Spiritual Tetris Effect


 Spiritual Tetris Effect

                                                Jim Burns

The Tetris Effect is a brain game one can do on Xbox that one can get absorbed in for hours and the brain continues to think about the repetitive thoughts in the game.

The Tetris effect is repetitive work that is known to cause repetitive thoughts and dreams. For example, if you spend all day pulling up weeds from a garden you may obsess about pulling up weeds for several hours afterward or perhaps dream about them.

A good definition for the Tetris effect is: Tetris effect occurs when people devote so much time and attention to an activity that it begins to pattern their thoughts, mental images, and dreams and even become a habitual action. 

The Tetris Effect describes the phenomenon where regular players of the game began to see objects in their everyday lives as shapes that they needed to fit into gaps. Similarly, the more you engage in certain patterns of thinking, the more likely you are to use them again.

Basically, the “Tetris Effect” happens when after playing the game for an hour or so, you still have the taunting little images falling through the brainwaves in your head – so you keep playing a mental version of the game. Another way it shows up is when you are at a grocery store, and you see some boxes that might fit together better to make a row. Some folks will gaze at a beautiful downtown skyline, and instead of admiring the glass and steel human achievement, they instead start  thinking about how the buildings might be turned in a Tetris like fashion for a better position. There is a mental process that is going on that brings about receptive action.

Some therapeutic studies show that Tetris and other absorbing brain games can relieve stress, depression, decrease cravings for drugs, alcohol, food and habitual activities, ADHD, PTSD, and other mental health issues.

What if we could capture the Tetris effect in our spiritual lives?

If we could use the Tetris effect in our spiritual lives, we could see some benefits us?  If we devote a block of time and attention to prayer, meditation, study of God’s Word, could we develop a thought pattern to access God’s presence in our mental images, and even in our dreams?  What if we practice our attention to God’s presence every time we ender a church house, could we experience that awesome presence of God in our midst. When we invite God to come into our presence, He comes in. When we allow Him to present in power and great glory, He will bring power and glory to our midst.

God used the Tetris effect toward us from the beginning of time until now. He has reached out to man in pre-history, throughout history, in Old Testament days, in New Testament days and He is reaching out to us now.  Oh, what a wonderful mutual reach it would be – with us reaching out to God the way He reaches out to us.  How beneficial it would be to develop reaching out to Him in our bad times, in our good times, in our thoughts and emotions all the time.  To develop a pattern of being close to God all the times of our Christian walk.

In fact, we are told in Scripture repeatedly that we are to follow patterns – Jesus used a Pattern for Praying in the Lord’s Prayer. This prayer is notmeant to be recited mechanically without thinking or understanding what is being said. Some people think that if they can find just the right combination of syllables or words to recite whenever they pray, they will get whatever they need.

Some of us may have been treating the Lord’s Prayer that way. It is wrong to think that it is simply a magic formula prayer we can use whenever we pray. There is a very easy way to prove this: Just compare the words of Matthew 6:9-13 with the words of the same prayer Jesus taught His disciples in Luke 11:2-4– “Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth. Give us day by day our daily bread. And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive everyone that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.”

You will notice that the ending of the prayer is not found here: “For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.” The obvious differences in wording reveal that it is not the exact words used in praying that matters. The Lord’s Prayer is meant to teach disciples a pattern for praying; develop a habit of praying; to develop a second-nature in praying.

 The Lord’s Prayer is a guide that displays all the elements of prayer, such as worship, reverence, obedience, penitence, unselfishness, and humility.

 In a similar way, some Christians like to use the acronym ACTS as a pattern for praying. This stands for Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication. The Lord’s Prayer provides us with a useful pattern for our prayers.

Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17) To “pray without ceasing” means to have our minds always on the things of God, to be in constant communication with him, so that every moment may be as fruitful as possible. What Paul is encouraging Christians in Thessalonica to do is develop a habitual pattern of prayer – use the Tetris effect.

Having the Tetris effect in your spiritual development means that we do more than just a casual thought of God now or then, or when we need Him, or read a couple of verses of Scripture, or say a rote prayer and move on.  Having the Tetris effect means devote our time and energy spending time in His presence, to listen inattentively to Him, allow Him to talk to us, and share our thoughts and needs to him, a time to praise Him, to magnify Him, to love on Him, like a child loves on a parent.  I just imagine God loves a hug as much as we do.

Oh, how vital it is for us to develop the Tetris effect in our spiritual life – to really get plugged into God in such a way that it begins a pattern of our thoughts, our mental images, washing deeply into our spirits, and almost automatically acts like Jesus in our daily lives.  Wow!

Praise God, from Whom all blessings flow; Praise Him, all creatures here below; Praise Him above, ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!

Praise be to God who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.”  Ephesians 1:3

Praise God, Praise God, Praise God!


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