From the Pastor- Feb. 2024

What if I told you that I have a clinically proven way to improve the quality of your life, and you will be given those tools for free over the next 8 weeks? Already, I can feel those wheels turning.  “It sounds too good to be true.”  “Surely, if it works, it must cost something.”

And I wouldn’t blame you for having those thoughts. Every aspect of our well-being has been commodified, convincing us that we must put our well-being into someone else’s hands as though it’s a problem to be diagnosed and solved.

Our bodies and minds hold great wisdom. In this season of Lent, you are invited to tap into that great wisdom. In Sunday worship, you will be called into this practice, and notice that worship will have a slightly different pace. We will deepen this practice on Wednesday evenings as we gather around the cross. On Thursdays at 11:00, we will engage in holy conversations around encountering God, and you will be given practices to enhance your internal wisdom. These sessions will be available on our YouTube page as a live stream.

So, what is this clinically proven method for improving our lives?


There are many benefits of prayer. Ancient prayer and meditation practices offer spiritual benefits and profound effects on mental and physical well-being.

Mindfulness, meditation, or prayer, when practiced for as little as 13 minutes every day over eight weeks, has shown a difference in several brain regions that control learning, emotions, memory, and the fear response. These regions include the amygdala and the hippocampus, which control the fight/flight/freeze/fawn response.

Stress Reduction: One of the most well-documented benefits of prayer and meditation is reducing stress. Chronic stress has been linked to various health issues, including cardiovascular problems, compromised immune function, and mental health disorders. Engaging in prayer and meditation activates the body’s relaxation response, leading to a decrease in stress hormones like cortisol.

Improved Mental Health: Prayer and meditation have been associated with improved mental health outcomes. Regular practice has been shown to alleviate symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. These practices’ focused, mindful nature encourages self-awareness and self-compassion, fostering a positive mindset and emotional resilience.

Enhanced Cognitive Function: Research suggests prayer and meditation can positively impact cognitive function. These practices have been linked to attention, memory, and executive function improvements.

Neuroplasticity and Brain Structure: Recent studies utilizing neuroimaging techniques have provided insights into the structural changes that occur in the brain due to regular prayer and meditation. These practices have been associated with increased gray matter density in self-awareness, compassion, and introspection areas. Neuroplasticity suggests that the brain can adapt and reorganize itself, and prayer and meditation play a role in this process.

Lower Blood Pressure and Improved Cardiovascular Health: The relaxation response triggered by prayer and meditation reduces stress and positively affects cardiovascular health.  Studies have indicated that regular practice can lead to lower blood pressure, improved heart rate variability, and a decreased risk of heart disease. These physiological changes contribute to overall heart health and longevity.

This is just scratching the surface of the benefits of prayer and meditation. What is remarkable now is that we have science to back up what we have always known to be true in our spiritual practices. So, will you join me over the following weeks and try this? Who knows, you might just change your life for the better.


Benson, H., Wilcher, M., Greenberg, B., Huggins, E., Ennis, M., Zuttermeister, P. C., … & Friedman, R. (2000). Academic performance among middle school students after exposure to a relaxation response curriculum. Journal of Research and Development in Education, 33(3), 156-165.

Davidson, R. J., & McEwen, B. S. (2012). Social influences on neuroplasticity: Stress and interventions to promote well-being. Nature Neuroscience, 15(5), 689-695.

Goyal, M., Singh, S., Sibinga, E. M., Gould, N. F., Rowland-Seymour, A., Sharma, R., … & Ranasinghe, P. D. (2014). Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis. JAMA Internal Medicine, 174(3), 357-368.

Masters, K. S., & Spielmans, G. I. (2007). Prayer and health: Review, meta-analysis, and research agenda. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 30(4), 329-338.

Tang, Y. Y., Hölzel, B. K., & Posner, M. I. (2015). The neuroscience of mindfulness meditation. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 16(4), 213-225.