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I feel like praying for something gives a person the impression that they no longer need to actively invest their own efforts to affect the desired change -like throwing coins in a wishing well without ever actually working toward achieving the desired goal. Naturally, this is a broad generalization formulated from my own limited scope of experiences. What perspective has your experience given you on the subject?

Chevre_Sournois 6 Aug 31

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There are two basic kinds of prayers. One is designed to implore god for some favor or other. The other, sometimes called meditative prayer, is designed to change the one praying, not to obtain anything, but to accede to what one sees as the will of god ("not my will, but thine, be done" ). It is, in essence, the Christian version of the Buddhist doctrine of non-attachment to particular outcomes. As such, meditative prayer has some value, at least in theory.

On the other hand, asking god for stuff, when you think of it, is being done by people who by the very nature of the beast already have a lot of experience with god's silence and indifference. At some level they know that there's no one on the other end of the line, and that anything that actually happens will be because they or some other human acted, or because of sheer dumb luck. So yes, with this subconscious knowledge, asking god for favors becomes a place to toss "nice to have but not critical" needs in hopes that every thousandth time god might nudge things in your favor a bit. When you really, really need something (please stop her suffering, please don't let him die kinds of requests) then it just becomes a source of desperate anxiety.

In my experience, meditative prayer was problematic because submitting to the will of god was incompatible with god's supposed perfect benevolence. Non-attachment is a good thing, it teaches you to flex with life instead of demanding that life accommodate you. But that works better without god in the picture. If the universe is indifferent and life is just a series of stuff happening then you can go with the flow without questioning why things flow as they do, when someone could improve the flow, but won't.

As for asking god for stuff, that never ended well and got old really fast, it just took me a long time to admit that I despised it. People who persist in it, do so because they are "supposed" to, because of various taboos, and because they are willing to engage in deliberate and rampant confirmation bias so as to be able to point to "answers" and claim value for the practice that it doesn't in fact have.


its the least you can do whilst expecting the most as for throwing coins in fountains i like that only because the money usually goes to a charity


I think you're right. It's a lazy, disconnecting perspective that not only works on the personal level to do nothing useful, but also on the global level, where taking care of the earth is pointless because God will sort it all out when he comes.


Perhaps so. It could also be a form of organizing and stating a perspective and goal...


I think that is true for some. For others it helps to give them a placebo effect. They gave positivity from the action.

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