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What is happening when we pray?

From the Wikipedia Commons

From the Wikipedia Commons

What do you get when you mix prayer and engineering? From this engineer it seems you get this kind of question. I can’t help wondering if something is happening in the electro-magnetic spectrum or if there are quantum effects while praying.  I have observed positive impact from prayer even from distances. What I recall is the brain and nervous system move a lot of electrons. When an electron is accelerated, a radio wave is produced and a magnetic field is induced. This is the type of activity that is detected with Electroencephalography (EEG).

Perhaps one of the conceptual challenges is the idea of the non-local effects of prayer. The prayer initiates in the mind (wherever that is) and causes these invisible electro-magnetic activities in the brain. The person being prayed for may be in a different room, building or city. And there is nothing obvious, any kind of signal,  going from the person praying to the person being prayed for. Well, in an atom, an electron jumps from one orbit to another without passing through the intervening space.

In quantum physics, non-locality is allowed because it operates outside of time and space. So is there a part of me that operates outside of time and space that might access this? Perhaps my spirit. I don’t think my ego – evidenced by the busy little voice(s) in my head – exists outside of time and space. Here’s hoping anyway!

If my spirit creates a possibility outside of time and space, the effect can be non-local without violating the laws of physics. Perhaps when I pray, more is happening then just the little voice in my head talking. I actually believe this. I believe this is part of God’s creation.

This quote is attributed to Nelson Mandela: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Would your prayer life be different if how it works was fully understood and there was hard or scientific evidence that it worked?

Mark Perrin

About Mark Perrin

I’m a member of St Martin’s Anglican in Calgary and a director of the Anglican Fellowship of Prayer. I’m an engineer by training and consult in the oil patch doing engineering, IT and finance work. I am married and have three children. At church I’m an intercessor and participate in our healing prayer ministry. My spiritual life includes Christianity, the healing arts of Qi Gong, Reiki and Shamanism, and a curiosity about how creation works. In my spare time I occasionally post to this site, play with motorcycles, guitars, computers and model trains.
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One Response to What is happening when we pray?

  1. Kyle Norman

    Thanks for this Mark.
    This is an intruiging subject, and I have often looked (and spoken about) the ‘scientific evidence’ for the effects of prayer. However part of me doesn’t want to go too far down that road. I fear that trying to understand the ‘mechanism’ of prayer may evenually detract from what we are doing. Exampe, if I understand prayer via concepts like subspace, electrons, flux capacitors, electromagnatism, and all things “sciency”, then it leads me to think that I would be able to access such dynamics devoid of any connection to God. Would this still be prayer?

    Perhaps before we ask ‘What happens when we pray?, we need to ask the more basic questions ‘What is prayer?’

    Lots of thoughts in this. Good post!

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