I just listened to a great TED talk on mindfulness, the new buzzword for good reason. A growing body of research gives evidence to the positive changes that come from such practices: meditation on breathing, listening, focused gratitude. Many scientists admit that these are ancient practices with a new label, which is true. Ancient wisdom counsels us to pray: bring our worries to God and focus on the good in our lives. When I turn to the Lord, I feel His love and goodness, which immediately relaxes me, and I breathe. In prayer, I remember how much God has blessed me and taken care of me, and promises to always do so, and I listen, not just to my environment, but God's presence and messages to me. When I enter the presence of God, I am immediately aware of all that the Lord has given me, and I am filled with gratitude. So, prayer is mindfulness wrapped in a relationship with our eternal, faithful and all-loving Creator.
One enormous advantage comes with prayer that mindfulness research lacks: the true power of the Person of Jesus Christ, the real peace of a real God who shows us real love, and the promise of eternal life. As much as focusing on the blessings of every day will hugely improve our happiness, there is always the ultimate reality of our physical death. The closer we get to God, the more we understand that our happiness is a continuum that will extend forever, once we are in the arms of our Lord. Melissa showed this peace, and wrote more prayers of thankfulness than any other kind of prayer, even while battling cancer. She had a peace and joy that came from a Higher Power, which she constantly proclaimed! Following Melissa's lead, I will practice prayerfulness for the calm, focused and grateful life that living with God will bring. Blessings ~ JBM