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Farmer Geddon

Why Do We Pray?

Subconsciously I will still "Pray" against disastrous events that have happened on our planet, whether it be man-made or Natural.

I've been a confirmed non-believer of the christian god since as long as I can remember - but why as a knee-jerk reaction will I still attempt to pray for those who "believe"/need "prayer"?

I still find myself saying "God, I hope they are OK" when I hear of life-threatening news...

Why would I do that, when I know for a fact that "god has fuck all to do with they survive or not"?

It always perplexes me...

I blame "Songs of Praise"...  

LOL
Honey 56

Re: Why Do We Pray?

Farmer Geddon wrote:
Subconsciously I will still "Pray" against disastrous events that have happened on our planet, whether it be man-made or Natural.

I've been a confirmed non-believer of the christian god since as long as I can remember - but why as a knee-jerk reaction will I still attempt to pray for those who "believe"/need "prayer"?

I still find myself saying "God, I hope they are OK" when I hear of life-threatening news...

Why would I do that, when I know for a fact that "god has fuck all to do with they survive or not"?

It always perplexes me...

I blame "Songs of Praise"...  

LOL


Why,
because there is a God shaped hole in our hearts that nothing else can fill ?

It is human nature I think to cry out for help when we are powerless and up against it, remember when that plane managed to land safely in the Hudson river? there was much praying that day, instigated by the pilot if I remember rightly. You know things are bad when someone like a Pilot starts praying !

Praying isn't only about when the times are difficult though, it is like any other relationship, it would be rather strange if you didn't talk to your Father wouldn't it? about anything and everything.

Talking of songs of praise, do you remember a favourite?

honey.
gone

I suppose we all need someone to talk to! I have created my own version of a deity, I unload my angst onto it, but it can't answer back! I suppose prayer is a glorified way of talking to oneself. Talking things through in this way can sometimes provide helpful answers to problems. The religious will say it is God answering prayer, I think it is the human mind working it out for itself.
Shaker

Re: Why Do We Pray?

Honey 56 wrote:
Why, because there is a God shaped hole in our hearts that nothing else can fill ?

Might be true of some people, and more fool them.
Jim

Re: Why Do We Pray?

I'm delighted to say that, as a 'fool for Christ's sake', I'm happy to say that the God-shaped hole in my life was filled with, well - God.

    Prayer wasn't easy for me at first: the formulaic stuff they shoved into us at primary school wasn't, IMHO, prayer. It was simply repeating something someone else had written. When I first opened myself to God - really letting Him know how I felt, I felt a release of tension and an emotional high. I put that down to a one off thing, and didn't make much of it. Yet those times have continued: I feel a freedom, a releasing and a bonding in prayer that I can't easily describe.

    I used to look at prayer as a kind of holy shopping list. That went right out the window when I discovered just how fulfilling just spending time with God could, and can, be. When Jesus was in Martha and Mary's house at Bethany, Martha was all hustle and bustle...but Mary thought there was nothing more important than simply sitting at Jesus' feet.
I'm starting to know how she felt.
IvyOwl

Force of habit. The words are deeply embedded into our language and most of us had the god concept implanted while young so even if we find the Bible /Jesus stuff to be unbelievable when we are older there is still a remnant there.

It's a way of expressing our compassion and sincere good wishes for our fellow human beings when we are feeling helpless!

IO
trentvoyager

IvyOwl wrote:
Force of habit. The words are deeply embedded into our language and most of us had the god concept implanted while young so even if we find the Bible /Jesus stuff to be unbelievable when we are older there is still a remnant there.

It's a way of expressing our compassion and sincere good wishes for our fellow human beings when we are feeling helpless!

IO


Ooh...nail...head.

Shaker

IvyOwl wrote:
Force of habit. The words are deeply embedded into our language and most of us had the god concept implanted while young so even if we find the Bible /Jesus stuff to be unbelievable when we are older there is still a remnant there.

It's a way of expressing our compassion and sincere good wishes for our fellow human beings when we are feeling helpless!

