Saturday, April 4

Reboot the Brain to Pray

It’s hard to pray effectively when your mind gets locked onto something upsetting. It’s kind of like when the computer freezes and gets stuck. The easiest solution is to reboot the hardware even though the problem is in the software. Did you know there are ways to “reboot” the brain when the mind has gotten stuck? It could be as simple as holding your breath and then practicing deep breathing. A particularly effective way has been developed which is called, “Shalom my body.” It involves a rhythm of putting the body through mock fear or anger responses, followed by quieting yawns and stimulation of the vagus nerve, all combined with deep breaths followed by a simple prayer while exhaling, “When I am afraid I will trust in you, O Lord” (Psalm 56:3). (Click  here  for a full demonstration.)

The usefulness of these techniques, however, is not merely for psychological stress relief. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Our brains are receivers for his communication with us. The point of getting or keeping our brain’s relational capacity in top shape is to maintain and grow in our communication with God, through his Word. Loving the Lord with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength means paying attention to all dimensions of body, soul, and spirit. The importance God gives to our bodies is seen in a number of ways, but particularly in how He has chosen to feed us bread and wine as his own body and blood, given as a pledge and reminder of how we are connected to Christ in every way, who promises to give us a physical existence in resurrected bodies in his new creation.

Meanwhile, like Paul, we are called to discipline our bodies to bring them under control (1 Corinthians 9:27), such as when we fast in order to pray more fervently. Peace (shalom) is evidence that we have heard and assimilated his truth for our situation and that we are following his will. But sometimes, hearing his truth requires us first to “shalom” our bodies. Then, as we hear the voice of our Good Shepherd, the peace that surpasses understanding will guard our hearts and minds (Philippians 4:7).

Prayer: “Lord, my heart is not proud; my eyes are not haughty. I don’t concern myself with matters too great or too awesome for me to grasp. Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me” (Psalm 131:1-2 NLT). I want your will for my life. What do you want me to know?