How Effective is Prayer?

Prayers that move…

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16b).

The Benefits of Prayer

Effective prayer “provides timely direction. It prevents wrong decisions. It eliminates worry and anxiety. It produces peacefulness. It invites God into our activity. It produces confidence. It eliminates fretting. It sharpens discernment. It gives us energy. It prevents distractions. It protects us from discouragement. It opens doors of opportunity. It helps us discern between busyness and fruitfulness” (Charles Stanley).

According to Psychology Today:

Prayer improves self-control

“Recent research indicates that prayer can help you get more out of your ‘self-control muscle.’ Research participants who said a prayer prior to a mentally exhausting task were better able to exercise self-control following that task. In addition, other studies demonstrate that prayer reduces alcohol consumption, which may reflect the exercise of self-control. Findings such as there suggest that prayer has an energizing effect.”

 Prayer makes you a nicer person

Researchers found that having people pray for those in need reduced the amount of aggression they expressed following an anger-inducing experience. In other words, prayer helps you not lose your cool.

 Prayer makes you more forgiving

Researchers found that having people pray for a romantic partner or friend made them more willing to forgive those individuals.

Prayer increases trust

Recent studies found that having people pray together with a close friend increased feelings of unity and trust. This finding is interesting because it suggests that praying with others can be an experience that brings people closer together. Social prayer may thus help build close relationships.

Prayer offsets the negative health effects of stress

Researchers found that people who prayed for others were less vulnerable to the negative physical health effects associated with financial stress. Also, it was the focus on others that seemed to be contributing to the stress-buffering effects of prayer. Praying for material gain did not counter the effects of stress. So thinking about the welfare of others may be a crucial component of receiving personal benefits from prayer.

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