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Featured The Power of Prayer

Discussion in 'Religious Debates' started by Nakosis, Oct 23, 2019.

  1. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    [​IMG]

    Actually the psychological power of prayer...

    Prayer Increases Self-Control
    Prayer Regulates Emotions
    Prayer Reduces Anxiety and Depression
    Prayer Promotes a Calm Mind

    The Psychological Power of Prayer | Mind & Spirit

    Petition prayer seems nonsensical wrt a omniscient/omnipotent deity.

    However believers must get something out of it, else they wouldn't keep doing it.

    I don't know if we should be knocking down prayer so much if there is a real psychological benefit to it. Prayer, the purpose of prayer is to support the mental health of the believer if nothing else.
     
  2. Guitar's Cry

    Guitar's Cry Verisimilitudinous

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    Praying is a good way to focus the mind and give voice to whatever is on it.
     
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  3. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Do you pray to an entity/deity of some kind when you pray?
    I'd think without a deity/entity it'd be more like meditation. Am I wrong?
     
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  4. sun rise

    sun rise "Let there be peace and love among all"
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    Prayer is such a broad subject that it can be hard to look at it. Even a superficial google search found some sites that say there are 4 kinds of prayer. But one site says there are 7 kinds.

    And prayer like many other activities has an effect on brain waves that can be measured. Chanting mantras is one form of prayer that has been measured. And one literature reference I found quickly is Effect of Muslim Prayer (Salat) on α Electroencephalography and Its Relationship with Autonomic Nervous System Activity
     
  5. Valjean

    Valjean Veteran Member
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    If prayer is just a psychotherapeutic modality I wish the religious would stop insisting that it has actual magical powers and that one has to do it to be considered moral.
     
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  6. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    Why on Earth would we accept what seems to be marketing material from a company selling "spirituality"-related services as a reliae source of information about what they're trying to sell?

    The proof of the puddong is in the eating. If prayer improves mental heth, then we ought to see an overall difference in the average mental health of people who pray versus people who don't. Do we?
     
    #6 9-10ths_Penguin, Oct 23, 2019
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  7. KenS

    KenS Well-Known Member

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    YUP!! :D
     
  8. Deeje

    Deeje Avid Bible Student
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    I wondered about that too once, but studying the Bible answered that one for me....

    Humans have a tendency to say "I can do it myself" or "I want to do it my way" so God provided prayer as a gauge to see how much you rely on him, as opposed to relying on ourselves. This is because we were designed originally to be ruled by him, but it was never going to be forced. We were to look to our Maker for his advice on how to proceed with any decisions we had to make. If you follow God's advice rather then relying on your own wisdom, you can save yourself a lot of disappointment and heartache. He already knows what we need, but we don't.....the aftermath of making a bad choice can affect us for the rest of our lives.

    I don't think there is a feeling quite like having a prayer answered in a way that you never thought of. If you know God and have a close and personal relationship with him, prayer is as natural as talking to your best friend.
    When you ask advice, he points you to his word...and there it is. There is no problem that cannot be dealt with by implementing his laws and principles. The benefits are obvious.

    Prayer supports spiritual health, which in turn supports both mental and physical health. It doesn't mean that you are immune to these problems, but you are often in a better position to deal with them if your faith is strong. You build faith like you build a house. You start with a firm foundation and then, one brick at a time, the structure takes shape until it becomes solid enough to withstand the most powerful storm.
    You should never knock until you've tried it.
     
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  9. Guitar's Cry

    Guitar's Cry Verisimilitudinous

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    When I pray, it isn't dissimilar to a meditation. It is more about sending my thoughts out to the greater Universe.

    I often give offerings, and these are given to various things that influence my life as a symbol of gratitude, like "for those that have given their life so I may eat."
     
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  10. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    That would mean that if we looked at a population of people and corrected for all other factors, we would see a correlation between prayer and medical outcomes.

    Do we see this?
     
  11. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Compassion, understanding, and tolerance.
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    The proof of the pudding is in the eating. If prayer improves mental health, then we ought to see an overall difference in the average mental health of people who pray versus people who don't. Do we? (suitably corrected spelling-wise)

    Can you prove it isn't just the social aspects though - since it applies to religious beliefs too? And one could still benefit from erroneous beliefs if they fulfilled what one expects out of life.
     
  12. KenS

    KenS Well-Known Member

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    All I have to do :D is compare myself with Subduction Zone. As an atheist, he doesn't pray but his posts are always complaining and demeaning.

