Wednesday, April 15, 2009

IS PRAYER just another kind of friendly conversation?

John 15:15: "No longer do I call you slaves, for the slave does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard from My Father I have made known to you.

A recent study tells that praying is seen in the MRI-scans of the brain as a strikingly similar activity as talking to a friend. OF COURSE talking to God is like talking to a friend! God IS our friend!

Schjødt, of the University of Aarhus, Denmark, and colleagues, asked 20 devout Christians volunteers to carry out two tasks involving both religious and "secular" activities. In the first task, they recited the Lord's Prayer, followed by a nursery rhyme. They claimed that identical brain areas, typically associated with rehearsal and repetition are activated.

In the second, they improvised personal prayers before making requests to Santa Claus. Improvised prayers triggered patterns that match those seen when people communicate with each other, and activated circuitry that is linked with the theory of mind - an awareness that other individuals have their own independent motivations and intentions

The prefrontal cortex was dormant during the Santa Claus task, suggesting volunteers viewed Santa as fictitious but God as a real individual.

Previous studies revealed that the prefrontal cortex is not activated when people interact with non-living objects, such as playing computer games. Schjød commented: "The brain doesn't activate these areas because they don't expect reciprocity, nor find it necessary to think about the computer's intentions. He says the results show people believe they are talking to someone when they pray.

If you have ever had a really good friend who supports you and stands with you even when you have done wrong, or stupid, or angry, or whatever -- and who comes and says ‘Tell me, what’s the problem?’ and then listens with his arm around you.

If you have prayed the Rosary in a lonely place or in the front pew of an empty church, or in the chapel with large number of people ..., conversing with God who is always there when we need him... you always know there is nothing ‘mystical’ to find in a talk with God and we will feel the friendly warmth in the prayer. You know….Always…..

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