“If, instead of a gem or even a flower,
we should cast a gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend,
that would be giving as the angels give.” – George Macdonald
Coming across this quote today stirred in me a memory of a study on prayer that I heard about many years ago.
In 1969 in Salem, Oregon, an organization known as Spindrift conducted a series of experiments involving seeds and prayer. First, two groups of rye seeds were planted in identical conditions. One group was prayed for and one was not. The prayed-for group grew better, with taller seedlings and more shoots. In further experiments, the researchers applied prayer to “seeds in crisis.” Salt was added to the watering can to stress the seeds as they tried to grow. The seeds that were watered with salt water and were prayed for grew higher then the healthy seeds that were not prayed for. They also grew taller than the prayed for seeds that received fresh water. The experiments were repeated with various types of seeds, and the results were consistent: Seedlings facing adversity and receiving prayer thrived.
Since I first heard about The Spindrift Study, I’ve often thought about how we are like those little seedlings with salt water poured upon them. In some form, we all have adversity rained upon us. We can grow greater as a result of standing up to each challenge. Prayer helps us to build strength and thrive.
The quote above from George Macdonald also led me to wonder about the effect of caring thoughts.
I like to imagine that every time we think loving thoughts about one another, prayers are rising while streams of positive energy flow between us.
Someday we’ll understand more about how every thought matters and how caring makes a difference.
In the meantime, let’s consider practicing this form of prayer every day. While it’s a pleasure to give (and to receive) flowers, gems, chocolates, and other material things, thinking of one another with love and compassion is “giving as the angels give.”