The Reading New Year
31st December 1998
Reading New Year POST
What Reading really, really wants: prayers, peace, prosperity… and promotion
Wishes for 1999
AT THE stroke of midnight, in that suspended instant which is neither 1998 nor 1999, I shall be praying. Praying for my own health, praying for my family, praying for our friends, praying for the planet. And praying most especially for all sick and unhappy children, that the New Year may bring them fresh hope. Anyone who believes in God knows prayer works. Prompted by the worldwide spiritual rebirth, with around 30 million more US church-goers than in 1978, science is studying prayer too. Dr Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School says regular worship reduces illness. His colleague, psychiatrist Greg Jacobs, has used computer brain scans to demonstrate that prayer and meditation calm the emotional centres of the mind. I believe prayer works through mental pictures. First we define what we need or desire, and then we imagine it. Whether this mind picture works on the physical world by an unseen force like psychokinesis, or whether it simply helps God understand what we are asking, I don’t know. What is certain is this: more than ever, 1999 will need our prayers.
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