Let Us Pray

Even when people come from different cultures and different faiths, they can generally agree on this one thing: Prayer helps. But why?
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Sleep, it seemed, had gotten axed along with my job. I'd been laid off a week earlier and my mind wouldn't stop racing. I gotta get the kids to the dentist before the insurance runs out. Could John take on more teaching? We have to start eating rice and beans. I guess I have to join LinkedIn now. What is LinkedIn again? Doesn't matter, there are no jobs. I can't believe this has happened . . . I tossed, I turned, I tried imagining white sands and turquoise waters, I flipped and re-flipped the pillow to its cool side. Nothing worked, nothing.

Until a certain 3 a.m., when, out of nowhere, I found myself silently saying this to myself, in and out, like the tide: "Let go. Let God. Let go. Let God. Let go. Let God." I could picture the shiny Gothic letters from those AA bumper stickers. My heart stopped hammering. All my troubles began to melt, somehow, and I began to feel a deep, spreading, lasting peace.

Then, and only then, I slept.

Why had this incredibly unoriginal prayer calmed me so? Maybe I'd unknowingly taken some five-century-old advice from Martin Luther: "Pray, and let God worry." Or maybe I'd channeled Bon Jovi and discovered it did feel good to be oh, oh, livin' on a prayer. Or maybe it's because the activity in my prefrontal cortex skyrocketed while that in my superior parietal lobe plummeted. But more on that later.

Continued on page 2:  Brain Benefits


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