Saying a prayer may help many people feel less angry and behave less aggressively after someone has left them fuming. New studies show that people who were provoked by insulting comments from a stranger showed less anger and aggression soon afterwards if they prayed for another person in the meantime. Since bottled-up anger is bad for your health, and thinking of others can help them to heal (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show), this is good to know–whether you are religious or not.
These benefits probably occur because the act of praying changes the way people think about a negative situation. Psychologist Brad Bushman says, "People often turn to prayer when they’re feeling negative emotions, including anger. We found that prayer really can help people cope with their anger, probably by helping them change how they view the events that angered them and helping them take it less personally." The studies didn’t examine whether prayer had any effect on the people who were prayed for, it focused only on those who were doing the praying.
Whatever else he was, Jesus was a wise psychologist. In Matthew 5:43-44 and Luke 6:27 and 6:35 he said, "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you." "When people are confronting their own anger, they may want to consider the old advice of praying for one’s enemies,” Bremner says. "It may not benefit their enemies, but it may help them deal with the negative emotions." Around here, we need more than prayer to keep going–we need your support, so follow the righteous path and subscribe today–you’ll feel a lot better if you do!