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Sunday, October 14, 2012

Lord's Prayer: Our daily dopamine

The Lord's Prayer (by James Tissot)
While thumbing through the January 2, 2012 issue of First magazine at a local laundromat, this (bright red) News! headline practically hit me over the head:  "THE LORD'S PRAYER

Since watching laundry go round and round within machines is about as stimulating as the average church sermon, I decided to continue reading.  After all, this was the prayer that Jesus taught to his disciples.  Perhaps it - and not the sermon - should  be the real
focus of most Christian worship services.

Danish researchers at Aarhus University might concur.  This article states that they found recitation of the Lord's Prayer  by "20 devout Christians" to be "associated with the release of dopamine (a neurotransmitter that fights tiredness, depression and cravings)…"

These same 20 Christians were also asked to recite "a personal prayer…  a rhyme and wish to Santa Claus."  Although the personal prayer was also associated with a dopamine release, the Lord's Prayer "had more than double the positive effect."  On the other hand, the rhyme and wish to Santa Claus actually "decreased
the activation of this dopamine-releasing part of the brain."

In the Lab Times 4-2009 issue, there is a "Research Letter" by Tahor Grundtvig titled "Praying for Dopamine."  Grundtvig details the process by which the Aarhus University researchers came to favorable
conclusions about the Lord's Prayer.  The "20 healthy young Christians (14 women, 6 men)" were asked "to stick their heads into an fMRI scanner and start praying intently!"  Grundtvig also points out that these "20 carefully selected subjects" all regularly practiced the Lord's Prayer…"


First for women, 1/2/12, page 43

Copyright October 14, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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