The Power of Prayer

Discussion in 'Religion' started by blondie0420, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. blondie0420

    blondie0420 Locks of Gold

    Do you believe in the power of prayer? Do you believe that praying will help you out of a bad situation?

    Medical research has actually been done on the subject. Results showed higher survival rates for people with cancer when they prayed and had others pray for them as opposed to those who did not pray.

    Personally, I believe that prayer has some power, but I don't believe it's going to get you everything you want. Praying to win the lottery so you don't have to work anymore, for instance, is fruitless. God isn't going to send the winning numbers your way unless it's something you need that's already part of His plan.

    I also believe that when we pray, we cannot ask for specifics. "God send me a new bike for my birthday and a pony for Christmas." Nope, not gonna happen. Generally when I pray, it's something along the lines of, "God, you know what I want and you know what I need. Help me to find the things I need at this time." (He knows what I want, but I'm not about to ask for it because I don't believe it's His will to give it to me.) God will throw you a bone every once in a while, but generally if we don't truly need something, His priority isn't going to be giving you that new Lexus you're salivating over.

    That said, I do also believe in the power of plain old positive thinking. Having the right attitude, envisioning yourself reaching your goals, and believing that you can achieve them all tend to be more conducive to success. In that light, I think prayer and positive thinking are very closely related. If you go into something thinking you're going to fail, you're probably going to fail. Prayer tends to give people hope and thus leads to more positive thinking which will hopefully lead to success.

    I think many people lose faith in the power of prayer because they ask for too many specifics and they ask for things they do not need. If God was going to grant every request for winning lottery numbers and fancy cars, having real faith in Him would lose signifigance. People would instead be faithful because they'd think it would just be an easy means to getting what they want without working for it. I don't believe God works like that. He gives you just what you need when you need it, and sometimes what people need is nothing more than a little bit of tough love. :shrug:

    Thoughts? Opinions? Do you guys even pray? Does it work?
    2 people like this.
  2. Bad Brains

    Bad Brains New Member

    Cancer patients probably just have a lot of faith that they will survive and would have a higher chance of surviving. A divine being answering a prayer is (in my opinion) ridiculous.

    Positive thinking is somewhat correlated to prayer so yes. in some ways it does work.
  3. rmish06

    rmish06 New Member

    Ya.. People pray and pray for specifics, or things they want but dont need, or something for their own desires.. Thats not what prayer is for. But theres no way you can do a medical study on prayer, just doesnt mix. If its part of God's overall plan, it will be given to you. IMO
  4. DiegoDraw

    DiegoDraw New Member

    It has the power of psychology going for it. If you think you're going to live, and you keep thinking that you have to fight it, rather than feel hopeless in the face of a terminal illness, you'll probably have a higher chance of surviving, just because you want to fight it. Prayer works in the same way people who are owners of pets tend to survive more often. It's all about the psychology of it.

    Being raised in a Christian family, I prayed a ton as a child. Prayed for specifics, prayed vaguely, whatever. None of it ever worked, and if..."miraculously"...It did work, it was purely coincidental. If you bullshit enough, some of it's gotta be true sometime.

    I also might direct you to "Why Won't God Heal Amputees?" I know you think that you need to have faith and "not ask for specifics," but that's addressed as well, and it's true that that seems to just be making up rules as you go. Why shouldn't I be able to ask for a bike and a pony for Christmas? Just because it doesn't work, and we know it doesn't work?

  5. homemadebubbler

    homemadebubbler Always bubblin'

    Not believing in god, I never really prAY.

    I think its just a placebo effect when cancer patients and the like pray. The power of the mind is very strong.
  6. Dark

    Dark Fool on the Hill

    I agree with most, the power of prayer is only the power of positive outlook. "God" isn't helping you, your own mind and positive attitude is doing that for you.

    Saying things like you cannot ask for specifics? Does that mean that if something good happens, you can call it the power of prayer because you did not ask for it specifically?
    If you pray for a cure for your cancer, and your cancer is cured it's called a miracle. But what about the millions that pray for a cure and don't get it? Isn't every man created equal? Why is "God" helping out some who pray, but not others who are praying for the same?

    I didn't know there were so many rules when it came to praying.
  7. DiegoDraw

    DiegoDraw New Member

    Exactly. It's post-analyzing that decides whether or not something is a "miracle." I've actually done my own experiments somewhat dealing with this, but moreso archaic predictions (such as those of Nostradamus and the ancient Mayans), and I've found always that if you post-analyze something, you can find pretty much anything you want, especially in large statistics. It's just a matter of which way you're looking at it.

    2 people like this.
  8. SpiralArchitect

    SpiralArchitect The Cosmic Chronic

    I believe in its power of illusion.

    I believe that only you can control your situations. You put yourself in most of them, some of them just happen. It's life.

    I do believe in the power of positive thought however, so I at least appreciate the power of such things.
  9. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    The power of prayer is psychological, not supernatural. Our thoughts, beliefs, and feelings greatly influence our physiology. If you believe something to be true, you will subconsciously marshall your resources to make it true.