IO


I think the BiB is the crux of it. There's a popular internet meme which has been doing the rounds for who knows how many years which says: "Prayer: How to do nothing and still think you're helping," such as this example:



Although it's meant humorously it does in my view illustrate a profound (and, to the religious, painful) truth; namely that as IO has stated prayer is a way of expressing compassion, good wishes and happy thoughts when we're impotent to do anything more direct and hands-on. If somebody of your (generic your) acquaintance is diagnosed with something serious such as cancer, while you can do something in terms of practical help and emotional support if you're near to the person, it's literally the case that there's absolutely nothing you can do medically - the person then is entirely in the hands of qualified medical professionals and medical science. If such a person is a long way away - a relative half-way round the world in Australia, for instance - then there's very little at all you can do. Prayer is a response to that sense of impotence: it really does, as the internet meme states, seem to be a method by which people who can do nothing feel as though they're doing at least something. Prayer for the victims of a disastrous flood in Bangladesh or a famine in eastern Africa (for example) achieves absolutely nothing: people affected by such horrible tragedies need real help - food, clean water, shelter, medical aid and the like. There are proper organisations on the ground who provide such help: if you're not a member of such an organisation and you're not actually there, if you're in the UK or in the USA or in fact anywhere but in the actual place affected there's nothing directly practical that you can do to help. Nothing. To a very large extent the world is governed by random chance and unpredictable events (as with the examples just given): most people don't like to think that they're very much at the mercy of randomness and unpredictability and have no control over events. Prayer seems to be a way of trying to wrest back some minimal sort of control.

No doubt it's just me, but I'd much rather that people faced up to that fact and did whatever they can - donating money, food and clothing to the relevant aid organisations, and so on - than persisting in this aberrant mental habit of believing that getting down on your knees and talking in your head to a supposed supernatural figure (presumably responsible for the negative state of affairs - cancer/natural disaster, etc. - being prayed about in the first instance: that's a whole other kettle of worms which fatally holes the concept of prayer below the waterline) is actually doing anything other than potentially making yourself feel a little bit better for a little while. In that sense prayer is no more than spiritual masturbation.
IvyOwl

Good post Shaker. Those generic catch all prayers 'for the people suffering in .....' irritate me. If they inspire the hearers to do whatever little or lot that they can well maybe there's a point.


Prayers are more use to the person doing the praying than the person being prayed for unless the prayer is backed up by action. Taking time in quiet reflection can help our subconscious see the way forward.

IO
LeClerc

Re: Why Do We Pray?

Hi Farmer

Farmer Geddon wrote:
Subconsciously I will still "Pray" against disastrous events that have happened on our planet, whether it be man-made or Natural.

I've been a confirmed non-believer of the christian god since as long as I can remember - but why as a knee-jerk reaction will I still attempt to pray for those who "believe"/need "prayer"?

I still find myself saying "God, I hope they are OK" when I hear of life-threatening news...

Why would I do that, when I know for a fact that "god has **** all to do with they survive or not"?

It always perplexes me...

I blame "Songs of Praise"...  

LOL


Acts 17
22 Sha’ul stood up in the Council meeting and said, “Men of Athens: I see how very religious you are in every way! 23 For as I was walking around, looking at your shrines, I even found an altar which had been inscribed, ‘To An Unknown God.’ So, the one whom you are already worshipping in ignorance — this is the one I proclaim to you.

24 “The God who made the universe and everything in it, and who is Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in man-made temples; 25 nor is he served by human hands, as if he lacked something; since it is he himself who gives life and breath and everything to everyone.

26 “From one man he made every nation living on the entire surface of the earth, and he fixed the limits of their territories and the periods when they would flourish. 27 God did this so that people would look for him and perhaps reach out and find him although in fact, he is not far from each one of us, 28 ‘for in him we live and move and exist.’ Indeed, as some of the poets among you have said, ‘We are actually his children.’ 29 So, since we are children of God, we shouldn’t suppose that God’s essence resembles gold, silver or stone shaped by human technique and imagination.

30 “In the past, God overlooked such ignorance; but now he is commanding all people everywhere to turn to him from their sins. 31 For he has set a Day when he will judge the inhabited world, and do it justly, by means of a man whom he has designated. And he has given public proof of it by resurrecting this man from the dead.”


