I always find it delightful when science can explain something of faith. This past week I’ve been in awe of the research findings of Dr. Andrew Newberg (from Myrna Bring Center for Integrative Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University and Medical College.) who has been studying how prayer and meditation affect brain activity. (The 3 minute video is well worth watching.)
In a recent study, Dr. Newberg injected subjects with a harmless radioactive dye. Then, while they engaged in prayer or meditation, he monitored their brain activity. The study shows that while Christians pray, there’s increased activity in the frontal lobes and the language area of the brain. This is the part of the brain that activates during conversation and Dr. Newberg believes that for the brain, praying to God in the Judeo-Christian tradition is similar to talking to people.
Exactly! Jesus is a person. Prayer is a dialogue. Faith is a relationship with God.
I don’t call you servants any longer, because servants don’t know what their master is doing. Instead, I call you friends, because everything I heard from my Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15, CEB)
When Dr. Andrew Newberg observed atheists meditating or “contemplating God,” he did not find any of the brain activity in the frontal lobe that he observed in religious people. Newberg concludes “While God is unimaginable for atheists, for religious people, God is as real as the physical world”. Indeed! That’s the experience of everyone who has been encountered by the Living God!
The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd. By faith, we see the world called into existence by God’s word, what we see created by what we don’t see. (Hebrews 11:1-3, MSG)
Our hope is set on the Living God, not on religious performances. By faith we press on. By prayer we communicate with God who is real. The world does not see God and his grace the same way the children of God do and the enemy tries to distract us. We continually need to ask God to open our spiritual eyes and give us spiritual perception. It is possible to experience Jesus first hand. And because of Christ it is possible to abide in God and live in grace.
Thank you for being above our five senses!
Thank you for being real and active in our lives!
Open our spiritual eyes!
Strengthen our spiritual perception!
Enable us to always live in your love and grace.
Use us to draw other people to you.
In Jesus’ name,
Q4U: Do you think God is as real as the visible world?