Abstract: Aramus Crane explains how God allows us to use mental rehearsing to learn how to react more appropriately in conversation or action. To rehearse gives an opportunity to form the synapses of your neurons so that you might say and do the things you want instead of reacting to what you see at the time. Practice helps you prepare.

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Mental Rehearsing's Role in Sanctification

by Aramus Crane
version 04.06.01 

No new idea

If you ask any respected professional, whether she be an actor, a doctor, a politician, a salesman, a soldier or an athlete, she will tell you that a part of the reason for their success is practice and mentally rehearsing the task ahead of them. There is a neurological basis for the old proverb, “Practice makes perfect“ and for the Army saying, “Do it in practice as you will do in battle.“

Physiological basis 

Between each pair of neurons that communicate to each other, there is a microscopic space called the synapse. Here electronic pulses are changed into chemical signals using neurotransmitters. These flow out of the sending neuron's gate and into the receiving neuron's receptor where they are transduced into electronic pulses again. Each time that someone does something, the gates and receptors in the mental synapses are strengthened. Otherwise, over a period of disuse, these channels get used in other ways and the brain gets rewired. If the brain is wired for a specific action or reaction, that action will be executed easier and faster than if it has never been done before. When we get stressed or tired, our actions regress into what is natural, the “animal instinct“. If we mentally and physically rehearse what we desire to do or say, it will become easier and appear more genuine, because it will become genuine. This is the secret to success in the public eye.

Using it in Kingdom life

Other than a pastor's normal routine of practicing his sermon in front of a mirror, this trait is virtually unknown in Christian circles. How many missionaries do what a salesman does, keeping records on contacts: their previous conversations, opinions, vital statistics and prayerfully plan for the next conversation under the leading of the Holy Spirit? How many mentally have a conversation before the next visitation, having some idea of what they will say, what objections might be brought up, correct reactions to those objections, open and loving body language, etc?


No, the hapless missionary goes in unprepared, gets surprised by the person's reaction, gets angry, expresses negative body language, and says something that he usually regrets or doesn't say something and later thinks, “boy I could have said that“. But he doesn't write it down in a file to be reviewed before the next conversation and doesn't say it the next time either. This is one reason why we are known as the most disorganized, inefficient, unprofessional and ineffective of all professions. Beloved, this ought not be so. Even as college students in the Navigators, we at least planned before visitation and evaluated our conversations afterwards.

Introducing rehearsing into parenting

How many times do we mentally rehearse our conversations with our children about sex or drugs? How much do we prepare ourselves to react positively to criticism and insults? If you know you will have a meeting with someone who insults you about your faith, do you do anything to prepare for it? Prayer is important, and many will do that. But, mentally preparing yourself will give you a whole new experience.

How do I do it?

What is mentally rehearsing? Imagine yourself going into that meeting with the anti-Christian. Imagine some of the insults that he might throw at you. Now mentally or even physically observe your body language and see if it is closed and defensive. Make it open and loving. OK, play it over again with the right body language. Now what will you say in response? Is there a better word or tone to use? Use it. Now, say it in love, aloud, so that you hear yourself say it and reinforce the right synapses in the Broca and Wernicke's areas of the brain for speech and hearing. Repeat it two or three times and then think of another insult. Do this for a number of attacks. The two minutes that you have invested in preparation are repaid by not losing hours of sleep afterwards regretting what you said or thinking how to undo the damage you did to God's Kingdom and your career.


As I've discovered in my marriage, words are hard to unspeak and emotional damage is hard to undo. Let us do it better the first time. Mental rehearsal goes far in our sanctification process.

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