LeClerc
Ketty

Re: Why Do We Pray?

Farmer Geddon wrote:
. . .

I still find myself saying "God, I hope they are OK" when I hear of life-threatening news...

Why would I do that, . . .


Because you're not as stone-hearted as you sometimes make yourself appear on these Message Boards?  
Powwow

"What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul."   Corrie Ten Boom
Shaker

From Wikipedia:

Quote:
From Biblical times to today, the most common form of prayer is to directly appeal to God to grant one's requests. This in many ways is the simplest form of prayer. Some have termed this the social approach to prayer. In this view, a person directly enters into God's rest, and asks for their needs to be fulfilled. God listens to the prayer, and may so or not choose to answer in the way one asks of him.


As I've said more than once in the past, the thing that kills off this kind of petitionary prayer specifically stone-dead as a viable concept is the fact that whatever is being prayed for can be - and by the religionist is - made consistent with absolutely any and every state of affairs. Faced with the three-pronged witlessness of God's answer being 'yes,' 'no' or 'wait' then petitionary prayer is utterly indistinguishable from the operation of blind laws and random chance. There is absolutely no way of telling the difference between (a) God saying 'yes,' 'no' or 'wait' on the one hand and (b) blind law and random chance in a naturalistic and material universe (and no God) on the other. Petitionary prayer is indefeasible: there's literally nothing that the religionist will accept as evidence for its uselessness because no matter what the outcome of any given petitionary prayer, that outcome - whatever it is - will be made to conform to the petitioner's pre-existing belief system, i.e. that there is a God who hears petitionary prayers and answers them with 'yes,' 'no' or 'wait.' In that sense petitionary prayer, for the religionist, is like creationism: a belief system in search of whatever 'facts' can be bent to support it. It's indistinguishable from the practice of deciding what course of action to take by tossing a coin.

If prayer is performed merely as some sort of act of meditation or self-calming or whatever then that's a different matter (and ought to be called such), but petitionary prayer is a non-concept.
Shaker

pow wow wrote:
"What wings are to a bird, and sails to a ship, so is prayer to the soul."   Corrie Ten Boom


"Wibble wibble wibble wibble wibble." - Edmund Blackadder.
Powwow

Shaker's exact American double
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oSRwhWZEmVs&feature=relmfu
Shaker

Re: Why Do We Pray?

Ketty wrote:
Farmer Geddon wrote:
. . .

I still find myself saying "God, I hope they are OK" when I hear of life-threatening news...

Why would I do that, . . .


Because you're not as stone-hearted as you sometimes make yourself appear on these Message Boards?  

Because it's just a figure of speech of no substantive content or meaning whatever.
Jim

Shaker;
Having read most of the late Corrie Ten Boom's work, and met her in person, I absolutley wouldn't dismiss her remarks out of hand. Her experience of prayer in the most dire of circumstances are both inspiring and thought provoking.
Shaker

Jim wrote:
Shaker;
Having read most of the late Corrie Ten Boom's work, and met her in person, I absolutley wouldn't dismiss her remarks out of hand. Her experience of prayer in the most dire of circumstances are both inspiring and thought provoking.

Unless she had/has some means of escaping from the quandary I outlined in a previous post - i.e. of being able to distinguish prayer from the act or rather non-act of doing absolutely nothing at all - then my previous comments still stand.
Powwow

It does not stand Shaker and never did. lol
Shaker

Yes it did and yes it does unless you have evidence to the contrary.

Oh ... "lol."
Powwow

lol,you have no knowledge of prayer. I did get a laugh from Luci asking "why we pray" I don't believe he nor you do, so your contributions must be taken as jokes, which they are.
Shaker

pow wow wrote:
lol,you have no knowledge of prayer.

Really?

Is that a fact?

How do you know this to be the case?

Quote:
I did get a laugh from Luci asking "why we pray"


Given how many of your posts are littered with an entirely and utterly meaningless 'lol' we know how easily amused you are.

Quote:
I don't believe he nor you do, so your contributions must be taken as jokes, which they are.


