Updated: Jul 20
Whether you believe in God, don't believe in God, are unsure about God's existence, or think we live in a hyper realistic computer simulation run by little green aliens or murderous robots, then this post is for you. But before I go into how prayer can help you improve your grades, first, a story:
I was stuck. Trapped. Feeling totally helpless. I fell to my knees. And like a gambler down to his final bet, I cried out, "I beg you to help me just this once!" I didn't even know who I was praying to exactly. It just felt like the only thing I could do in the moment.
I felt tension grip my whole body to the point where I felt like I was going to snap myself in half. My head pulsed, and my vision blurred, and it felt like my emotions were taking over, and then....I heard a voice.
The voice came from somewhere deep within, and it sounded like...well...me. The voice comforted me, calmed me down, and told me exactly what I needed to do. I felt my whole body relax. All the tension released. I could see and think clearly again. My prayer worked.
Anatomy of a Prayer
So why did my woeful cries to the heavens work? In my unscientific, but accurate opinion, there is one major reason why praying is a powerful force: hope.
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Behind door #1, we got an oversized cry bucket. This cry bucket will hold all of your tears from all the crying you'll be doing because you are scared you are about to fail a test, your best friend just betrayed you, or some other catastrophe. You feel all alone and helpless.
Behind door #2, we got a mystical orb that holds some sort of powerful force that COULD (maybe just maybe) possibly grant your wish if you ask (politely of course).
Which one you going with?
I'm guessing even if you don't believe it will work, you're going with door #2. Because even if there is the smallest chance it can work, then that is better than feeling totally helpless. The magical orb gives you some hope, and just like the magical orb, saying a little prayer gives you some hope too.
When some people hear the word "prayer", they get caught up on the idea that "praying" must involve God.
Call it God, call it a genie, call it "The Magical Wish-Granting Orb of the Netherealm". I don't really care. The point is you are making a request to some power outside of yourself; something that can influence the things you can't control. And that little request gives you something of immeasurable power: hope.
Hope is an incredibly powerful emotion. Entire epic sagas are based entirely on hope (Think Harry Potter's hope he will defeat Voldemort, or Frodo's hope to destroy The Ring). Harry and Frodo are both able to take incredibly brave actions and triumph because they always had hope.
And the interesting thing about hope is it doesn't actually give you the thing you asked for, but instead it gives you the power to go and get it yourself, which is even better. You have the power, so you become relaxed, you stop resisting, and you let go of control. You allow yourself to go to a state mentally and physically where you can succeed.
Praying to Help You in School (& Life)
So how can prayer help you get better grades?
You can pray to God, to your higher self, to your Great Aunt Susan, or to our alien/robot overlords. WHO you pray to does not matter. Remember in my story at the beginning of this post, I didn't even pray to anyone in particular. I just shouted my prayer out loud!
What matters is that you let yourself believe your prayer will work, even if it is a 1 in 1,000,000 shot.
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Next time you are about to take a test and you are feeling nervous about it, just quietly say to yourself, "Please help me do well on this test." And just allow yourself to believe that maybe it can work. That's it!
Sometimes I forget I have this tiny superpower of prayer in my back pocket. Then, when I remember to use it, I always feel better.
Try it out. Say a prayer next time you feel stuck, or you feel like you are out of options. Ask that power for a little help. See what happens, and let me know in the comments if it worked for you!