If you read my book Making Life Easy you know that having a spiritual practice is important to our health, happiness, and wholeness. When you put your faith in a higher power there is a constant source of healing energy available to your through the Creator (who goes by many names.) This is true whether you are religious, believe in the Law of Attraction, or have some other spiritual beliefs.
Praying is a common element of most spiritual practices and has been linked to better health and well-being. Jeff Levin, a social epidemiologist, has noted there are more than 1600 studies that show the correlation between religious and spiritual participation and health! One case study showed that prayer is effective no matter what your belief system or religion. And prayer is effective regardless of diseases or health conditions, age, sex, race or ethnicity, or nationality.
In the study, the author notes that believing in the power of your prayers may be what activates healing. He states:
The belief of the praying person in the power of the prayer itself may stimulate healing, as the placebo effect suggests. The relaxation response and the sense of self-efficacy gained through the act of praying may enhance the immune system. Despite these explanations of the mechanisms through which prayer promotes healing, there sometimes exists a facet of prayer and healing that defies rational explanation and seems to suggest the existence of a higher power.
There are certainly many cases of “spontaneous healing” where the existence of a higher power is the only explanation. Anita Moorjani’s inspirational story is just one that comes to mind.
How Regular “Prayer Sessions” Can Improve Your Health
Prayer is like vitamin D for your soul. A little works well, but it’s even more effective when it builds up in your system. When you pray out loud, the sound of your prayer resonates throughout your body. But even silent or contemplative prayers have positive benefits.
Prayers may be directed (e.g., prayers for specific things, petition prayers) or general with no specific outcome in mind. You can pray for yourself or offer intercessory “distant” prayers for others.
A 2015 systematic review of randomized controlled studies showed that prayer (whether petition or intercessory) consistently helped patients cope in times of illness and crisis. Other studies have shown prayer is effective in helping to increase conception rates among infertile couples and reduce ICU stays for heart attack patients. Other studies have shown prayer to be beneficial for HIV, cancer, anxiety and depression, cardiovascular disease and surgery, rheumatic disease, and more.
In general, there is nothing that isn’t helped by prayer. And it doesn’t matter what type of prayers you use. What matters is your sincere desire to connect with the Divine.
5 Ways Prayer Can Help You Heal
- Elicits the Relaxation Response. The relaxation response described by Herbert Benson, M.D. over 40 years ago is the physiologic opposite of the fight-or-flight response. A 2015 report showed that when the relaxation response is induced the health effects include lower blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen consumption. This is associated with feelings of reduced stress and anxiety. The report also showed that participants needed fewer health care services during the following year. Part of the reason prayer creates a relaxation response is that it allows you to release control to something greater than yourself.
- Produces endorphins. People who sing their prayers have decreased the levels of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and increased the level of oxytocin, which promotes the release of endorphins. This may be why gospel choir singers are often in a state of elation. Higher levels of endorphins brought on by singing can also help to reduce stress and improve your pain threshold. Singing your prayers before you go to sleep may help increase the production of melatonin in your pineal gland, which helps regulate many bodily functions and can improve risk factors for severe COVID-19, such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance and diabetes, and may inhibit a cytokine storm. If you’re not into singing, try humming hymns of prayer. Humming increases nitric oxide levels in your sinuses, which in turn decreases inflammation in the respiratory tract.
- Make you feel gratitude. Feelings of gratitude, hope, and compassion have been shown to increase physical healing and wellness. In addition, to counteracting stress and cortisol, people who feel grateful are often more alert, enthusiastic, and have more energy which contributes to feelings of wellness.
- Invokes the Law of Attraction. When you have a positive attitude, you raise your vibration. This helps attract the things that you want. Saying prayers out loud raises your vibration and the vibrational patterns around you, which just might help you manifest your dreams or desires, including the desire for improved health.
- Helps you cope better. People who pray tend to have more hope. This comes from having a connection to a loving spiritual presence, as well a connection to others in their faith community. People who have hope experience fewer episodes of depression and anxiety, and in general are able to cope better with health setbacks and respond better to medical treatments.
How to Use Prayer to Heal
There are so many ways to use prayer to heal your body, mind, and spirit. Here are a few that may resonate with you.
- Stick with tradition. If you are religious, then use the prayers that you are familiar with and say regularly. You can direct your prayers toward healing a specific ailment. You can ask a specific divine being for healing. And you can use the prayers you like to pray for healing of others.
- State affirmations. Affirmations are a beautiful way to connect to the Divine. Your affirmations can be specific to what you want to heal, or they can be more like mantras to help affirm something you want. For example, saying “I am healthy. I am whole” may be all you need to create the connection with Divine healing energy.
- Use Divine love petition. My friend Robert Fritchie, founder of the World Service Institute, teaches people how to use Divine Love Petitions to connect directly to Source and heal. You can learn more and watch a free video on how to use the petitions at his website.
- Change it up. Tyr using a “Change Me” prayer. A Change Me prayer is one where your little self asks your Higher Self—the wiser part—to take the wheel. You start by offering everything to the Divine, including your health, and trusting the part of you that is orchestrating things from a higher perspective. A Change Me prayer can be as simple as saying “Divine Beloved, please change me into someone who stops worrying, and into someone who trusts that all will work out for the best.” You can learn more about Change Me prayers in Tosha Silver’s book Outrageous Openness: Letting the Divine Take the Lead.
- Create your own prayer ritual. No matter how you ask for assistance, the most important thing is that you commit to connecting with the Divine. Whether you create a prayer ritual using props, pray in specific location or at a designated time, wear certain clothing, or simply take time each day to talk with yourhigher power. Be sure to focus on your intentions. Be specific about what you want to experience when connecting with your divinity.
Have you experience healing through prayer? Please share your stories.