No joke. Speaking purely for myself, my contributions are deadly serious and are designed, as so often, to high the inconsistency and fundamental irrationality of the religious so-called mind. And as though we needed any more evidence of this, here you are.
Powwow

Yes, exactly as I said, you have no knowledge of prayer.
Ketty

Re: Why Do We Pray?

Shaker wrote:
Ketty wrote:
Farmer Geddon wrote:
. . .

I still find myself saying "God, I hope they are OK" when I hear of life-threatening news...

Why would I do that, . . .


Because you're not as stone-hearted as you sometimes make yourself appear on these Message Boards?  

Because it's just a figure of speech of no substantive content or meaning whatever.


So, you don't think it's because of a genuine desire and hope that 'they are okay'?  You don't think it's a human heart reaching out to humanity?  Maybe, as in the words of that awful song, it's more a case of a selfish 'tonight thank God it's them instead of you [me]'?
Jim

I think some people are under the impression that all prayer is is a kind of holy wish list. I suppose, in a way, that's a natural assumption, as usually when most people who are not believers  pray, it is at a time of need or of crisis.

    There is more - much more - to prayer than that: the model Jesus gave us, which we turned into the "Lord's prayer", was just that; a template to base our prayer on.
This template didn't just include petition for ourselves, or indeed for others, but starts off with a renewal of our bond of love for God ( assuming we have one), continues with 'housekeeping' within the Body of Christ, and hopes for the future, and then comes the wish list.
Lexilogio

Jim wrote:
I think some people are under the impression that all prayer is is a kind of holy wish list. I suppose, in a way, that's a natural assumption, as usually when most people who are not believers  pray, it is at a time of need or of crisis.

    There is more - much more - to prayer than that: the model Jesus gave us, which we turned into the "Lord's prayer", was just that; a template to base our prayer on.
This template didn't just include petition for ourselves, or indeed for others, but starts off with a renewal of our bond of love for God ( assuming we have one), continues with 'housekeeping' within the Body of Christ, and hopes for the future, and then comes the wish list.


I think for those who don't believe, that is probably true. People under stress who don't believe may resort to "prayer"
But it's more like a relationship. You start out with the odd greeting which means nothing, and slowly start to find out more, and develop respect an love.
Shaker

Re: Why Do We Pray?

Ketty wrote:
Shaker wrote:
Ketty wrote:
Farmer Geddon wrote:
. . .

I still find myself saying "God, I hope they are OK" when I hear of life-threatening news...

Why would I do that, . . .


Because you're not as stone-hearted as you sometimes make yourself appear on these Message Boards?  

Because it's just a figure of speech of no substantive content or meaning whatever.


So, you don't think it's because of a genuine desire and hope that 'they are okay'?  You don't think it's a human heart reaching out to humanity?  Maybe, as in the words of that awful song, it's more a case of a selfish 'tonight thank God it's them instead of you [me]'?

No, I've no doubt that "I hope they are OK" is born of a genuine desire and hope that they are OK; I merely meant that prefacing the sentence with "God ..." is simply a figure of ordinary and everyday English so well rooted for so long in common speech that it has lost any religious overtones.
Honey 56

Re: Why Do We Pray?

Shaker wrote:
Honey 56 wrote:
Why, because there is a God shaped hole in our hearts that nothing else can fill ?

Might be true of some people, and more fool them.


Yes, indeed, more fool them (and thank God some people are not afraid to be a fool for the Gospel)
Unfortunately there are many who try to fill the void in their lives with other things, love of money, gambling, illicit or abusive  sexual relationships, drug or alcohol abuse,  things that are destructive to themselves and to those around them, but no matter how or what they try nothing will fill that void, they continue to live selfish and unrewarding lives, as Christians we witness this everyday and are often called to help in these situations, in fact many of us have been there ourselves.  
We have the answer, because all of the time, Jesus stands at the door and knocks and all they need to do is invite Him in.
Jim

Re: Why Do We Pray?

Yes.
I used to be involved in a drug rehab project as a counsellor.
This was no in-your-face evangelical job; although the project ran under the auspices of a group of churches, the rule was that we would only talk about our fait if the client brought it up. We were simply there to listen, or to be with, those who chose to withdraw from heroin.

