What is the point of prayer?
We ask god to make things a certain way that have been what they are all along.
Please don't let it be cancer
Please let it be mold and not a dangerous building toxin
It's not like god miraculously changes it from what it is to what we want.
Prayer makes more sense regarding things that have not already happened. So,
Help me have a good attitude - ok
Please don't let the cancer spread - fine
Give the doctors clarity on what is wrong - acceptable
So can we please get away from this idea that god takes a supernatural hand in our daily lives? Because god obviously doesn't. This world was made with rules that remain unbroken. If there is a deitific order then it will remain intact and no amount of spiritual begging will change that.
Hangs out sign, unfolds chair and table and sits down
Change my mind.
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Comments (5 so far!)
I'll bite, taking things at face value. I don't pray because I'm certain my request will be granted - my God is not like the mythic harvest or fertility gods where you do one thing for them (prayer, sacrifice, ritual etc.). In fact, praying like that often leads to exactly the kind of disappointment and disenfranchisement depicted above.
No, I pray because it's good to pray. I can give two reasons why, though probably someone with more solid theology than me can do better. One, because it's good to talk. Our friends, the best ones, the ones we'll call when things are really bad - we talk to them. We don't show them the black of our soul because we believe they can wave their hands and fix it. We tell them because it's good for us to talk about how we feel.
Because it's okay to feel bad that things aren't going our way, or because certain things happened (avoidable or not). Because saying things may not change any facts but it can sure change how we feel. Perspective and perception are important too.
- #4401 Posted 3 months ago
Second is that praying is the very truth of faith. If I really believe in a God that is truly all-powerful, absolutely all-knowing and fundamentally all-good, when how could I not pray? Why is there anything that I could not entrust to him?
Yes, praying doesn't always result in what we perceive to be successful outcomes. The cancer is terminal, that person really doesn't love you, the job offer didn't come through. But I believe that, come what may, it happened because God judged it to be the better way. That does very little to soften the blow of those kinds of events. I don't want to imply that faith protects from those things - there are no promises that it will. All I can do is trust that it's all part of the plan somehow, and it'll all be worth it in the end.
- #4402 Posted 3 months ago
I'll close with my belief that my God can and does involve himself in my life, day by day. Maybe it's not as dramatic as might be required for some people's threshold of "supernatural intervention" (that's the subject of a whole other discussion, and a logic chain that would be risky to try and construct on the internet). Then again, there was one very important intervention in around 30AD, the biggest possible supernatural intervention, and lots of people still aren't very convinced. What does that tell us?
I don't know either. I'll pray for you tonight, though, internet stranger. God bless.
- #4403 Posted 3 months ago
I would like to agree that God doesn't take a supernatural hand in our daily lives, but I've had too many tangible answers to prayer to discount it. Please let it not be cancer is probably a desperate prayer that is going to lead to disappointment in many cases.
But, that time when I felt compelled by external forces to say a specific kind word to a guy I knew and it turned out to be exactly the thing he had been praying for remains a profound moment in my life.
- #4421 Posted 2 months ago
HSAR said it, "Perspective and Perception".
Prayer takes you out of yourself. It forces you to think about things that are out of your control in a more logical way. Falling down and stubbing your toe is the end of the world when you are 4, until the bandaid is put on and it stops throbbing so much. You might not have had control, but you relinquished what control you thought you had to another. Sometimes letting go is what's best. Confessing your fears, your worries, and your thanks is a good practice. Some people use a journal. Some pray. Some do both. Prayer can be cathartic.
- #4423 Posted 2 months ago
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