How Prayer Changes the Brain and Body

How Prayer Changes the Brain and Body

Although we do not need science to prove the word of God, it is fascinating to see when and how it does! Some of you may have experienced how prayer changes your brain and body yourself, or have seen it in others. If you haven’t, you most certainly can!

Scientists are making attempts to understand spiritual experience — and what happens in the brains and bodies of people who believe as they connect with the creator.

This very new field of research is called “neurotheology.” Scientists have found that the brains of people who spend untold hours in prayer and meditation are different.


From my previous posts on how our thoughts change our brain, and how visualization changes our brain, we know that our brain is constantly rewiring, for better or for worse depending on the information we are giving it!

Dr. Andrew Newberg, director of research at Thomas Jefferson Hospital and Medical College in Pennsylvania and author of “How God Changes Your Brain” Says “The more you focus on something — whether that’s math or auto racing or football or God — the more that becomes your reality, the more it becomes written into the neural connections of your brain,”

Neuroplasticity is the fact that we can sculpt our brain just as we sculpt our muscles if we went to the gym. We know that there is power in the word of God- and we can wire that power of the truths it gives us into our DNA!

Focused Attention: How Prayer Changes Your Brain

According to Dr. Caroline Leaf,  “It has been found that 12 minutes of daily focused prayer over an 8 week period can change the brain to such an extent that it can be measured on a brain scan. This type of prayer increases activity in brain areas associated with social interaction compassion and sensitivity to others. It also increases frontal lobe activity as focus and intentionality increase. As well as changing the brain, another study implies that intentional prayer can even change physical matter. Researchers found that intentional thought for 30 seconds affected laser light.”

Let that sink in. Your ability to hold attention on one thing for a period of time physically effects matter! That’s how prayer works. It’s more than simply offering up a few words and hoping for their fulfillment. Our thoughts and words are affecting reality whether we are intentionally trying to or not.

Even though toxic thought causes brain damage, prayer can reverse that damage and cause the brain and body to thrive. There is growing interest in the power of prayer to change our brain and even matter itself. Even though science is proving this, as Christians we have known this for years based upon what we read in the Bible and personal experience.

Dr. Andrew Newberg, led the study in which MRI brain scans proved that there is power in prayer or meditation. The study also found that prayer is much like a physical workout for the brain.


The key to partaking of the life and healing energy in the Word is feeding on it until it penetrates your spirit where it deposits that life and energy.

Scientifically, we know this is true. It takes 21 days of focused thinking about one thought to form that neural pathway. It takes 63 days of thinking about that thought every day to permanently wire that belief or thought in and to get it to become what naturally drives us without having to think.

As is the conclusion to everything, if we do what the Bible says, our brain and life will be shaped to have success, peace, happiness, and passion.

That includes:

  • memorizing scripture daily
  • reading the Bible daily
  • taking each thought captive and replacing it with truth
  • thinking on what is pure and eternal.
  • Be in constant prayer and conversations with the Holy Spirit to have him lead your day and every decision.

Do not be overwhelmed- this is a practice, a lifelong journey. The more you do it, the easier and completely natural it becomes!

Conclusion How Prayer Changes The Brain

Every thought you think is changing your brain. It’s building a neural pathway. Depending on the pathways you have in your mind is what determines what habitual thinking patterns you will have.

So the question is, is your brain full of pathways that will allow you to experience life in an amazing way? Or do you have pathways of negativity that always take over?

No matter what your answer is, prayer can change your brain!

The art of prayer is thinking deeply and focusing on something you want to happen while generating the feeling of gratitude as if it already happened. It’s not simply offering words and hoping they get fulfilled. You have a bigger part to play than that, and that part is how well you intentionally generate, hold, and radiate thought and emotion.

That concentrated thought changes your brain, then your body, then your reality.

Related articles:

Meditation to hear God 

Super brain yoga


Christian Post

Dr. Caroline Leaf


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  • Magnolia Hampton

    Caroline Leaf I’ve read heard of her books and her work. Good stuff. Article good. Just what I needed. Thank y’all.

  • Ron

    “Every thought you think is changing your brain.”

    Right there! You just relegated prayer to just as meaningful or effective as any other focused activity used for mental hygiene.

    Prayer entrenches neural pathways of belief and devotion to a person’s faith and god … but that doesn’t mean any of it is true. When a person prays they are simply telling themselves what they want, and receiving comfort in their faith that the ceiling (god) has their back.

    • Lizzy

      Ron, It may appear that way but those of us who talk with God know that He guides us to be a part of His design and plan. How can we know? Because He asks us to do things that were not on our agenda and it produces results. Especially long term results. I get what you are saying. Unfortunately it is amazing how we can be praying for someone that we do not know and ask Him to reveal who they are… and sooner than later He will. It is uncanny to say the least. I could go on and on with examples in my own life but there is not enough time to write what all that He does in one persons life let a lone how He interconnects people. It is all for the greater good of people. Some Christians are baby Christians so that is not a good judge of who God is. We cant look at people and say Who God is. We are just not that amazing. HOpe this helps.

  • Ann Matthiessen

    Dr Caroline Leads 1st 2 books I was Blessed to Read before my sin 10yrs old & myself went thru a Murder SHOCK TRAUMA … 8years on now & I AM SO BLESSED TO HAVE BEEN ABLE TO USE PRAYER AND KNOWLEDGE & GODS WORD TO HEAL MY SON AND MYSELF…BLESS ALL SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH ON PRAYING IN TONGUES TOO….