    I remember in about 1984, a twenty-something girl who had injection scars on her hands, arms and legs through six years of shooting heroin. She had lost her family, friends, home and job. She was going 'cold turkey'. After a night of screaming, exhausted, she yelled "God...what the f**k are you doing to me? I need peace!" My time there was over for the day, so we handed over to the 'day shift' to sit with her.
A couple of days later, I went back 'on shift'. She was gone. I thought she couldn't hack it and left....but actually she had left to visit her family for a few days. The screaming and D.Ts had gone. This wasn't unusual for a withdrawal.

    What WAS unusual, though, was the fact that her life had changed more radically than we expected! What started off as a prayer of desperation led to her committing her life to Christ. The last I knew of her, she was part of a prayer team - as aleader in an Elim Pentecostal Church in Glasgow.
Honey 56

Praise the Lord Jim,  

We too have had the privlege of working with the rough sleepers in our area, with a Gospel mission. Like you Jim, we have seen lives changed, totally and for the long term. People who had to do unspeakable things just to survive with their addictions on a daily basis, now settled and living a stable life, some are even living for God.
The bible says when Jesus sets you free, you are free indeed, we have witnessed this even in our own family.

God is good Jim, our God is great  

Honey
Jim

Have you ever read "Chasing the Dragon" by Jackie Pullinger-to?

There are accounts of several similar changes there, among drop-outs, triad gang members and drug addicts in the 'hidden city' in Hong Kong. Every one of them can beverified by police and hospital records, and many of the new Christians went on, after the Chinese takeover, to start their own work among the drug addicts and rejects of the Phillipines, Thailand, Malasia and India.
Get the book - it's a must, as is her second book, "a crack in the wall", or google Jackie Pullinger or the St. Stephen Society (named after a hall that a local church loaned the new group).
Shaker

pow wow wrote:
Yes, exactly as I said, you have no knowledge of prayer.

And as I said, you know to be categorically true as a certain fact how?

Oh, sorry, I forgot - you don't do evidence.
Shaker

Re: Why Do We Pray?

Jim wrote:
I remember in about 1984, a twenty-something girl who had injection scars on her hands, arms and legs through six years of shooting heroin. She had lost her family, friends, home and job. She was going 'cold turkey'. After a night of screaming, exhausted, she yelled "God...what the f**k are you doing to me? I need peace!" My time there was over for the day, so we handed over to the 'day shift' to sit with her.
A couple of days later, I went back 'on shift'. She was gone. I thought she couldn't hack it and left....but actually she had left to visit her family for a few days. The screaming and D.Ts had gone. This wasn't unusual for a withdrawal.

    What WAS unusual, though, was the fact that her life had changed more radically than we expected! What started off as a prayer of desperation led to her committing her life to Christ. The last I knew of her, she was part of a prayer team - as aleader in an Elim Pentecostal Church in Glasgow.


What a sad, sad story - from one horrible, mind-sapping addiction to another  
Honey 56

Christianity is ' horrible, mind sapping addiction' is it?

You will of course be able to provide evidence of this?

If not, may I suggest that you get your bigotry under control, as there are laws against that sort of behaviour in this Country.
Shaker

Honey 56 wrote:
Christianity is ' horrible, mind sapping addiction' is it?

Yes, it is.

Quote:
You will of course be able to provide evidence of this?

Certainly - in the stupid and asinine things that Christians profess to believe and, all too often, the way they behave.

Quote:
If not, may I suggest that you get your bigotry under control, as there are laws against that sort of behaviour in this Country.

You can suggest whatever the bleeding hell you like. I neither know nor care what sort of 'behaviour' you think you're referring to but there are also laws about free speech/freedom of expression in this country.
Powwow

ALERT ALERT ALERT
The great Shakster has NO EVIDENCE!!! LOL
Honey 56

Shaker wrote:
Honey 56 wrote:
Christianity is ' horrible, mind sapping addiction' is it?

Yes, it is.

Quote:
You will of course be able to provide evidence of this?

Certainly - in the stupid and asinine things that Christians profess to believe and, all too often, the way they behave.