    Whereas I don't. I just pray. :D

    Well, all I know is that Rob, with his first wife that died with an inoperable brain tumor, found out that his second wife had a death sentence of months with another inoperable brain tumor.

    However, in this case, he was armed and dangerous with effectual prayer. The brain tumor disappeared and the doctors don't know why.

    He is happier! Certainly the mental health of the results helped both of them. And certainly it wasn't that way with the first wife.
     
  13. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    That's the trick: you'd need to isolate the effects of prayer specifically.

    A lot of studies into the health effects of religious adherence also have problems with selection bias. For instance, the studies that correlate weekly religious service attendance with better health outcomes may just be telling us that people who are healthy enough to get out of the house once a week are generally healthier than people who are bedridden.

    Can they? I'm not sure of that.
     
  14. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Compassion, understanding, and tolerance.
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    A bit of anecdotal evidence seems to go a long way - and not something one can argue against all too often. But it is not generally something that will persuade me to accept something or change my view, especially if it tends to disrupt a reasonably coherent view of reality. Not that it might not do so one day, but I'm not expecting much in that line.
     
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  15. Mock Turtle

    Mock Turtle Compassion, understanding, and tolerance.
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    The latter, I was thinking more about those so indoctrinated who never come across conflicting views - if there are such in our globalised world - and who perhaps have as good a life as they would want. Plenty of so-called primitive societies still exist with perhaps quite erroneous beliefs.
     
  16. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Good question,

    Researchers looked at the data of 1,714 volunteers who participated in the most recent Baylor Religion Survey. They focused on general anxiety, social anxiety, obsession and compulsion. Their study, entitled “Prayer, Attachment to God, and Symptoms of Anxiety-Related Disorders among U.S. Adults,” is published in the journal Sociology of Religion.

    For many people, God is a source of comfort and strength, says researcher Matt Bradshaw, Ph.D; and through prayer, they enter into an intimate relationship with Him and begin to feel a secure attachment. When this is the case, prayer offers emotional comfort, resulting in fewer symptoms of anxiety disorders.
    New Study Examines the Effects of Prayer On Mental Health


    A 2009 studyTrusted Source by Koenig and colleagues found that six weekly in-person Christian prayer sessions with patients at a primary care office lowered their depression and anxiety symptoms and increased their optimism.
    Prayer and Health Outcomes

    Seems to depend of the idea/concept of God one is praying too as well.

    "If people have a loving, kind perception of God," and feel God is supportive, they seem to experience benefits, said Kenneth Pargament, a professor of psychology and an expert on religion and health at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. But "we know that there's a darker side to spirituality," Pargament said. "If you tend to see God as punitive, threatening or unreliable, then that's not very helpful" to your health, he said.
    God Help Us? How Religion is Good (And Bad) For Mental Health
     
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  17. Jainarayan

    Jainarayan ॐ नमो भगवते वासुदेवाय
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    My father largely knew (barring human limitations of not being omniscient) when I needed the car. But he didn’t just hand me the keys, I still had to ask for them. I think it’s the same with prayers to God. And there are the times that we’re not going to get what we want because God (or my human father) knew it’s not in my best interest. If we’re perceptive enough we’ll discover this in the course of our prayers.
     
  18. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Riboflavin
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    Why did you stop the quote there? The next paragraph is relevant:

    Some people, however, have formed avoidant or insecure attachments to God, explains Bradshaw. This means that they do not necessarily believe that God is there for them. Prayer starts to feel like an unsuccessful attempt at having a close relationship with God. Feelings of rejection or “unanswered” prayers may lead to severe symptoms of anxiety-related disorders, he says.

    Also, these sort of study summaries always make me wonder what the control was: nothing? Self-reflection? Secular meditation?

    Again: what's the control? Is the effect from the prayer, the self-reflection that goes along with the prayer, the social interaction before and after the actual prayer, or placebo effect from having an extra "treatment?"

    Also, when I click through to the study abstract, I see that the subjects were 95% women. This doesn't necessarily invalidate the study, but it does make me wonder if there's some sort of selection bias involved.

    Right. So what's the net effect?
     
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  19. Nakosis

    Nakosis crystal soldier
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    Haven't found a study with correlation between a believer and atheist. There's no control group of atheist who pray.

    Among believers the correlation depends on the concept of God believed in. Where one views God as loving nurturing the benefits are positive. Where one see God as vengeful/wrathful it becomes negative.
     
  20. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    FWIW, I never heard my religious world make such a claim.
     
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