“After Jesus had dismissed [the crowd], he went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray” (Matthew 14:23).
We have seen how healthy foods and activity can reduce risk of disease and stress in our bodies. In the next few chapters, we will explore how rest (prayer, meditation, and relaxation) can do the same, so that these marvelous bodies God made can function as they were intended to for His glory. We will see how negative thoughts, emotions, and fears, which are all sources of stress, can be reduced through rest – prayer, meditation, and relaxation.
This was God’s plan from the beginning. During the Creation, God set aside one day out of seven for rest; He Himself rested when He was finished. He walked in the garden with Adam and Eve. When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, He repeated His intention for us to remember the Sabbath day – a day of no work a day of rest. Needing rest does not make us weak or unproductive. Rest is part of God’s plan from the time of the Creation.
Prayer, An Aspect of Rest
One of the most significant aspects of rest is prayer. A body of scientific research is beginning to show what believers have known for centuries – that the mind and spirit (prayer and meditation) affect the physical body! Participating in the act of prayer, or knowing that others are praying for us, can make a positive difference in our health. Of course, we don’t pray as some self-serving effort to benefit ourselves – we pray because of our love for God. Because God is gracious and because God is our true home, prayer returns us to a sense of rest and peace and brings about many other positive effects.
Prayer is the exchange of our sin and daily stress for God’s forgiveness, grace, hope, faith, and love. To pray is to rest, simply because we have to focus on God alone. Sometimes prayer may feel like the hardest thing to do, but that doesn’t change the fast that prayer puts us in a position of rest in the presence of God.
Prayer is not just asking for the desires of our heart but asking how we fit into God’s will, His purpose for our lives. We are His unique creation and fulfill a unique purpose in His eternal plan. Prayer helps us to see ourselves as and where God sees us.
Prayer is considered a relaxation technique because it causes a reduction in stress and stress – induced hormones, which helps decrease blood pressure, respiratory rate, pulse rate, and oxygen consumption. In many cases, it creates increased positive feelings and emotions. Negative thoughts, emotions, and behaviors like anger, an unforgiving spirit, and guilt must be confesses through prayer. Many people find that in prayer, God grants them relief and the power to repent and change.
As a helpful resource, I have lots of articles on healthy ingredients and recipes that you can implement into your daily life.
If you’d like to dig deeper into my journey of discovering God’s plan for health and wellness, check out my book, Made For Paradise: God’s Original Plan for Healthy Eating, Physical Activity, and Rest.