What does prayer mean to you? Whether prayer is an act of religiosity or a way to connect with your spiritual self, prayer plays a significant role in your life. You can begin a healthy habit when celebrating May’s National Day of Prayer.
Prayer as a Connection to Your Soul
Praying is a profound way to connect to something meaningful. The tapestry of prayer weaves personal belief with the willingness to give yourself over to a spiritual idea higher than yourself.
Releasing your thoughts, wants, or self-defeating thoughts to something on a higher plane isn’t new. People have found solace in believing in a spiritual being or feeling throughout the ages. For many, the act of prayer is an act of self-love. The gap between your daily and spiritual life is closed when you take a moment to reflect and find inner peace.
Meditation Versus Prayer
Some will argue that prayer and meditation are the same. However, while both ask you to look inward, meditation is passive or active, and prayer is dynamic.
When you meditate, you become aware of your senses, thoughts, and feelings. Then, you focus on one act and let go of stressful influences. The difference between active and passive meditation is their practice.
- Active meditation requires you to engage in an activity while focusing on one thing. For example, walking meditation asks you to adopt a comfortable speed and concentrate on your thoughts.
- Passive meditation doesn’t require you to engage in an activity while meditating.
Both forms of meditation create awareness of your inner being and your surroundings.
Prayer in Action
When you pray, you combine a meditative mood with a goal-oriented activity. For instance, some in a 12-Step program will use the 12-Step prayers to help guide them through the steps. The Serenity Prayer is the most well-known prayer, both in and out of the recovery community. When you recite the prayer, you admit you need help and take an active role in your life.
Another part of praying is setting goals. You promise yourself or your Higher Power to make healthy changes. Those goals encourage you to remain focused, maintain your commitment to the plan, and create new goals once you achieve a goal.
Prayers Are Goals
Prayer as a form of goal-setting can benefit your mental, physical, and spiritual health. When you think of prayer as a commitment to change, you open up your possibilities. Goals are healthy ways to benefit yourself and your environment. When you set definable goals, you have a better chance of achieving them. This is because when you know what you want to achieve and select a realistic date for achieving it, you build a plan that is responsive to your needs.
One way to set an achievable goal, such as reaching 90 days of sobriety, is to consider the cost of substance use versus the future benefits of not using a substance. A prayer that acknowledges your past, removes shame, and allows you to focus on a better life is an example of an active goal.
Positive Effects of Prayer
Prayer is a positive part of your life. Praying places your focus on your present which is integral to your well-being. For instance, praying can deepen your spiritual connection to a higher being and guide you to healthy coping habits if you carry past trauma. How? When you pray, you are engaging in a positive activity that can do the following:
- Help you cope with challenging situations or past trauma
- Open you up to the possibility of facing life
- Guide you to finding out what is meaningful in your life
The act of praying also affects your serotonin level. Serotonin is the “happy” chemical in your brain. Multiple studies, including Prayer and Healing: A Medical and Scientific Perspective on Randomized Controlled Trials, demonstrate the power of prayer on healing.
The article, The Serotonin System and Spiritual Experiences further solidifies the power of prayer. The study found the activation of serotonin resulting from prayer increases religiosity. In addition, their analysis found healthy serotonin levels in men were a foundation for religious experiences.
Prayer as a Coping Tool
For those who have mental health disorders or are trying to cope with past traumatic experiences, prayer is a healthy way to cope with their feelings. Some may find praying is a way to find comfort and protection. Maybe when you pray, you use your prayers to buffer potential trauma or challenging events. Or, like those who underwent or witnessed a traumatic event, prayer is a way to ground yourself, find an answer to a situation, or hope in your future.
Whether you experience past trauma or struggle with substance use or a mental health disorder, your sense of self can suffer. Maybe you’re not sure who you are anymore. Praying to a Higher Power can potentially re-connect you with your spiritual needs when you acknowledge the benevolence or peace in your higher essence.
Praying to a higher spirit doesn’t mean you have to identify with a religion. Spirituality is a way to connect with your soul. You create a mental and physical health path when you connect with your inner being. Studies show the act of praying can boost serotonin in your brain, therefore, increasing your psychological and physical well-being. When you feel good, you tend to practice healthy living skills. Renaissance Ranch is here to guide you in finding a healthy, meaningful life by incorporating holistic treatment that fosters a feeling of peace and vitality. We believe substance abuse recovery occurs in meaningful relationships. Our comprehensive substance addiction treatment programs are tailored to your unique needs. At Renaissance Ranch Treatment Centers, we incorporate faith-based treatment to aid you in healing your mind, body, and soul. To learn about our program, including our alumni group, call us today at (801) 308-8898.