There’s a lot of different types and kinds of prayer:
- Prayer of agreement
- Prayer of faith
- Prayer of consecration and dedication
- Prayer of praise and worship
- Prayer of intercession
- Prayer of binding and loosing
- Prayer of supplication, and the list goes on.
In the Christian world, we have been trained that prayer is a kind of tool. Now we know that it is a way to communicate with God, but some have referred to prayer as “leverage” in the Kingdom; a means to get things accomplished. Although there is truth in that, let’s take prayer to another level, and talk more about what happens when you pray. If you see what really happens in prayer, what is taking place in the spirit realm and in your physical body, you’ll understand why you need to pray.
Psalm 37:1 – “Fret not thyself against evil doers; neither be thou envious against workers of iniquity.”
The author was referring to people in the world. Have you ever wondered why people in the world seem to “get blessed” and “prosper”, but you are being diligent, doing things the right way and they seem to be prospering more than you – or so it appears. It is easy to get envious of that – we’re human and we don’t always understand that. When you’re always in a world of conflict, and you’re trying to represent right – what the light is – and everything else that is dark seems to be gaining ground when at many times you look like you’re barely holding on or surviving, that can be real disgruntling to your spirit. We can get aggravated, depressed, or upset about it. It’s easy to live with these feelings and emotions, and thus you begin to build your life based on what you’re feeling instead of what you’re knowing! Psalm 37:1 is telling us to not worry about those people.
Where does your trust lie?
Psalm 37:3 – “Trust in the Lord…”
Psalm 37:4 – “Delight thyself in the Lord…”
Psalm 37:5 – “Commit thy way unto the Lord…”
Psalm 37:7 – “Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him.”
Is God saying to do all those things and take a nap? We really don’t know at first glance. Then He says to wait patiently on Him. That word patiently lets us know that it’s going to be a while! We will wait and wait and wait, but we don’t rest. The problem is that we do everything else – “Ok, God, we’ll trust in you and wait for You”. We’ve actually skipped over the “rest” part and went straight to the waiting. After a while we begin to get weary. We start doing things in our own selves to fix the situations. We aren’t waiting on God; we keep going back to try to fix it.
When you don’t rest, it is like baking a cake with no flour. The cake may not even rise without flour. Rest is the most important ingredient in that whole equation. But we want to commit to God, and we skip over the rest and go straight to waiting patiently. We can’t do that – we’re tired, weary, exhausted.
When you’re playing a sport or doing a job, you just want to work as hard and as fast as you can to get it over with, right? When you get fatigued, you’ll rush to try to get done. Guess what? When it’s a thing with God, you’ll start rushing and trying to hurry, then all you are doing is adding to the anxiety. It’s all on God’s timetable – He sets the time for when it will be completed. You can do whatever you want in the natural, but until the appointed time comes, it’s not going to happen. So God is saying to rest in the fact that He’s set the timetable, so wait and be patient. If you can’t rest in that, then you will stay frustrated in that. How can you do the first part of that verse, which is “fret not” if you’ve skipped any part of the verse? So when it comes to waiting, you’ve waited and waited and you can’t be patient, so you start fretting.
The physiological effect of rest
The resting is the most important part of this prayer equation. The word rest has a three-fold meaning. It doesn’t simply mean to take a nap. It means to be silent, to be still, opposed to speech and motion, and being astounded or amazed at God, standing at amazement in God knowing what He can do. Rest is a state of being – not something that we do. It isn’t a verb that we do, but rest is a place that we enter in.
Sometimes we get with God and we can’t shut up! Be silent, be still – quit trying to fix it, and be overwhelmed by the presence of God. Have you ever sat quietly in the presence of God, and you become overwhelmed with His presence? Some might laugh, cry, or get an awesome sense of peace, and you know at that moment that God is there. You don’t connect thoughts of good or bad, you’re not worried about your situation – it’s like at that moment God comes and puts you in a bubble! It doesn’t matter how hectic, crazy or nuts things might seem, God puts you in a protective bubble and tells you to “be silent, be still and be amazed at what I’m doing for you!” That’s what rest in the Lord means. Getting in that bubble, in that place in God and wait patiently for the promise to come to pass.
