Tanya Luhrman, a Stanford anthropology professor is researching how Christians train themselves to converse with God through prayer. The entire article is worth a read, but I thought I’d offer an excerpt:
To understand how this deep prayer changes the mind, Luhrmann created an experiment during which she separated some people into a prayer group or a Bible study group. Members of each group were given an iPod. The prayer group’s playlist consisted of Scripture readings, followed by questions about the passages that encouraged participants to use their inner senses to take part in what was happening in the Scripture. The Bible study group’s playlist consisted of lectures about Scripture.
Luhrmann found that after 30 days’ listening to the tracks for 30 minutes a day, the prayer group had more vivid imaginations. “I found that the prayer practice did sharpen people’s mental imagery. They were more likely to say that they experienced God more as a person by the end of the month,” she said. “It also increased the chance they would report an unusual sensory experience,” she said. “Some of them reported feeling God touch their shoulder or speak with them or interact with them in a way they actually experienced with their senses.”