    Too many prayers go unanswered for me to believe that when they are answered it's anything more than a form of useful self-hypnosis and/or random chance.
    2 people like this.
  10. mjharmless

    mjharmless Member

    I believe in prayer and like most I supose I pray a little more when things are not going well.
    It helps me to look at just how things really are as opposed to how bad I may be feeling at the time.
    I have to say that belief is a powerful thing and if you truly dont believe then your probably just talking to your self.
    I also dont pray for specifics but then again if I felt I needed something specific I have no problem asking for it. I just know that expecting an instant answer is not a realistic expectation.
    Having faith is somthing many people have a problem with if you cant see,smell or touch it how can you believe ?
    Without that belief doubt creeps in and negative thoughts can change your response and make a bad situation worse. I have non believing friends who think I believe in fairy tales and if in the end that should be true then I am glad I choose a positive one because the alternatives I have seen or heard about seem a little scary and I like having faith that things will get better.
  11. pkster8235

    pkster8235 Lazy Dancer

    Any time in the past when I have "talked" to "god" or "prayed" I have always, always felt better. I never thought I felt better because of god.
    People naturally feel better when they vocalize their concerns.. even if it's to no one, and I suppose it gives great comfort to believe that someone is listening. I believe that it's all psychological. Perhaps I am wrong and there really is a God listening to these prayers :shrug:.. but I doubt it.
  12. Buzzby

    Buzzby Buddhist Curmudgeon

    You've hit upon an important point. Some people will deny it, but everyone has to believe in something. That being the case, why not believe in something that enhances the quality of your life?

    If you "know" that the universe is just a circus of random chance, that death is the end, and that there's no spiritual dimension at all, you might think that you're a hardcore realist. When you get right down to it, that's just another belief system. It's just not a belief system that will make your life a world of fun. I used to think that way and I considered myself to be intellectually superior to people who "believed in fairy tales". I might have been unhappy, but at least I was "right". :rolleyes: (Werner Erhard, a California self-help guru, once said the being right was life's booby prize.)

    Now I believe in all kinds of things but I keep a mental reservation that beliefs and reality are not necessarily the same thing.
  13. Higher Logic

    Higher Logic Web Developar

    Name an amputee that has had a limb grow back because of prayer :) I win. But it's not god's will! :laugh:

    I won't deny that prayer makes you feel better though. Just look at people who meditate (which is basically what prayer is). Spending 20-30 minutes a day by yourself in complete solitude is a very wonderful thing. It'a actually amazing what you will experience after doing this for a while. Some would say the experience is, gasp, supernatural.
  14. mastachronic

    mastachronic New Member

    blondie, i think what your describing is more along the lines of karma.

    i cut my finger off and then reattached using electrical tape......i didnt pray for it, but other people have and it works just fine
  15. macphearsome

    macphearsome New Member

    I don't know that I agree with you, unless you are including the atheist view as a "belief".

    I think that you can replace the belief systems of a religious lifestyle with home-made traditions and activities, and lead a happy life. Sometimes I like to pretend that I'm in a movie or that there is a kind and loving god watching my actions. Maybe "pretend" is a better word than "believe?" I don't believe in a god but sometimes pretending that he exists gives me comfort. I don't believe I'm in a movie but sometimes I like to pretend, and that gives me entertainment and normalizes me.

    It has its dangers, but I don't think an atheist worldview is quite so bad as you imagine. I'm an atheist and I've carefully selected the comforting aspects of a religious lifestyle, and I lead a happy life.

    I believe in community spirit, I make my own traditions, I keep myself active with challenges and life-adventures (ie, spiritual journeys) and imagine myself living my life in a movie or a book (acting as though you are being watched).
  16. webeblzd

    webeblzd New Member

    [[Do you believe in the power of prayer? Do you believe that praying will help you out of a bad situation?]

    Other than coming to grips with your problem, prayer does nothing.
  17. spamtrap

    spamtrap Member

    Medical research has also shown that prayer has no effect (where's the link to your research?)

    The Seattle Times: Nation & World: Medical study sees no effects in prayer from afar

    What prayer appears to really be, is meditation. An internal dialog.

    Statements made by believers can give the illusion of prayer being more than that, regardless of the outcome. For example, a person can say "I prayed to be cured of cancer and God healed me!" or if they were NOT cured they can say "I prayed to be cured of cancer but God wants me in Heaven with Him and did not cure me."

    Another typical religious statement would be "God manipulated the results of the scientific study for a reason."

    Those types of statements are impossible to prove or disprove; therefore, discussion is usually a futile effort.
  18. steakii

    steakii New Member

    When i was a kid, i used to pray for things to happen all the time. Not crazy sinister stuff, but actual things to pray for, and noting ever came from it, so i just stopped praying. But for some reason i got a bad feeling while i was typing that, so i dont know what that means.
  19. goodgirl

    goodgirl **********

    The research you provided a link for was based on the prayers of stranger with the patient in question being unaware of the prayers. That is hardly conclusive proof that prayer has no effect.
  20. Tenderlungs

    Tenderlungs Sr. Member

    The cancer things seems logical because it probably helps by giving them some sort of hope, and the mind is a very strong thing, whereas, not having any hope, what chance do they feel they would have?

    I really don't believe in God though. I mean, there may be something out there, but for all we know we might just be fleas on some sort of "alien" dog.

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