The healing power of praise and worship: a scientific perspective.

Nearing the end of my PhD, I do not take lightly to ascribe therapeutic value to praise and worship. However, my experience as I write this contribution is the basis of my hypothesis. I will tell you the story and allow you to draw the inferences.

Yesterday, while waiting for my choir rehearsal, I bought plantain chips, malt and peanuts from a friend’s shop. I just needed anything to keep me busy not because I was hungry. After the rehearsal, I went home. At home, I quickly prepared a sandwich and a cup of chocolate drink. I took them and off I went. Later, I remembered that I had a meeting. I sent a reminder to my friends and we started around 7 pm. During the meeting, I started sensing stomach pains and it kept getting worse and worse. By the time I finished, it was a clear problem and it was so significant an issue that I had to discuss it with my wife and she helped messaged my tummy. Lucky me. But the pain persisted.

I took plenty of water but it did not dounse the pains. The pain persisted and I started enduring it, psychologically, as there was nothing I could do and there was no gestinal medication I could have taken as an intervention. Throughout the time I slept, I felt the pains and every turning moment was done carefully so that I would not aggravate the pains. I was already thinking of which item might have caused the pains so that I can forever remove it from my meal. Could it be the plantain chips? I have been eating that for ages. Was it malt? I am not sure. What of the coconut peanut? I doubted. How about combining them? Could they produce the effect troubling me? How about the tuna in my sandwich? My questelligence was fully activated. I was desperately looking for what to fire in the way of Lord Sugar. I was ready to fire any of those items or all of them if I could link my stomach pains to any or all of them. Certainly, I cannot remember the last time I had stomach upset and I did not have it before that evening. So, the things I ate are the causative factors.

Around 4 am as I later checked my time, I decided to listen to the list of songs that I would be leading this Sunday morning. “If I am awake, let me utilise my time for something of value”, I thought to myself. I started listening to “I’m chasing after you” by VaShawn Mitchell. I was engrossed in it and I was thinking about the tempo, lyrics, adlibs and the rhythm and how I could fine- tune mine to what Mitchell did. I was also enjoying every bit and parts of the song and I became so involved that I yawned twice and farted once. Of course you are my witness that farting usually expel gases. The yawn was not out of hunger but could be somewhat a combination of yawning and belching. Instantly, I was relieved! I felt it and I knew something just happened.

I started reflecting on my experience. As a proponent of creativity intelligence, I saw a divine hand in my instant recovery. Of course, from the scientific perspective, my experience can be explained, perhaps with ease by medical experts. However, here is my hypothesis of what happened to me.

Probably, outputs of some abnormal biochemical processes had resulted in the production gases that caused me agony because they were trapped in my stomach. Whilst having the severe pains and as I started listening to the song, my physiology started adjusting. The threshold of the relaxation of my body physiology reached a critical point where diffusion of the gases could happen without chemical or mechanical intervention. Thus, my dilated physiology and the internal stimulus of the moving gases initiated neurological reactions of yawning, belching and farting, thereby resetting of my system. I want experts to enlighten me more as I am a perpetual learner.

You see, my PhD had thought me one big skill. It is the ability to construct a hypothesis or theory and attempt to explain physical phenomenon with such theories. The explanation may not be perfect ab initio. Yet, in science, everything must be explained. One could reasonably ask, if you can explain your experience with science, why are you bringing God into it? A reasonable question I must admit. Let me answer our question, if you aligned with the question.

Listening to music at 4 am was not a prescription from any doctor. In fact, I started listening to the songs because the pains could not allow me to sleep. Thus, it was accidental, not even an intentional act in itself. To listen to music at that time is considered a significant trigger. If it was an intentional act, I would have set an alarm before going to bed to ensure that I would wake up at exactly 4 am. Therefore, the description of what happened to me can only be a miracle, a healing triggered by a praise and worship song. This, I should add, is an experience familiar to those chasing after God.

I have utmost confidence that the progress of human civilisations lies in science. But I believe in God. I believe that there is a creative intelligence behind the physical universe. Thus, I do not use science to explain away God; I use science to explain the glory of God. My experience may not mean anything to you but I was deeply worried and was already contemplating what I might do if it persisted.

Now, I am more awed by the glory of God and at the same time stand in an admiration of human intelligence, evolved minds and achievements in pursuit of modern science. Humans will not stop at characterising and studying nature to the extent that they can alter, control and redesign it. Yet, the raw materials and inherent properties of the mind and matter are of divine intelligence signatured in the chemistry, physics and biology of the universe.

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