It is also noted that people that receive prayer have a greater sense of well-being.

In addition, studies show that prayer helps reduce stress, ease anxiety and diminishes depressing thoughts and lower the risk of suicide.  Those who prayed the most showed improvement that decreases anxiety and depression, increased self-esteem, relationships, mood, and creativity.2

Prayer can also protect and build healthy relationships with those you care about.  It can give you the strength to overcome obstacles and destructive habits.  It can also provide the clarity that is needed to find solutions to difficult problems.  There are so many benefits of prayer.  In fact, the more you pray, the more you stay connected with a positive energy that keeps you hopeful.  One of the most important benefits of prayer is that it can serve to buffer the depressing effects of a stressful life. Prayer is safe it doesn’t have any side effects. You just need to want to do it, along with taking action.  Remember “God helps those who help themselves!”

Types of Prayer

There are so many different types of prayer.  They can be for healing, gratitude, thanksgiving, of praise for strength, for ourselves or for others.  There are prayers to bring about good health, calmness or even guidance.  The list is endless.  Overall, when you pray it improves your total wellbeing.  For instance, when I feel worried I begin to pray or say positive affirmations and I begin to feel better.  Below is an example:

The love of God surrounds me,
The light of God guides me,
The presence of God is with me
I can do all things through God that strengthen me!

When you send positive thoughts into the universe you attract positive energy that brings about positive results.  It is also very encouraging and reassuring.

Prayer and Mood

A simple prayer whether from a book of prayers or from the heart can be very uplifting and hopeful.  It can ease the mind of worries and provide inspiration, enabling you to move past your struggles. Prayer has the power to help change your mood when it’s done with faith. Here is an example of a prayer for stress and bible verses for peace.

Bible Verse for Peace of Mind

“I am leaving you with a gift–peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give isn’t like the peace the world gives. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27, NLT)
Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. (2 Thessalonians 3:16, ESV)
“I will lie down in peace and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.” (Psalm 4:8, NLT)
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.” (Isaiah 26:3-4, ESV)

Therefore, prayer can be simple words, a poem, a religious quote or even a mantra.  Prayer is an intimate and sacred thing for many and it serves to create positive thinking, hope, and faith.  It is a time to sit quietly to reflect and totally let go and express your most inner feelings. God already knows what you are going through and feeling.  He is just waiting for you to ask for help that he is so willing to give. Once you develop your relationship with this divine power you will look forward to every day with aspirations and willingness to become the best version of yourself.

How Often Should You Pray?

You should pray continually, but just how frequently?  There’s no one answer.  Everyone one is different.  What might be sufficient for one person might be insufficient for another?  What might be enough one day might not be enough the next day.

Some basic guidelines that you can follow are to begin each day with a prayer to God.   You can ask God for those things that you need daily.  This will show your faith in him.   It is good to pray regularly for your needs, as well as for others. Most importantly it is also wise to close each day with prayer as well.

So how often should you pray?  Often.  In doing so, you create sort of a force field that will keep you and your loved ones safe.

What Shall You Say During Prayer?

It is important to pray continuously and as much as you need from the heart.  You can ask God to guide, sustain, and protect you, your family and friends all day long.  You may also want to ask God to ease your mind, grant you a good night sleep.

Prayer can also include thanksgiving for all your blessings received. So take a moment and review your day, and you will notice that every day holds blessings.  Often, we take these blessings for granted and don’t even give it much thought.  So, it is wise to practice gratitude and recognize each blessing that comes your way.  So, remember to say thank you for your all your blessings when you pray.

Also, at times you can pray for no reason at all!  There doesn’t need to be any special reason so you can pray. Prayer is a conversation with God.  You can talk to God anywhere or anytime, quietly or out loud.  For example, as you reflect on your day, you can talk to God about it! No your not nuts, In fact, it is therapeutic as you let it all out and put it in Gods hands.   The more you pray the more secure and safe you will feel.  The more focused and clear headed you become, the better decisions you can make.  Most importantly you maintain your relationship with God and all the positive energies of the universe. In doing this, you open the door for grace and many good things.

Does God Answer Prayers?

God does answer all prayers.  Sometimes, it may take longer than you want, but you must continue praying until you get a response.  If the answer is not what you expect or want, it means that there is something better for you or perhaps a different solution is coming.  Most importantly, you may not be ready for it.  Sometimes, there is a growth process that takes precedence over what you want.  God wants you to be able to be able to handle what is forthcoming.  Perhaps, there needs to be some kind of preparation before you get what you need.

Though it may seem as if your prayers will not be answered, don’t give up. Stay strong and keep praying. From my own experience, I can say God does answer prayers. At times, it may not have been exactly what I ask for, but it is exactly what I needed.  God knows what you need.   Continue to pray and your prayers will be answered, you just need to be patient, dedicated and have faith.

So if you ever wonder what the benefits of prayers are, well it is the answer to your worries, stress, anxiety and anything else that hurts you mentally, emotionally or physically.  It is the most empowering tool that you can use throughout your life to refresh, restart, rebuild and regroup.  When people let you down, and you feel low, lost, or worthless, and everything else fails, turn to prayer and develop your relationship with God who will never fail or let you down!

References:

1Levin J. Spiritual determinants of health and healing: an epidemiologic perspective on salutogenic, mechanisms.  Altern Ther Health Med 2003,9:48-57.

2Larson DB, Greenwold Milano M. Religion, and mental health; should they work together?  Altern Complement Ther.  1996:2:91-98

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