How is prayer supposed to work?

Discussion in 'Religion' started by Jennifer Murphy, Mar 18, 2019.

  1. Jennifer Murphy Registered Senior Member

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    I recently received an email from a relative saying that he was praying for me (to get well). It got me thinking. Will his prayers affect my prognosis? If so, how? Will god be more likely to speed my healing process because someone prayed for me? If I had more people praying for me, would I get better more quickly? If so, isn't the system rigged? What about people who have fewer or no people to pray for them?

    And if prayer will not affect god's behavior, then what's the point?
     
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, the system is "rigged". It's supposed to be.

    God wants people to worship him and he wants them to get along in groups. So he is encouraging this.

    Well, there's that.
     
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  5. Jennifer Murphy Registered Senior Member

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    This sounds like the response of a non-believer. I was hoping to hear from someone who believes in prayer.

    Wait! So you are saying that there is a god?
     
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  7. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    If there was a God, you shouldn't have to pray for health. It would be built in and/or He would fix it without being asked.
     
  8. Jennifer Murphy Registered Senior Member

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    Yes, well, that is my question, or one of them. Clearly health is not "built in". And it and other benefits are not distributed equally.

    But my main question is how it (prayer) is supposed to work -- theoretically or doctrinally.

    I am intending this for those who believe in it. I post it here hoping to find people with serious, critical minds who are also religious. I didn't want to post it on one of those crackpot forums riddled with juvenile trolls who just trash everything.
     
  9. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

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    Good luck with that. We have some with one and some with the other but I don't know if we have any with both.
     
  10. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    By your belief that it will. Your own mental state is a big factor in your recovery.
    If they communicate that to you, and it makes you believe you will be cured - probably yes.
    Easy solution there - visit sick people and tell them that you and all your friends are praying for them.
     
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  11. Jennifer Murphy Registered Senior Member

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    Are you a theist? atheist? agnostic? ???

    Interesting point, but not really relevant to the question I asked. I want to understand from people who believe that prayer works, just how it works. Your answer is probably valid -- a form of the placebo effect -- but I doubt that true believers think it works that way. Since they are praying to god, doesn't he have to be involved somehow?

    Again, from a religious perspective, does the number of prayers matter? How is this fair to those who have fewer or no people to pray for them?
     
  12. billvon Valued Senior Member

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    Not sure what you'd call me. I'm Christian in that I was raised that way and believe in following the teachings of Christ. But I don't really believe all the stuff about indulgences and miracles and transubstantiation and "we're all sinners because of what Adam and Eve did."
    From a purely practical point - why? Isn't the important thing that it helps? Does it matter if you pray to God, or Jesus, or Saint Anthony, or Vishnu?
    Well, you can make it fair by visiting those sick people. But at a 10,000 foot level, no, it's not fair. (Nor is it fair that they got brain cancer to begin with, of course.)
     
  13. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

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    13,968
    Hi JenniferMurphy.

    Do you know what Karma is?
    Do you accept and believe in God?

    Jan.
     
  14. Jennifer Murphy Registered Senior Member

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    Do you believe there is a god? Does he listen to prayers?
    Yes, I suppose so from a practical perspective. But I am specifically interested in how it works or, at least, how believers believe it works. Do you believe that prayer works -- that is, that it is effective in, say, helping to heal someone prayed for? And does it work through a deity -- the person prayed to?
    The "fairness" I am interested in is specifically the fairness that is the result of divine intervention and, more specifically, as a result of a prayer by one person on behalf of another.
     
  15. Jennifer Murphy Registered Senior Member

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    239
    Hi, Jan,
    I know the dictionary definition, but I do not believe that there is some cosmic spreadsheet or accounting system keeping score and evening it out over time.
    I see no evidence that god, as defined by any organized religion that I am familiar with, exists. Moreover, if there is a deity and (s)he/it is truly omniscient and omnipotent, I find it impossible to believe that that deity would organize the world the way those religions say (s)he/it did.

    Therefore, I do not see any evidence that prayer works beyond the placebo-like effect mentioned above. So I am interested in hearing the perspective on some who do.

    I think it's arrogant (and ignorant) to assume that we are the most intelligent and highly evolved creatures in the universe or that we are alone.
     
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  16. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

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    Then you have your answer.
    Why ask the question?

    Jan.
     
  17. Jennifer Murphy Registered Senior Member

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    Really? I don't believe it works, but that is not "my answer". As I have said several times now, I am interested in how people who do believe think it works.

    What do you believe? Do you believe in karma? If so, how do you believe that it works?

    Do you believe in god? If so, do you believe that prayer works? If so, how do you believe it works?
     
  18. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    18,653
    That was your choice of terms. Are you a non-believer?

    Rigged is not nefarious in this circumstance. It's not a lottery. Preferred behavior is rewarded.
     
  19. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

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    If you see no evidence, then you have your answer. Because you won’t be able to see it any other way.

    I accept and believe in God.

    I believe that for every action, there is an opposite and equal reaction.

    1 Yes.
    2 Yes
    3 Because God allows it to

    Jan.
     
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  20. Jennifer Murphy Registered Senior Member

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    239
    ec?
    Great. And you also believe in prayer, right? Can you tell me how exactly prayer works? Does your prayer that I will get better cause god to help me get better? If more people pray for me, will god work harder or do more for me? Does it matter whether I believe in god?
    Well, that works in classical physics, but it's difficult to see it working with respect to people's behavior. Do you have any evidence that it works? And how is this related to prayer, which is what I am really interested in.

    Thanks, Jan
     
  21. Jennifer Murphy Registered Senior Member

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    239
    That's a little harsh. And you hardly know me.

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    I like to think that I am open-minded. There are a lot of things that I didn't know and didn't see any evidence for, especially in physics classes. But I asked questions and (usually) got compelling answers (evidence) and became a believer. Now in psychology classes, it was a bit different. There were a lot of things there that I didn't understand and didn't see any evidence for. Sometimes the professors were able to provide evidence, sometimes not. I like to think that I was always open to finding or being shown evidence, but some of the stuff some of the professors taught was baloney. That was a long time ago and some of it has now been debunked.

    So, do you have any evidence to show me? Do you have any insight to offer? I may not agree with your perspective, but I would like to understand how you think it works.
     
  22. Jan Ardena OM!!! Valued Senior Member

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    13,968
    I don’t mean to be harsh.

    Physics classes are a far cry from theism.

    Well what is the claim God makes (scripture)?

    It’s not up to me to answer that.

    Aren’t we physical beings (at least in part)?

    God, is the common denominator.
    Do you understand that?

    Jan.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019
  23. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 72 years oldl Valued Senior Member

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    13,077
    Hi atheist here

    There is a thread here which has requested evidence of god. Has been running long enough for evidence to surface. None has

    Requesting evidence of prayer working will suffer the same fate

    From memory experiments performed to test prayer have all produced null results

    You also have at least two religious cop outs
    • all prayers are answered, sometimes the answer is no
    • everything is part of god's great plan (gods will) hence prayer can be viewed as useless since everything has been pre determined
    A child's view

    I prayed for a bike - no bike

    I prayed again for a bike - no bike

    Again for a bike - no bike

    I figured god does not work that way

    I stole a bike

    Now I pray for forgiveness

    But now I do have a bike

    Hope you find a satisfactory answer even if not mine

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    Last edited: Mar 19, 2019

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