Does Prayer Affect Creativity?
My husband, Brandon, inspired this post. He constantly recalls a moment from college over and over. As a musician studying music, he practiced for hours upon hours a day. He would sit on a couch randomly placed in the garage and go over scales and modes, changing out guitar pedals to try and achieve the perfect tone (*as if that’s possible*). One requirement for his music performance class was to learn the Nashville number system. This was a new concept to him and it may be for you too. Basically, it’s a method of easily communicating chord changes regardless of what key the song is played in. This new concept wasn’t coming as easily as Brandon was hoping. After hours of trying to force information in to his brain, he stopped and prayed.
Nothing magical took place next. No flash from the sky. No sudden revelation of information downloaded into his mind. BUT, after praying, Brandon started to clearly grasp the concept. Within a few hours he got it, and now he teaches the Nashville number system to others with ease.
Prayer is like mental weight lifting for the brain. Prayer increases activity in the frontal lobe - the area of the brain that controls our conscious decision making. Theoretically, it isn’t far fetched to assume that prayer is also beneficial to the creative process. If the brain is better activated by prayer, it’s primed to innovate and think creatively.
Right now, even as you are reading the words on this screen, I ask that any ill-conceived thoughts limiting you from prayer would be identified as lies and that you would reject those thoughts. Prayer is like breathing within the Christian faith, and the Bible instructs us to pray without ceasing (Philippians 4:6-7). Many people are too intimidated to pray, believing the lies that prayer must be eloquent or follow a specific formula. Prayer should not be used in Church as a measuring stick for comparing religious worthiness. Prayer is an internal and verbal way to communicate with God, and as we pray God searches our hearts (Romans 8:26-27). Anyone who confesses that Jesus is their Lord and Savior should have confidence that prayer, not only matters, but is essential to spiritual maturity.
Starting as simply and truthfully as possible, the best time to pray is when you first wake up! Brennan Manning, author and theologian, suggests that we can pray with every breath we take. It’s called the ‘Abba’ prayer and can begin the moment you wake up. Every time you inhale call to God, ‘Abba,’ which means ‘Father’ in Hebrew. When you exhale pray, ‘I belong to you.’ Personally, my prayer changes depending on what season I’m in… “God, thank you for my life” or “Abba, I trust you.”
You can pray with every breath. Saying prayers internally throughout the day is a great way to stay connected to the Spirit of God. Developing your confidence with prayer will only come by doing two things; reading the Bible and spending time getting to know Spirit. The book of Romans tells us that Spirit searches our hearts and will intercede (pray over us) the Will of God the Father. This means, that even when we don’t know how to pray or what to pray we can trust that Spirit is praying over us all the right things. We can’t mess it up!!
“We live in the bold confidence that God hears our voices when we ask for things that fit His plan. And if we have no doubt that He hears our voices, we can be assured that He moves in response to our call.” 1 John 5:14-15
We pray to acknowledge God, to confess our sins and seek forgiveness, that His Will would be done, for understanding and wisdom, to thank God for all His faithfulness, to intercede for others, and we pray to worship Him! All of this can be honestly communicated to God the Father. The Spirit guides us in truth (John 16:13) and the more time we spend in God’s presence the more familiar we become with His ‘voice.’ I know it’s Spirit prompting me to say or do something when all my intuition along with my logic confirms it’s the right thing to do before my mind had the chance to process it. For you, you may recognize Spirit differently and that’s OK. Just remember, the Spirit of God will never contradict His Word.