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Featured The Purpose of Prayer

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by SalixIncendium, May 19, 2019.

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  1. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि
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    It was suggested in another thread by one of our Aussie members that Americans use prayer like a magic wand to cure ills, and suggested that prayer doesn't work that way.

    What is the purpose of prayer for you? I understand that many use it as a means of worship and reverence, but does prayer work to intervene in matter such as illness, finance, etc? Does a petition to God actually make Him reconsider the path He has laid out for an individual? Or does it work as more of a placebo affect for the person one is praying for?

    What are your thoughts on the purpose of prayer?
     
  2. Conscious thoughts

    Conscious thoughts Veteran Member

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    First of all personally i do not use prayer in the cultivation of dhamma. But the way i understand the useage of prayer is that it is meant as a way of calming the mind (similar to meditation).
    I might be wrong, but i do not think prayer is meant for asking for healing or gaining benefit from a God or other deities.
    So prayer is to calm the mind, so it is more easy take away the fogg because of lack of wisdom
     
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  3. whirlingmerc

    whirlingmerc Well-Known Member

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    The purpose of prayer is that God is glorified in man's dependence and it's a reminder to look to him

    Prayer done 'in his name' 'in His interest' 'for His glory' is promised to be answered. There is no promise every wish we have will unless they align 'delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart' !

    The Lord's prayer, Jesus prayer example for us, in Swahili was the theme song of Civilization IV and a version is here

    Father ours, Father ours. In heaven



    The cry is deliver us from evil!



    The most majestic part is 'they kingdom come! They will be done!
     
    #3 whirlingmerc, May 19, 2019
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  4. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि
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    How does one determine what is "'in his name' 'in His interest' 'for His glory'?" If one is ill, wouldn't it stand to reason that the illness is "'in his name' 'in His interest' 'for His glory'?" If so, wouldn't a prayer for healing be rather pointless?
     
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  5. Quintessence

    Quintessence Tale Weaver
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    I don't use the term "prayer" in my tradition in part because it's too polysemic to communicate things well. But if we take "prayer" to simply mean "conversing with the gods" there's nothing about that which suggests what that communication entails (whether it's the method of communication or what is communicated). Being part of a religious tradition that already practices spellcraft, there really isn't any need to solely rely on invoking the gods for such things as there might be in traditions where spellcraft is considered taboo. That said, the line between spellcraft and what is called prayer is non-existent to blurred in my tradition in ways it might not be for others.

    So what I would say to the person who suggests "prayer doesn't work that way" is that "prayer means different things and functions in different ways across culture, so yes... yes it does work that way. Just not in your culture."
     
  6. EtuMalku

    EtuMalku MERCURÆN LUCIFERIAN

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    IMO . . .
    Prayer is a "lost" magiqal art. It has become rote recitations or simple wish-making. Prayer originally was a process of concentrated visualization, combined with emotional and mental energy, properly grounded to the physical through proper vocalization. The spoken Word became in essence praying, this was first understood by the ancient Egyptians in the way of Affirmations and made manifest in (Heka) vibrational magic. Efforts were made to align sound with the principles of cosmic order (natural ordering of the universe) which perhaps could be seen as a LOGOS, the dialog with that part of your Self that has the ability to create any condition you need or desire.

    The invocation within a prayer unites our meditative state of consciousness with the power of the Word and our innate force of Will. The mechanism behind this is the same mechanism found in incantations. The word incantation comes from the Latin root "inner" and "sing". Originally someone qualified to perform the prayer/incantation was needed, average people of the community did not believe they possessed such a magical link as did their shaman, priest, or sorcerer.

    The prayer works the same way that Haitian Vodou does, through the power of suggestion which can be explained more scientifically through neuroplasticity. With any incantation one is either seeking to create change within or to unveil some hidden truths also from within. The priest or shaman is the one who makes some change in objective reality by delivering the prayer or incantation. This is called an illocutionary force.
     
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  7. lukethethird

    lukethethird Well-Known Member

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    The US doesn't have universal health care so they are left with a prayer.
     
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  8. Vee

    Vee Well-Known Member
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    Prayer is a way of communicating with God, but it shouldn't be seen as a tool or a shortcut for us to get something we want.
    Praying is comforting and encouraging. I find it very beneficial from an emotional point of you, but I know that if I pray for things like for example wining the lottery or making someone fall in love with me, it's not going to happen because that's not what it's for. In James 4:3 we read that "When you do ask, you do not receive because you are asking for a wrong purpose, so that you may spend it on your fleshly desires." While there is nothing wrong in having personal desires and goals, praying to obtain them doesn't necessarily mean we'll get what we want when we want it. If it happened that way we would all be spoiled brats.
    However, I sincerely believe that if we pray to God in faith, he will generously give us the wisdom we need to cope with the problems of life (James 1:5-8). Also, sometimes we come across situations when no human help is available or when the help humans offer is not sufficient for our needs. When those moments happen if feels really great to be able to turn to God.
     
  9. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    I am an atheist Hindu. I respect my tradition. I do not believe in magic or Gods, but prayer is useful for many people psychologically, sort of helping hand.
     