So, let’s look at the physiology of the body and what is happening when you enter that rest. We know that stress is the #1 killer of the human race. The primary stress hormone is cortisol. When a person is stressed, cortisol is released in excess in your body. We must have cortisol, or we have no “get up and go”, but if you have too much, then our “get up and go” has “got up and went”. Excess cortisol will wear your body out. Have you ever run an animal or vehicle wide open – it won’t last forever. You must give it a rest. Cortisol is the hormone that stimulates you.
When you have excess of cortisol for extended periods of time, it wears you out. When you aren’t resting, cortisol levels can’t come down. Cortisol is high with anxiety, being anxious, nervous. Guess what the first thing that cortisol does? It damages the brain. Stress causes brain damage. Stress also lowers your immunity, making you more susceptible to being sick and disease. Not only does stress make you sick and damage your brain, but in the anterior pituitary is where hormones are made. When cortisol is high, it starts to desensitize those hormone receptors, so they can’t be read like they should, and the effect is it slows your thyroid down. When someone has a slow thyroid, their metabolism starts to slow down. With that, the way that you metabolize your fats and cholesterol will not work right.
So, stress affects the gland (anterior pituitary), which affects the thyroid, which affects the system that happens to affect the cholesterol in a bad way, that causes the #1 killer in America – heart disease. We have heart disease from cortisol levels – heart disease because of stress. High cortisol levels cause brain damage and heart damage. This is science and real conditions that we can see and track in a laboratory.
Arizona State University published a series of studies that showed that people that pray have lower cortisol levels and lower blood pressure. Another study done by monks showed that when they entered into a state of meditative prayer, and they were physically tested, their cortisol levels were lower during the periods of meditative prayer. If excess cortisol causes brain and heart damage, then lowering the cortisol would protect the brain and the heart. If excess cortisol is the problem, and you take away the excess, wouldn’t you protect it from the problem?
Be anxious for nothing
Philippians 4:6 – “Be careful, anxious for nothing, (nothing should cause anxiety in us), in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God, so the peace (rest) of God (which gives you peace of mind), which surpasses your understanding, shall keep your heart and mind in Christ Jesus.”
You shouldn’t be anxious, because if you are anxious, you have high cortisol levels, and it damages your brain and your heart. Don’t be anxious for anything.
When you look at the peace of God in the Hebraic description, it means the state of health or welfare of an individual. Peace in the Strong’s Concordance is rest.
So, when you pray, it brings the rest of God, which passes your understanding. The word passes there means superior to what is present. So you have an understanding and you see a situation, and all you see is chaos and anxiety, when you pray, God sends this thing called His rest (peace) and it is superior (passes) to the situation that you are in. When you are in that bubble that walls you off from the events around you, only prayer can take you to that place. You are walled off from your situation.
The word keep means to guard and protect.
So, when you are in a situation, overwhelmed, in trauma, and you don’t know what to do – in everything go to prayer. When you go to prayer, something from Heaven is given to you, and it is called the peace of God (the rest of God) and comes into your spirit, it walls you off and protects your mind and your heart physically so you can’t be damaged!
Prayer brings the peace of God
Prayer brings the peace of God, which gives the peace of mind, which causes us to rest in Him.
Exodus 33:14 – “My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.”
God’s presence brings God’s rest. When you are in the presence of God (prayer takes us in the presence of God), and with that presence comes rest! When you pray and are overwhelmed by His presence, you enter into that rest because He overwhelms your mind. Now you can’t see things the way you’ve been seeing them; you can’t think about them the way you’ve been thinking. You try to understand it your way and God is saying “No, I’m not going to allow you to see it that way because it isn’t that way at all”. The human mind is always seeing things in the worst case scenario, so when you take it to prayer, God says “No, we won’t let you have those thoughts, you take those thoughts captive. We won’t let you speak that negative confession because the power of life and death are in your tongue, so we are going to put you in this bubble until you settle down. I’m going to surpass your understand and overwhelm you with my presence, and I’m going to call it peace. And when you’re at peace, you can rest, and when you can rest, you can heal! You can endure and wait because you’re at peace!”
