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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:24 PM
Original message
What prayer REALLY is...
Edited on Fri Dec-05-08 05:30 PM by fiziwig
If a person believes that:

A) God is all powerful
B) God is all knowing
C) God has infinite wisdom

Then everything will turn out the way He has planned it to, no matter what we want.

Prayer is just a way of saying: "Hey God, you're too dumb to realize what's best, so let me tell you how it should go."

As such, prayer is the ultimate form of disrespect for God. It is telling Him that you know better than He does how to run His universe.

That's my atheist/Buddhist point of view anyway.



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Taverner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:28 PM
Response to Original message
1. Prayer is a 'nicer' way of just wishing it were so
Even still, the end result will be the same
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
2. That's not how the mystics define it
But you wouldn't care about that anyway.
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:59 PM
Response to Reply #2
10. I would
but then I'm a mystic. :)
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glowing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
3. I think prayer is supposed to be more meditative.. a way to calm and cleanse your
soul. AND to reflect and think and put things in order.. Praying for a team to win a football game seems a bit silly to me.
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SharonAnn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Yes, that's what I think it is. Praying FOR something seems wrong somehow.
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glowing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. Well I do pray for a better, kinder and more understanding world.
A world where children get to be children.. fed, schooled, and with lot's of laughter. I pray for people who suffer worse than I. I pray for people who are ill or in need. But its within the reflective process of creating an inner peace and calmer self... Because if you are Christian you understand that there is the father, son and holy ghost.. The meaning is that the spirit is around us and within us and that we are all part of God because we are of him... AND as I look at the cool new stuff from science discovery with time, energy, etc. it does seem that we are all connected. In the early days, they just didn't know how to put words to it because they didn't understand the interconnectness of all life and all matter and all energy and the different dimensions..

Anyway, its much more powerful to understand you are a part of the system and part of one another.. Its much harder to harm another when you understand these things. But Religion destroys humanity. Spirituality connects us.
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provis99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. God Here: "Your prayer request has been denied."
Welcome to the real world.
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glowing Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 07:21 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. No.. it hasn't, but then again, how many people have looked within
and with humanity and tried to realize that? Obviously the greedy at the top haven't.
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. That's my concept of prayer
it is a practice, just as is reciting a mantra. It can be a way of focusing the mind and the breath upon one idea or concept. It can be a way of shifting focus from the everyday worries and pleasures to a more universal thought.

One kind of prayer that is a bit different is praying for someone who has requested prayers. I have found that this kind of prayer establishes a link between the one praying and the one being prayed for, especially if this prayer is continued daily for a long period of time.
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varkam Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 01:26 AM
Response to Reply #3
20. That is how I view it, as well. eom
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DemBones DemBones Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 05:50 PM
Response to Original message
5. You are mistaken. Prayer is of

four types: Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, and Supplication, conveniently remembered by the acronym ACTS. Notice that Supplication comes last in the list.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 07:56 PM
Response to Reply #5
28. I like that.
I hadn't heard that one before. It makes a lot of sense to me.
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dmallind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:19 AM
Response to Reply #5
33. Understood, but why is supplication there at all?
Didn't Jesus himself say God knows what you want and need (and of course if we accept an omniscient god he would have to by definition). So what purpose do prayers asking for God's assistance serve, even those which are altruistic and asking on behalf of others? Why would a believer in such a god feel able to ask for anything?

I'm not a believer, but I can easily see the purpose, from both divine and human POV's as much as I'm able, for the ACT parts. After all God presumably also knows you adore himand are contrite and thankful as well, but he also knows that your mind is not so perfect as his, and therefore doubtless sees the benefit to you in the ritual stressing of those things to him to make sure you keep focused on your faith.

But isn't asking God for anything just a "chill - I got this" Obama t shirt infinitely multiplied in scope? Aren't supplicants merely concern trolls to a truly flawless administration?
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amdezurik Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:04 PM
Response to Original message
7. what it really is (or seems to be)
is a way to replace what the very primitive parts of our brains long for, instincts. So we fill that void with rituals to satisfy the "sppoky" reptile brains. the same reason we worshiped volcanos and rainclouds and the sun. A need is felt and with some people met with these meaningless rituals.
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 06:58 PM
Response to Original message
9. But this is only your point of view from your God Concept
If one has a different God concept, the idea of praying may make more sense.

For example, if one's concept of God is of energy, they could feel that thoughts could direct this energy in a particular way--and so prayer is effective.

If one's concept of God is that It is a part of one's own being, then prayer is directing the energy of one's own being towards one's purpose.

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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:13 PM
Response to Reply #9
14. If your concept is of a God
eagerly seeking loving relationship, then it's just a part of that ongoing relationship.
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Speck Tater Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:56 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. I find it hard to grasp the concept that
a perfect being would be so needy as to "eagerly seek loving relationships". That sounds like a human who puts personal ads on Craig's list.

That's the big problem I have the most version of God; people make Him out to be way too human. Angry, vengeful, needy, selfish, (thou shalt have no other gods before me, OR ELSE!) ...

It seems to me that some mere humans like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, The Buddha, and The Dalai Lama are more god-like than most people's idea of what God is like; loving, tolerant, forgiving, non-violent, ...

If any human king acted the way God is reported to have acted in the Old Testament, we would condemn him. Shouldn't we expect a higher standard than that from God?

And I still have a hard time taking seriously a God that says I can own Canadians as slaves (Lev. 25:44). The Canadians I know are nice folks, and I don't think capturing them as slaves is the kind of thing a real God would condone. Even most mere humans can see that that is just plain wrong.



