If someone makes you mad, if they say or do something that makes you angry, how would you feel if they then came to you, told you they had a serious illness, and asked if you would pray for them?
Maybe we should revise the familiar saying, “don’t get mad, get even” to “don’t get mad, get praying“. When it comes to anger, praying actually can improve health. In this case, we’re talking about the health of the one praying.
An October 1, 2007 article in ScienceDaily suggests that anger contributes to heart disease. And two studies conducted by Brad Bushman, Ohio State University professor of communication and psychology, along with Ryan Bremner at the University of Michigan, showed that while praying, subjects were much less angry.
In the first study, subjects were first insulted to invoke anger and then they were told about a stranger suffering from cancer (they weren’t told that this was a fictional patient). Subjects were divided into two groups. One group was asked to pray for the patient who was suffering and the other group was asked to just think about them. Those who were praying were found to be much less angry than those in the other group. But this also showed, I think, in the first group, that their compassionate praying reduced their anger.
In the second study, subjects were led to believe that they could control how loud a sound would blast in headphones worn by a fictional person that they were told had criticized them. Those who prayed were found less likely to hurt those who had angered them. Again, doesn’t this show that their praying reduced their anger?
In these studies, it was thought engaged in praying that reduced anger. It wasn’t dependent upon a particular religious background.
I think this shows clearly that you can’t be angry while compassionately praying. And that’s good for our health.
So, don’t get mad, get praying!