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  10. Salvador

    Salvador RF's Swedenborgian

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    The purpose of intercessory prayer is for the benefit of the person giving the prayer; this making the deliverer of intercessory prayer feel better about himself/herself for being thoughtful and concerned about whom he/she is praying. A scientific study has shown there is no placebo effect for the receiver of intercessory prayer.

    My friend larry has butt cancer.Please pray for him.

    "... Intercessory prayer is ineffective; this according to a scientific study where researchers monitored 1,802 patients at 6 hospitals who received coronary bypass surgery, in which doctors rerouted circulation around a clogged artery or vein.
    The patients in this study were placed into 3 study control groups; 2 of these groups were prayed for; the third was not. The first of the 2 groups, who were receiving intercessory prayer, were patients told they were receiving prayers; the 2nd of the 2 groups, receiving intercessory prayers, were told they might or might not receive prayers.
    The patients received intercessory prayers from members of 3 congregations — Silent Unity, a prayer ministry near Kansas City, Mo, St. Paul’s Monastery in St. Paul, and the Community of Teresian Carmelites in Worcester, Mass.; those delivering the prayers used the patients' first names and the first initials of their last names.
    The congregations were allowed to pray in their own ways, but only if their prayers included the phrase, "for a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications."
    Analyzing complications in the 30 days after the operations, the researchers concluded there were no statistically significant differences in the medical recovery outcomes between those who received intercessory prayer and those who didn't."

    Reference:
    Am Heart J. 2006 Apr;151(4):934-42.
    American Heart Journal 151, no. 4 (2006): 934-42. 2)

    Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: a multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certainty of receiving intercessory prayer.
    Benson H1, Dusek JA, Sherwood JB, Lam P, Bethea CF, Carpenter W, Levitsky S, Hill PC, Clem DW Jr, Jain MK, Drumel D, Kopecky SL, Mueller PS, Marek D, Rollins S, Hibberd PL.

    Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in cardiac bypass patients: a
    multicenter randomized trial of uncertainty and certai... - PubMed - NCBI
     
    #10 Salvador, May 19, 2019
    Last edited: May 19, 2019
  11. Salvador

    Salvador RF's Swedenborgian

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    It's magic you know...never believe it's not so.

     
  12. Enoch07

    Enoch07 It's all a sick freaking joke.
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    Prayer is between God and I.

    None of anyone else business.

    It's not for asking for stuff though, or outcomes.
     
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  13. sugnim

    sugnim Member

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    For me, prayer is a meditation or special thought process that can lead to new insights on what is right and good. Petitionary prayer can only work if you carry it out. For example, you pray for the hungry and then you go feed them. You pray for the sick, and then you go comfort them. Prayer isn't a magic wand, and there isn't a waiter-god waiting to take our order and bring us what we ask for. We might consider the petitionary prayer for safety from a severely abused child or a prisoner of war. Many such people pray, but are never rescued; some even die. This shows that petitionary prayer does not work as a way to get assistance from some god.

    Prayer is for us. It is not for any god. If there is a personified spirit that can be called God, then that god does not need our prayers. We need them as a way to feel spiritual, as a way to develop spiritual insight, and as motivation to bring a positive change to our world.
     
  14. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    As Jim Morrison said, prayer is about petitioning the lord
     
  15. SalixIncendium

    SalixIncendium अहम् ब्रह्मास्मि
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    “You CANNOT petition the Lord with prayer!” - The Soft Parade
     
  16. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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    Indeed
     
  17. Altfish

    Altfish Veteran Member

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  18. Brickjectivity

    Brickjectivity Veteran Member
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    One prayer that is very important in Christian canon is the prayer of adoption where the inmost being prays without words for transformation. This is the ache to be a good person which is like a hunger. If you're a thief you wish you weren't a thief etc.

    Once upon a time prayer was communication with gods. In Judaism it became something else. The scriptures used the word but removed it from the pagan meaning. The same passed into Christianity but the concept of pagan prayer revived. We now have many kinds of prayer. We have a set of prayers that are Jewish in origin, and we have pagan style prayers, too. We have meditations that are called prayers, and we have laments that are prayers. We have prayers of self transformation, prayers of visualization like what St. Ignatius uses, prayers for healing, prayers for forgiveness and just all kinds of prayers. Meditations are usually called prayers. Christians may pray to each other for forgiveness, so the meaning of the word is very diverse.
     
  19. Gandalf

    Gandalf He Who Toots His Horn

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    I prayer more devoutly than any Christian or Muslim but I do not think God is attentive to our prayers and willing to change the course of history for us. I pray because it is good for my soul and makes me ponder whom God is.

    But I must make a clear distinction between prayer and worship. Worship is done for the sake of the deity, that is something I do often. Having studied many religions I must agree with Islam and its selfless worship of Allah. If one believes in the supremacy of god I think it's best to worship your Lord with utmost respect and give to that God what is his.

    Many deists like Herbert of Canterbury were strong advocates of the mysteries of prayer
     
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  20. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    I don't have much of an opinion on prayer.

    I know when I was a Christian, it was a way for feeling better in some capacity talking to a god that I believed in.

    Now at present, it's more akin with having a conversation with myself. Along the lines with one of the talks that Alan Watts put out titled, 'Having a 'conversation with myself'.

    It's more insight than it is prayer in practical terms.
     
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