Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Power of Prayer (Part I)

 From the earliest moments of my youth I was trained,taught,and encouraged to recite prayers.Even though it's been 25 years, I can still to this day recite a prayer from my elementary school days in which each classroom said just before they walked to the cafeteria for lunch:

  "God is great,God is good.Let us thank him for our food. Bow our heads,we all are fed.Give us Lord our daily bread.Amen."

Another prayer recital taught by parents and churches teaches children at the earliest possible age that the prayer business is for real. It's a typical bedtime ritual.

  "Now I lay me down to sleep.I pray thee Lord my soul to keep.If I die before I wake. I pray thee Lord my soul to take. Amen"

 If you were raised in any typical religious household regardless of faith or denomination you were,from the time you were born, taught to believe in the power of prayer. Prayer works.God answers prayers.How many verses in the bible are dedicated to this very subject? How many hymnals do we sing in churches to help drive this mantra home? The prayer business drives our hopes,dreams,desires,wishes and wants. You need not be religious to even get results or participate. Just murmur a few words to yourself and off you go. Keep ya fingers crossed. Prayer isn't a guarantee to get results.

 I do not believe in the following aspects regarding the power of prayer:
-Healing the sick
-Dictating weather patterns globally
-Dictating the health of unborn babies
-Travel safety
-Job offers
-Real estate transactions
-Money matters
-Turning red lights green because you're running late
-Winning Grammy's,Emmy's or Tony Awards
-Any and all things asked for not mentioned above...

The next couple of blog entries(maybe more) will serve as arguments for my case against prayer and the lack of evidence to support it's cause and validity.Even though I don't personally believe in the power of prayer, I do however acknowledge there is power IN prayer. Let me explain.

First the good news::

To the believer,there is no doubt that prayer has the power to comfort,console,and ease the weary mind. This power is perfectly demonstrated in hospitals and funeral homes around the world. Everyone experiences sickness and death in their families and its not uncommon to offer up prayers as a consoling effort to ease the troubled, grieving mind. Even the non-religious will play this ace in the hole from time to time. I think its due to the fact that sometimes we just don't know what to say when someone is experiencing this ultimate trial in life. To grieve is the ultimate lowest point in our human emotions. Everyone will grieve multiple times in their life as long as they live long enough to experience it. If you never grieve in life,then chances are you have been grieved over. 
 I have signed many sympathy cards for my coworkers that experience death in the family over the years. I've always been amazed how many times the word prayer is written in them by mass signings of coworkers. This, in my mind, is nothing more than empty gestures. To start issuing prayers to those in need or grief says " I don't know what to say...." But no doubt it brings great comfort to those that read it. I have stopped saying things like "May God bless you in your hour of need." or "Praying for your family." etcs. Instead I approach death sympathies in a more secular fashion.

 "In death we have nothing to fear. Thinking of you"

If the reader or receiver of this message interprets this religiously,then so be it.
 Prayer in my opinion is a placebo. Its an offering of condolences that has no literal substance value. Consider the child that is awakened in the middle of the night from a horrible nightmare. The child will no doubt wake to his/her screaming until a comforting parent shows up in the bedroom. Now the parents job is to ease the child's mind. Perhaps the child is convinced that there are monsters under the bed or hiding in the closet. As a parent you know there is no legitimate threat to your child,but this doesn't matter to you because you know your child needs a consoling power to take over. And that is what prayer is. Its a mental state to ease the mind. To comfort the heart and well being of our lives. Even though there is no proof of actual tangible solid results.  Prayer holds a mental power.....I just think it lacks a physical power. Which brings on the bad news::

.....To be continued

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