There are many types of meditation, and some appear to yield more health benefits than others. The greatest benefit people receive though a calm demeanor that comes from the practice of just sitting quietly with God for a few minutes a day, and meditative prayer is no different.
What many prayerful devotees don't know is that there is scientific proof that faithful quiet prayer heals from the inside. Devoted meditative prayer changes our brain and body.
From 2005 to 2008 Dr. Peter Boelens performed 1-hour per week prayer sessions with 27 men and women who suffered from anxiety and depression for 6-weeks. The results were remarkable. All participants showed significant improvement in decreased anxiety and depression, lower cortisol levels, and boosts in optimism.
Although the results were promising one month after the experiment the real surprise came one year later when doctors reassessed patients. Evaluations showed significantly less depression and anxiety and more optimism than the controlled baseline group in all cases. In other words, prayer delivers lasting healing from the inside.
When you meditatively pray, your brain activity moves from the right frontal cortex where stress resides to the calmer left frontal cortex. So when you calm down to prayer with words of faith you use the part of your brain created for meaningful worship.
Exercising the left frontal cortex results in a peaceful feeling, slower breathing, and regular calm happy heartbeats. Calm rhythmic breathing, particularly a 4:6 ratio, or 6 breaths per minute aligns your breath with the heart which promotes good for cardiovascular health. Other physical benefits include slow aging, deep restorative rest, and lower blood pressure.
Meditative prayer also helps your brain by increasing cognitive processes in creativity, optimism, improved mood, better learning skills, increased memory, and emotional stability. The more you pray or meditate, the greater all these benefits will manifest.
7 Ways To Improve Your Prayer Power
#1 - The Right Time
The most important part of your practice is time. Anything worth pursuing is worth investing time, and time well spent on prayerful meditation will reap rewards days, weeks, months, and years into the future.
Define a specific hour in the morning when you will dedicate yourself to quiet meditative prayer. The best time to choose is before you start your day and before you hear the voice of another human being.
In John 6:12 it's described that Jesus "prayed all night with God". There's something special about the quiet hours before sunrise that makes it easier to love and meditate with God.
So to bed early and get up early to start your practice.
#2 - The Right Place
Next, you need to pick a comfortable place where you can be undisturbed for about an hour. Ideally, you want to choose a room that is clean and with little or no clutter. A dirty and clutter room affects the brain is surprising ways.
Then you want to choose a comfortable place to sit on. A couch or chair to keep your body upright is fine. Don't use your bed. Your brain associates a bed with sleep. You'll have a greater chance of falling asleep if you choose your bed.
#3 - Calming Your Mind
Once you've chosen the right time and place for your meditation you need to close your eyes and let go of worldly thought. You must begin by realizing that God is watching.
Many people who learn the practice of realization often experience feelings of humility. Their mind is usually so riddled with the worldly thought that they forget about God's continually over them. Realization helps us grasp, at least in part, God's magnitude.
#4 - Opening Prayer
After you humble yourself before God, it's a good idea to enter His presence by appealing to his mercy, after all, we all fall short of God's glory.
The best prayer you can whisper, or mentally say, is found in Luke 18:13. In this verse, Jesus explains that a person who humbly feels repentance is justified before God. So as you quietly enter God's presence say, "Lord, have mercy on me a sinner." I personally whisper this prayer multiple times until I feel God's heart. Usually, 5 to 10 times is enough, you can go longer if it helps.
When you say this short simple biblical prayer, you're going to notice that each time you say more peace will come over you. by the time you get to your last prayer, you may feel as if time has stood still. That's when your mind is the most focused on God's love and grace.
Now that you are in God's presence, quietly reciting the Lord's prayer, "Our Father, who art in heaven..." The words in the prayer worships God, asks for forgiveness, makes us reflect on our forgiveness for others, and requests divine intervention. They are perfect words to speak in God's presence.
Then close your opening prayers with, "Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah, glory to you our God." Praise and worship are an important component of Christian meditation. Say these word three times.
#5 - Meditative Prayer
After years of meditating with God's word, I've come to the conclusion that the book of Psalms is God's authorized prayer book. The words and concepts contained in the book effectively address our human condition with words and prayers authorized by God himself. The Psalms are prayer templates that reach God in divine realms.
After your opening prayers start by reading and contemplating the meaning of each sentence in your chosen Psalm. I personally follow the practice of Orthodox Jews and Christians, and contemplate on three Psalms per day.
You won't be able to go through more than three Psalms in one session, sometimes you may only go through one. The contemplation of each sentence is a profound experience that can last from a few seconds to several minutes.
During the practice be sure to let yourself go mentally and spiritually in God's contemplated word for maximum results. Let your mind freely reflect and ponder on the divine meanings. This time is for God, fully enjoy it.
#6 - Closing Prayers
Within 5 to 10 minutes of your session make the move to closing prayers. What you need to know is that you just spent time with God. God's presence illuminated your soul and changed your genetic activity and physical chemistry. This is the most important time to pray for others. Freely you received, freely give.
Closing prayer consists of praying for the health and salvation of your spiritual mentors, parent, family members, friends, and anyone who benefits you. Then pray for anyone who is sick or suffering.
Step #7 - Gratitude
After your closing prayers spend a couple minutes thanking God. Be grateful to God for everything, then slowly begin your transition back to the tasks you need to complete for the day.
After a couple minutes resting in gratitude, you can get up and start your day.
What I just laid out for you is a powerful step-by-step process followed by devout holy figures over millennia. God blesses those who devoutly enter His presence seeking wholeness with Him. The Father never turns down the child, never. The child just needs to know how to reach the Father.
You are more blessed than the ancient devout. You are blessed in the body and blood of Jesus. In John 14:6 Jesus states that no one comes to Father except through Him, so you have the best chance of all.
Another benefit from spending time with God this way is guidance. More often than not, I've received solutions and insight into situations during these relaxed times with God. I never seek the solution, I respect God too much for that, instead, I just rest in Him and let go in His word. Then visions appear in my mind. I believe God's blessings exist for us in higher spiritual realms and if can't rest deep enough or long enough with God we can't see them.
Think of it this way. If you're a parent one of your biggest concerns is your children. You hope and pray they make the right decisions so they may prosper in health and blessings. As the parent, you have lots of wise advice they can use to rapidly get ahead in life. Your concern is born from the lack of attention they give you. Your child rarely visits you. They never seem to be concerned about the time they spend with you, yet you have loads of wise counsel for the problems they have. Life would be much simpler if they just came and spent quality time with you.
When you meditate with God's approved prayer book you focus your attention on you Father with His own words. That love! Spiritually walking through the landscape of His word with your soul is how we visit our Father. The Father has so much to give, we just need to take the time to be with Him.
God provided us a long letter full of His instruction, it called the Bible. All we have to do is read it because we respect Him, meditate on it because we desire to be with Him, and practice it because love Him. That's how blesses your heart, soul, mind, and body.
I hope I made think about taking up the practice of daily meditative prayer. It's a wonderful habit that will bless you with closeness to your creator. Meditate on God's word, pray deep prayers early in the morning, and then share with others God's holiness, and along the way, you'll find solutions to your own problems. God bless you. See you in the Kingdom.