On Prayer

August 30, 2013

 A Theological/Bible Related Commentary

Jesus_Prayer_Hands

 

Have you ever asked yourself why Christians feel the need to pray?

The faithful will tell you that they pray for a wide variety of reasons. They may pray to their God to praise Him for being so loving and wonderful, or merely to give “thanks” for the “blessings” He’s bestowed upon them. Some pray to confess their “sins” directly to God and thus make their remorse feel all that more sincere. Many pray to seek God’s Divine help or guidance in some matter. Many Christians even pray on the behalf of others. And many of the faithful pray to their God simply to “commune” with Him. Most Christians, however, pray in hope of receiving material goods of one form or another.

You may wonder how the faithful can come to praise God for being so loving and wonderful, or thank Him for “blessings” received when there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that God even exists. (This parallels, in a manner, Christians telling atheists that we “hate” God. Now how can anyone  be “mad” at or “hate” a God―or any other  imaginary creature for that matter―that we don’t even believe to be real? It is well-nigh impossible to do. Just try it sometime and see. Try truly  hating leprechauns, for example. Or try getting really, really angry at them. Can’t do it now, can you? But if you really can, well, you deserve genuine pity.

The brutal truth is that Christians are actually imagining  that they are communicating with deity. Equally brutal is the fact that they cannot possibly prove otherwise either.

Isn’t that  a mind-numbing realization we nonbelievers all have to accept!

On Group Prayer

Many non-Christians are troubled by the extent to which Christians will try and impose  Christian prayer on others. If it’s not in the public school classroom, it’s at graduation ceremonies, or during sporting activities and the like. And it is usually Christians using simple peer pressure to coerce others into participating even though genuine sincerity on the part of each participant may be entirely  lacking. Such group prayer ends up being nothing more than an “advertisement” for the Christian religion and a bold-faced attempt to indoctrinate non-Christians into the Christian faith.

Yet Jesus―purported to be none other than God in the flesh himself―absolutely opposed staged prayer and the like in his famed “Sermon on the Mount”:

““Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret  will reward you.

And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others” (Matthew 6:1, 6, and 5, in that order; NIV; emphasis mine)

As for what prayer truly  accomplishes―other than fulfill some psychological or emotional need on the part of the worshiper―Christians are at a loss to prove.

And has anyone ever defined what group prayer is supposed to achieve that individual, personal prayer does not?

God Anticipates Your Needs

But there’s more: Jesus goes on further in the Sermon on the Mount to declare that “Your Father knows what you need [even] before you ask him ,” prayer-wise! (Matthew 6:8; NIV)

Well, if an all-knowing God already  knows what you would feel the need to pray for beforehand, what is the need for prayer at all? If it is simply to make make-believe God “punch-happy” and pleased with the level of attention and begging He is receiving, what a hoot! Does it make imaginary God unhappy  to deny prayer requests too?

Havoc-Wreaking God and Misfortune

God gets the credit when things go well for the Christian; so much so that Christians feel themselves individually “blessed” by God in a positive way. But then why is not God given the blame when things go disastrously wrong by these very same worshipers―excepting natural disasters? God, instead, gets to remain utterly immune from reproach―regardless  of how horrific the disaster! Now that’s retarded in my view. It’s just plain goofy. Is it not?

Look at the number of Christians throughout man’s history that have actually been killed in church or during a religious service of one type or another; killed while praising, adoring, and thanking Almighty God in worship!!  Now what on earth did thankful prayer achieve for those  Christians?!

Francisco de Curico church

Where was Almighty God to “protect” not only His houses of worship, but too, those worshiping inside  them, from destruction?

* A recent event reported (here).

What a bizarre form of “gratitude” God Almighty chooses to display to the faithful!!

Was not going to worship and pray that deadly day utterly tragic, not only for the victims, but for their friends, family members, and fellow worshipers alike? Would not the act of protecting all worshipers from harm in places of worship provide a proof that God actually exists?

So what do the grieving survivors, friends, family members, and fellow worshipers do after church-related deaths? Why, they gather together and pray to make-believe God all the more  fervently! Now how bizarre is that!!  It was their own “loving” God calling the victims “home,” so we are told, by murdering them! So what is further prayer supposed to accomplish?

We all know of people of faith who have prayed to God to thank him  for the fact that their hellish existence isn’t even more  hellish. But where was God prior  to these individuals suffering such hellish conditions? How much praying and veneration is required before God does something, anything, to aid his suffering earthly “children”?

Concentration Camp Inmates

Your [Heavenly] Father knows what you need before you [even] ask him.”

(Jesus in Matthew 6:8)

starving_kids

starving-child-1

Child and Vulture

So what went wrong?

awful1

What? Starving children just not praying fervently enough for God’s taste these days?

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6 Responses to “On Prayer”

  1. ryan59479 said

    I never understood the idea of prayer. The first thing people say when a prayer goes unanswered or after a natural disaster is, “Well, it was God’s will…” God is all seeing, all knowing, all powerful, and created a master plan…so where does the prayer come in? What use is it being an omnipotent being if any schmuck can pray to change your plan?

    • Greywolf said

      The concept of prayer is ridiculous in my view. You have a God who is said to know what you need before you even pray. Why then, aren’t those needs met? Prayer is supposed to “move mountains” if the worshipper has the right amount of faith. But how much is “enough”? And why the need to beg though prayer if a God can plainly see starving children and the like with his own “eyes”? God that heartless, is he?

      Oh that’s right: Imaginary, make-believe Gods don’t give a flying hoot about human beings or their suffering. (And note: A real God would! And He would do something right quick about it too.)

      But some people are just too brainwashed to accept reality. And they cling to their religion like it’s a life preserver in a North Atlantic Sea storm!

      • % said

        up your bum

      • Greywolf said

        My, sounds like a “Christian” who could offer absolutely *nothing* in the way of reasoned rebuttal.

        After prayer and “divine guidance,” *that* is the best you could come up with?

        Think chanting, along with prayer, would have seen you come up with a better defense of prayer?

  2. Prayer, how otherwise well meaning people can do absolutely nothing about a situation, and still feel smug about it.

    Don’t recall where I heard that (or its approximation) but it sure stuck with me.

    And then when nothing happens to improve said situation, “It must be dog’s plan” The more I see from these people, the more I think their brains are broken.

    I think though, the answer to “why prayer?” I believe it is by design prostrating yourself before you deity, begging for forgiveness, or on the other hand showing how great you must be to humble thyself asking for favors on someone else’s behalf. The whole thing is about reinforcing humbleness, so thou dost not become too high and mighty…If you aren’t groveling before your deity, and dropping coin in the plate, you aren’t a good (insert religion here)
    Indeed, the whole thing reeks of one upmanship after a while. If you have ever been in a church, you know what I mean…

    • Greywolf said

      This is where prayer and God’s “Divine Plan” for man collide: If “God” has this so-called Divine Plan that He formulated prior to even Adam and Eve, then no amount of prayer is about to change it. Prayer is therefore futile.

      Worse for Christians is Matthew 6:8 where God already knows your prayer needs even before you pray. Well, if that’s the case, what is the point in praying–except to grovel and beg for something that God determined long ago you would not receive. Public prayer, as you point out, is all too often performed strictly for “show.”

      What does group prayer achieve other than provide “theater,” group/gang unity, and the psychological and emotional comfort I mentioned in my post? I would venture to say, absolutely nothing.

      It reminds me of those funerals where you see veritable Academy-Award winning displays of acting. It’s strictly to display devout piety; in other words, for “show.”

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