Quote:
If not, may I suggest that you get your bigotry under control, as there are laws against that sort of behaviour in this Country.

You can suggest whatever the bleeding hell you like. I neither know nor care what sort of 'behaviour' you think you're referring to but there are also laws about free speech/freedom of expression in this country.


There are laws against religious hatred, especially the written kind!
Powwow

I warned you not to set yourself on fire Shaker.lol
Shaker

pow wow wrote:
ALERT ALERT ALERT
The great Shakster has NO EVIDENCE!!! LOL

If I were to be called upon to provide evidence for the sort of car crash wreckage that idiotic beliefs can do to a human mind, I would scarcely nee dot look much further than you, powserslol.
Jim

Interesting.
You appear to lump all Christians, from ultra Orthodox, through liberal, to ultra-Evangelical, into one homogenous group.
Is that how you regard us?
Sometimes, Shaker, I wish you were right.
However, where you are most certainly wrong is in your assertion that we are not free to believe, to learn, to work things out for ourselves.
You've obviously had no experience of the CofS, then.
Shaker

Honey 56 wrote:
There are laws against religious hatred, especially the written kind!


There are indeed. And down here in the real world I think you'll find that that sort of thing, unlike the belief system you claim to espouse, has to be based on what to you is the very minor consideration of hard, factual evidence.
Honey 56

Shaker wrote:
Honey 56 wrote:
There are laws against religious hatred, especially the written kind!


There are indeed. And down here in the real world I think you'll find that that sort of thing, unlike the belief system you claim to espouse, has to be based on what to you is the very minor consideration of hard, factual evidence.


Hard factual evidence,  Oh the irony!!!
Powwow

Indeed.LOL
Shaker

You two would be hilarious as some sort of fifth-rate double act (like Little and Large or Hale and Pace, only not even as funny as them) if you didn't give every impression that you think irony is what railings are made of.
Jim

Mine are made of aliminuum.
And as for ironic?
Evidence can be objective, subjective inferred, retrospective as well as empirical.
All have their value.
Powwow

Here's a clip worth watching of Obama and his thoughts on prayer and his visit with Billy Graham.
http://ca.video.search.yahoo.com/...m&c=0&sigr=11aoccihm&
Powwow

"Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action."   Mahatma Gandhi
Honey 56

"Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers."
Sidlow Baxter
Shaker

For the benefit of those who evidently think that the citation of quotes stands in place of rational argument:

I prayed for twenty years but received no answer until I prayed with my legs. ~ Frederick Douglass (escaped slave).

Whatever a man prays for, he prays for a miracle. Every prayer reduces itself to this: "Great God, grant that twice two be not four."  ~ Ivan Turgenev

PRAY, v. To ask that the laws of the universe be annulled in behalf of a single petitioner confessedly unworthy. ~ Ambrose Bierce

The hands that help are better far than lips that pray. ~ Robert Green Ingersoll
Powwow

You argue with no knowledge and experience. You set yourself on fire!
Shaker

... coming from somebody who, according to their avatar, actually appears to be on fire.

Irony will never die as long as you're around, powserslol.
Powwow

Mr. Know It All LOL
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-wSKBNP-pEg&feature=player_embedded
Shaker

pow wow wrote:
"Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action."   Mahatma Gandhi


"Hitler killed five million Jews. It is the greatest crime of our time. But the Jews should have offered themselves to the butcher's knife. They should have thrown themselves into the sea from cliffs." - Mohandas K. Gandhi (alias "a seditious middle temple lawyer, now posing as a fakir of a type well known in the east" - Winston Churchill).
Powwow

Mr. Know It All
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DV5i2CZnIDs&feature=player_embedded
Powwow

Shaker,
I disagree, those other atheists, Stalin and Mao, butchered more. And it was closer to 6 million. An unbelievable horror and number but still pales in comparison to the numbers those other atheists butchered.
Jim

Why do I pray?



'cos Jesus told me.
simples.
Ketty

Jim wrote:
Why do I pray?



'cos Jesus told me.
simples.


The best reason there is.  
Shaker

Powwow

That colour fits you.

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