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Can you gain faith by praying?

Discussion in 'Abrahamic Religions DIR' started by Lorgar-Aurelian, Mar 21, 2017.

  1. Lorgar-Aurelian

    Lorgar-Aurelian Active Member

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    What I mean is could someone like me who doesn't believe in any sort of supernatural entity whether it be a ghost or God gain faith by praying? How exactly would that work?
     
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  2. peter22

    peter22 Member

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    Who would you pray to, and how? You really need some conception of God before you can pray.
     
  3. Windwalker

    Windwalker Integralist
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    I love this question! Honestly, I do believe so. The how exactly it might work is a little complex. Don't expect magic answers. ;) Here's how...

    If you first began with a sincere desire to reach beyond yourself, and spoke to God as the object of that reaching beyond yourself, it would open you to a part of yourself you may not be familiar with as an active agent of self-transformation.

    Symbolically, to "pray" is firstly a form of guided meditation. You are shifting your focus to a visualization, and one functioning archetypally. To pray, is to generate a certain projection of your highest, and deepest levels of your psyche. Through the ritual, and the symbolic focus, you open yourself to something your busy active mind buzzing around all day obscures to you. Any form of meditation will begin to open you to this, but to hold a symbol in front of you activates that "reaching" towards transcendence with you. That "reaching" is actually what faith is (as oppose to the BS about beliefs).

    There's this great quote that fits in here I'd like to see if it isn't something that you might not grok...

    "But this is not God as an ontological other, set apart from the cosmos, from humans, and from creation at large. Rather, it is God as an archetypal summit of one's own Consciousness. John Blofeld quotes Edward Conze on the Vajrayana Buddhist viewpoint: " 'It is the emptiness of everything which allows the identification to take place - the emptiness [which means "transcendental openness" or "nonobstruction"] which is in us coming together with the emptiness which is the deity. By visualizing that identification 'we actually do become the deity. The subject is identified with the object of faith. The worship, the worshiper, and the worshiped, those three are not separate' ". At its peak, the soul becomes one, literally one, with the deity-form, with the dhyani-buddha, with (choose whatever term one prefers) God. One dissolves into Deity, as Deity - that Deity which, from the beginning, has been one's own Self or highest Archetype."


    ~Ken Wilber, Eye to Eye, pg. 85​
     
  4. Kemosloby

    Kemosloby Well-Known Member
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    If you pray and your prayers are answered or "rewarded" wouldn't you gain faith?

    Matt 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
     
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  5. George-ananda

    George-ananda Advaita Vedanta and Spiritualist and Pantheist
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    I think there are people more psychically constituted and some can truly feel spirit in prayer and meditation. Others, not so much.
     
  6. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    I'm sure each of us is unique and we all have varied experiences...

    But I would say that regular prayer for believers does provide added strength and continuing affirmations of faith in the face of say periods when you may feel depressed, isolated or maybe weakened and all of us pass through these kinds of periods from time to time.

    Prayers also direct our energies to resolve problems all of us face in life...such as illnesses of loved ones.. and those people who receive the prayers can feel the loving support of their community.

    The prayers themselves I believe have efficacy and are not mere words.. The prayers we use have been revealed prayers by Baha'u'llah, the Bab and Abdul-Baha.

    If you'd like to sample what I'm referring to see the following:

    Bahá’í Prayers

    The prayers are on a variety of topics.

    Finally for anyone willing to perform an experiment... let me suggest they begin a day with a prayer on arising... there's also a noonday prayer we Baha'is recite (follow the directions in the format of the prayer).. and close the day with a prayer on retiring. Recite these prayers over say a week and see if the affirmations in the prayers have an effect. Report back in a week and share your observations!
     
  7. Akivah

    Akivah Well-Known Member

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    The exact path differs for each individual. For me personally, I abandoned my belief in G-d when I was young. I got along just fine without believing in a higher power. Then, I had a series of experiences that convinced me that G-d was real. Those experiences sparked my return to belief.
     
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  8. Musing Bassist

    Musing Bassist Aesthetic Traditionalist

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    Sure, keep knocking on the door and eventually you may get an answer.

    Whether or not you'll be receptive to that answer is another question.
     
  9. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
    Premium Member It's My Birthday!

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    I do not believe that's true, especially with prayers of gratitude.
     
  10. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
    Premium Member It's My Birthday!

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    A couple of questions:
    • What do you mean by prayer, and what kind of prayer (e.g., petition, praise, thanksgiving) are you considering?
    • Why would you hold "attaining faith" to be a commendable goal?

    So let me suggest a substitute question to yours. Micah 6:8 (NSRV) reads:

    He has told you, O mortal, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?​

    Can prayer help align a person with this model irrespective of the person's belief in the supernatural? I suspect yes.
     
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  11. pcarl

    pcarl Well-Known Member

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    Faith is not 'gained', its a free gift. Many believe it is God who initiates our prayer.
     
  12. danieldemol

    danieldemol Well-Known Member
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    If God wills, then it (prayer) can give faith
     
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  13. Dantedeven

    Dantedeven Member

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    But why would you want to gain faith with something that you don't believe in? +_____+
     
  14. 74x12

    74x12 Well-Known Member

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    In Mark 9 we see that a father was worried about his son who was being attacked by a demon. However he had a hard time believing that the child could be delivered. So he pray "help you mine unbelief" ... That seemed to work because Jesus cast the demon out. In another place we find that Jesus could not do many works because of the people's unbelief. (Matthew 13:58) So this man's prayer "help you mine unbelief" did apparently work. Yes you can pray such a prayer. Better yet, you can have someone else pray for you who you know has faith. (James 5:16) Anyway, the point is just praying in the first place shows you have a microscopic amount of faith. Or just asking this question in the first place means you have a tiny particle of faith in my opinion.

    Mark 9:24 King James Version (KJV)
    24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
     
  15. arthra

    arthra Baha'i

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    I was just thinking you could pray and over time discover for yourself whether you could "gain faith."

    I'll post a resource for you and you could try some...

    Bahá’í Prayers

    I'd suggest starting out with a theme or concern you might have and then read or recite the prayer by yourself in a quiet place or time of day you are less likely to be interrupted. If you are concerned about some one who is ill you could for instance choose a "healing prayer" and so on.
     
    #15 arthra, Jun 18, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
  16. AdamRaja

    AdamRaja Islamic Philosopher

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    Many confuse what prayer actually is.
    Muhammad (pbuh) said an hour of meditation is greater than 70 years of prayer.
    Prayer is about giving thanks and showing how grateful you are to exist as is.. not some genie in a bottle effect.

    So, that being said... praying wouldn't increase faith because you wouldn't be thanking a God you didn't believe in. Right?
    God is such a bearded guy in the sky term.. real God knowing is humbling and eye opening. Only from knowing that will prayer increase faith.
     
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