You are designed to live in His rest
There’s no pill in a bottle that can give you that kind of rest because you’re resting in Him, and only prayer can take you there.
Your genetic pathways are what make you who you are. Epigenetics are what change you. Have you ever seen someone that looks perfectly normal, and there’s some gene in their past that starts to express? Why does it do that? They came into contact with some stress, and it triggered that gene – we call that an epigenetic. The stress of the situation caused that gene to express, and that person started to become that genetic expression. You start seeing these diseases and ailments in the body.
One is called NF Kappa B, which is the Hulk of inflammation. When you get stressed, irritated and those cortisol levels rise, Hulk gets out of the cage and starts to smash everything. The first thing NF Kappa B does is cross the blood brain barrier and you start to get brain deterioration. Ever heard of dementia? It’s so prevalent now that people are getting it in their 30’s. It is a 20-30-year disease of constant inflammation until finally it is a disease of the mind, and you don’t even know who people are, and you don’t even know the Word! Hulk has been smashing and smashing until finally your brain is so inflamed over a long period of time that your mind is damaged, but he doesn’t stop there. NF Kappa B gets down in the blood vessels and the venous system and starts clogging up the vessels and puts pressure on the heart until you have heart disease.
There just happens to be another genetic expression and pathways in your body called NRF2. When NRF2 is expressed, it goes and suppresses NF Kappa B, putting Hulk back in his cage. The object is to get NRF2 and less NF Kappa B.
Guess what the number one thing is to suppress NF Kappa B – meditative prayer! It guards your heart and your mind, heals the disease of your mind and the condition and disease of your heart. When you pray, you put Hulk back in his cage. It is as sense of well-being. You are overwhelmed with the presence of God. There is a healing that takes place. Your body is hardwired to respond to the principles of the Word of God.
There is a cognitive part of your brain that shows you’re awake, aware, and alert. Let’s imagine that there’s a light bulb that corresponds to this part of the brain. In an MRI, doctors can see this part of the brain light up. It says, “I’m with you, I’m here and coherent”. There’s another part that shows when you’re asleep, or not awake, and the light bulb is turned off in this state. So, if the bulb is on, you’re coherent, but when the bulb is off, that means that you’re not with us, you are comatose, sleeping, resting.
There’s another portion of the brain that shows when we are receiving information. During the MRI sessions, when information was being received, that part of the brain would light up, and the cognitive part would also light up. Obviously if you are receiving information, something in the brain must see that it’s coming in. There was just one thing that they noticed when they put people in a state of meditative prayer (the monks call this “zen shin”, or the “no mind state”, let’s call that place rest), that cognitive area that says “I’m with you” turns off and the mind is at rest. The only thing is that when they looked at the part of the brain that is receiving information, that light didn’t turn off! So that means that the mind was still receiving something from somewhere, but the mind was in a resting state. That means that while you’re resting, God’s got an IV into your spirit. You’re lying there with no worries at all, yet God is still feeding you, pouring into you, healing you! How else can you explain it?
The cognitive area was off. I’m all for you reading your Bible, but when you read your Bible, your brain must be engaged. Reading the Bible does renew the mind, just like exercise, but you also have to rest sometimes, right? So, let’s call the Word exercising your brain, because you’re feeding it, however, the Word can only do so much. The only way we know to rest the mind is to pray. When you’re reading your Word, you’re reading but you’re not resting, but when you get into prayer, you find true rest.
If you just get into 15 minutes a day for 8 weeks of meditative prayer, those epigenetics will switch back off. Why? Because less NF Kappa B was being released and more NRF2 was being released and Hulk was being put back in his cage. Now the hormones weren’t being stunted in the anterior pituitary. The thyroid function wasn’t suppressed anymore because the cortisol levels weren’t high. So, the heart had no reason to have disease. The brain had no more reason to be damaged anymore. You call it what you want, I call it the healing power of God!
This is just the systems He used so that we can monitor the healing. Prayer is evidence-based medicine. We don’t need the proof because we take it by faith but isn’t it neat sometimes to see that science is catching up to what we already know.
No matter what you’re going through in your life, what you’re facing, God will take you to your place of rest.
Matthew 11:28 – “Come to me all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”