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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 07:55 AM
Response to Reply #15
21. It helps to keep in mind that the picture you reference
of God there is one created by men - and most definitely therefore a reflection of the men who created that picture!

I think as time goes by we see fewer representations of God as authoritarian king and scary guy and more as loving parent. All of the description handed down is seen through a human filter, after all. We're only capable of describing something to the extent we can understand it ourselves. Personally, I do expect a higher standard in many respects - I don't experience a God of vengeance and cruelty, but one of enduring love and patience.

Which circles me back to that personal one on one relationship afforded by prayer.
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 09:47 AM
Response to Reply #21
23. Your concept is like the Sufi concept
of God as The Beloved. Sufis say that if you take one step towards God, God runs 10 steps towards you. But the idea is not of a needy God, but rather a God rediscovering God, for the Sufi concept is that there is nothing BUT God. In the beginning there was God--but God could not experience God unless God created everything. And part of the game is that those bits of God are not always aware of the connection. I believe it is similar to the Hindu concept of Brahmin found in the Upanishads. In both cases, the underlying feeling is one of joy and of love. In my personal experience, that has, indeed, been the case.
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 02:17 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. Yes, not out of need
but out of great love.

I like hearing your ideas - very lovely!
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ayeshahaqqiqa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 09:42 AM
Response to Reply #14
22. Yes!
the neat thing about looking at God concepts is that there are so many of them--and what works for you is what works for you!
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 02:15 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. God is big enough for all of our differing concepts, I think! nt
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JerseygirlCT Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 09:11 PM
Response to Original message
13. Conversation
meditation, supplication, thanks - sometimes all at once.

It's not about a list of wants, it's more about a relationship.
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rug Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 10:04 PM
Response to Original message
16. When we pray to God we must be seeking nothing - nothing. - Saint Francis of Assisi
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stopbush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-05-08 11:37 PM
Response to Original message
17. It's talking to yourself, plain and simple.
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elshiva Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 12:31 AM
Response to Reply #17
18. Yes, indeed.
:thumbsup:
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 01:16 AM
Response to Original message
19. Prayer is one of many methods to delay a meal.
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
26. Prayer
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Dec-06-08 07:55 PM
Response to Original message
27. Hmm. Your definition of prayer and mine are drastically different.
I agree with points a, b, and c, but I think prayer is more than telling God what to do or begging for stuff. For me, prayer is about centering my mind in my heart and pouring out my frustrations, anger, sadness, hope, joy, everything. Sure, I pray that He'll help me (especially during this divorce), but more than that, I pray for peace in my heart and for guidance. I've found repetitive prayer (the Jesus Prayer and the Trisagion are my favorites) to be more centering and calming than most anything else I've tried.
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Sophree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 10:39 PM
Response to Reply #27
31. For me, too.
I'm certainly guilty of "foxhole" prayers and self-centered prayers, but I also try to pray that God would direct my steps, guide me in the right direction, help me to forgive (one of the most difficult things to do- in certain cases, something I could not do without His help).

One thing that God always seems to answer "Yes" to is when I pray for peace in my heart- I can't remember a time when this did not happen. Experiencing the peace of God is like nothing else and impossible to describe, unless you've also experienced it.

Otherwise, I try to pray for other people, for unselfish things. If there is something that I am praying for that might seem to be a "request" I try to remember to say "if it is Your will" or in any case "Thy will be done."

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Duppers Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 05:15 PM
Response to Original message
29. I prefer the one in DeSwiss' sig line
"Prayer is just a way of telling god that his divine plan for
you is flawed -- and shockingly stingy"

If god is all powerful and all knowing, then this explanation logically follows,
as if logic means anything to some people.
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 05:57 PM
Response to Reply #29
30. It only logically follows for one of the definitions of prayer.
Supplication, asking for something or for something to change, meets that definition, but the other styles/kinds of prayer wouldn't.
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Sophree Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-07-08 10:49 PM
Response to Original message
32. I just finished Frank Schaeffer's book
"Crazy for God" and he describes some prayer in his fundamentalist upbringing in much the same way. But that's not how all prayer is, or at least, it's not what it should be.

For me, it's a way of centering myself, seeking guidance, seeking a deeper relationship with God. Running away from God's will, or ignoring it, only makes life more difficult. I believe everything will turn out the way God has planned, but the longer one runs away from His plan for us, the more difficult and tumultuous life will be. So, I seek. I'm imperfect. I'm not always going to understand. I'm a selfish human being and will fall short. But I get up, I go on, I continue seeking. And I know that I am greatly loved.
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Marrah_G Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 09:38 AM
Response to Original message
34. I don't believe in A, B or C
But I always thought prayer was just some religions way of "talking to God"
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onager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 02:10 AM
Response to Original message
35. Talking to Godot
Most practitioners of the above religions engage in some form of communication with their chosen deity, commonly known as 'prayer'.

Prayer takes many forms, from loud verbal masturbation in public (see also: Mosques, daily Mass) to quiet internal contemplation (see: Om).

A few claim that their deity answers back (notably Jesus Jim, T Blair and George W Bush).

Remember that's literally, like telling them to do stuff...like invade Iraq. Steer clear of these types and hope they don't get into power...ooops!


ARmy Rumour SErvice (ARRSE)

http://www.arrse.co.uk/wiki/God
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knitter4democracy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Dec-09-08 02:28 PM
Response to Reply #35
36. "Shall we go?" "Yes, let's."
Curtain.

One of my favorite plays.
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