The effectiveness of prayer is clearly established. Numerous studies demonstrate that healing prayers can be a major contributor to recovery. Similarly, prayer promotes both physical health and emotional well being in those who pray regularly.
Anyone who meditates or prays will tell you that the benefit is direct and immediate: it feels good. We feel the benefit of prayers for peace with an immediate sense of peace and well being. Within each of us there is a well of love, contentment and joy there for the tapping anytime we choose to quiet ourselves and touch it mentally. Some call this "God," others call it our center, or soul or spirit. Whatever you call it, the experience cuts across all religions and traditions. Deep within each of us is a pool of peace, calm and joy. Deep prayer and meditation can help us find and develop our connection with this deepest part of each of us.
New studies are showing that this personal experience of peace prayer also affects the world around us. This started to become known when studies of a popular meditation movement showed that when only 1% of a population started meditating the overall level of violence in that community went down. In addition, starting in the early 90's, a series of experiments were done to demonstrate the effect of peace prayers on violence levels. High-violence areas such as Washington, D.C. in the Summer, and Sri Lanka during a civil war, were targeted. The result? Washington experienced a 25% drop in violent crime. The rate of violent injury in Sri Lanka fell by 48% while the death rate fell by 74%.
Thus, peace prayer not only benefits the person praying or meditating, but directly improves their community and ultimately, the whole world. Something as simple as a minute's thought picturing what we want in a peaceful world can make a difference: laughing children; everyone fed and sheltered; our own snug, happy home; or whatever peace looks, sounds, feels, tastes or smells like to you. Such a simple practice makes such a big difference.