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How To Stop Praying?


Guest virraszto
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Guest virraszto

I don't believe in God anymore. Actually, it's been quite a long time since I stopped believing. One thing I cannot break myself of is praying right before I fall asleep at night. It's automatic and when I get a few thoughts into it, I ask myself, who the heck I'm praying to? Then I start second guessing myself...and I think well, somebody or something *had* to create man/life, but who was it? I've been doing quite a lot of reading on the subject lately, and I'm getting confused. I don't want to pray to God, because I don't believe in God ( or at least the God that the bible portrays), but I can't stop myself at night, it's automatic. How do you deal with this? Do you find yourself doing the same thing?

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I prayed for awhile before bed after my deconversion, but I was a Deist back then. I still believed in a god who could hear my prayers and answer them.

 

I believed in some Pagan gods after my brief time as a Deist, and sometimes I'd pray to them at night. But, after leaving Xianity, I listened to many arguments that prayer was basically just talking to myself, and at least in terms of the Xian god, I believed it.

 

It wasn't long before I realized that was true no matter what. If I got anything via "prayer" it was either concidence or perhaps it was brought about by my constantly concentrating on whatever I was praying for and "encouraging" it to come to pass. Either or, I began to see that prayer in general was basically a waste of time, and I didn't want to sit there like an idiot, talking to an invisible friend.

 

Don't expect yourself to drop all your Xian habits overnight - give yourself time. Keep reading and studying the arguments against Xianity, and time will take care of the rest. You left the cult, so you made the most important step already.

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I found it took a lot of conscious effort to break the prayer habit. Especially the little mental "thank-you Lord" when things go right.

 

Try swapping that stuff for "Thank you Ed" After a while the mind realises how silly the habit is and it's easier to drop

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Gradually over time... I didn't realize how little I was praying or talking to god.. yes over the last few months since my deconversion I have caught myself praying... which I just stop and turn into rational thinking.

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I don't see why you should stop praying. If it makes you feel better to do it, then why not?

 

I can't eat food until I've prayed and given thanks for it. But, I am a Platonist Pagan, so I guess I may have more of a rationale for praying than does an Atheist. My prayers go something like this: "Thank you, Kali, Nemesis, and Apollo for blessing me with this food. Please operate your retribution upon me with no relief and no mitigation. In the name of the Gods, I pray. Amen."

 

I am a religious person by nature, and I see no reason to stop enjoying myself even though I have to discover that Christianity is a fiction. I do believe in the Gods. Not that I insist upon the absolute truth of my own particular names of the Gods. No man of sense will be confident of that; but he will be confident that something of the kind is true.

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I suggest being gentle with yourself for now. It's automatic, it doesn't make you weak or silly or stupid. When you catch yourself doing it, just gently turn your thoughts away and go to bed without fuss.

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I found that switching from praying to talking to my inner self made a huge difference.

 

In all truth and honesty, truer words cannot be spoken.

 

If you enjoy the act of prayer, then just aim it towards more honest and fruitful targets. You know there isn't a magic sky spook who will hear and care about anything you say, but you care.

 

Plus, there's much more to be gained from one minute of communing with yourself than a lifetime of talking to yourself fruitlessly and pretending some god hears you.

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Here's what I did. If you really want to see the efficacy of prayer, pray sincerely for the one thing you really do not want to happen: pray for god to take your life right now. It will get your heart racing until you realize it won't come true. Then you will see the absurdity of prayer.

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I take the opinion that it's just words, it's up to you to apply any meaning to them. You're either mumbling to yourself with no particular goals or praying to deity. Decide which.

 

I also wouldn't make as big a deal out of it. It's a pretty harmless habit - that is, compared to, say, heroin - and it's nobody's business but your own, so..... A dearest friend of mine, who was thrown out of her house last year by her fundamentalist atheist father, said "Oh my God" and "Thank God" her entire life at "appropriate" situations (as in, shock, fear, relief, etc.). Her father, who otherwise refuses to allow others to refer to God or spirit in his presence, never had a problem with it. A lot of it is just cultural phraseology with all of its original meaning sucked out by constant use.

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I'm with Llwellyn on this one (makes sense since I'm also pagan). I pray, but not to the christian god, and not the way I used to. I no longer pray for other people. I usually just pray about things I really want to change about myself. For example, I don't pray for prosperity, I pray that I will become more diligent with my finances.

 

I pray to the Lord and Lady.

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I don't believe in God anymore. Actually, it's been quite a long time since I stopped believing. One thing I cannot break myself of is praying right before I fall asleep at night. It's automatic and when I get a few thoughts into it, I ask myself, who the heck I'm praying to? Then I start second guessing myself...and I think well, somebody or something *had* to create man/life, but who was it? I've been doing quite a lot of reading on the subject lately, and I'm getting confused. I don't want to pray to God, because I don't believe in God ( or at least the God that the bible portrays), but I can't stop myself at night, it's automatic. How do you deal with this? Do you find yourself doing the same thing?

This is ironic to me from recent experience. I've been out of Christianity and an atheist for quite a few years now. Yet this weekend when I was sitting down at the dinner table up at my parent’s house, I almost felt this impulse to say a prayer before dinner. It was like some sort of programmed behavior that surfaced in a more "all sit together at the table" sort of thing.

 

About praying at night, I understand that also. A thought for you to consider, that God is in fact created in man's image (not the other way around). When you prayed at night, what were you seeing in your mind's eye? An image of what you hope for? An image of things you value and desire? So is the act of you expressing those feelings about life, about your hopes and aspirations a bad thing? If you understand that God is not a person, but a symbol, or a projection of yourself, it's not quite like talking to some actual "throned super-god".

 

The problem you have I of course understand. There's way too much crap heaped on that symbol that drags a host of unhealthy theological/political garbage along with it. What you are doing is part of being human in its essence. It may just be a case of reprogramming how you express this for yourself into a language that is not polluted by those controlling and ignorant "ministers" defining of what those symbols represent. Just allow yourself to be human. Find a language that works for you.

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I've been an Ex-C now for 17 years having been in from the ages of about 7 to 17 and I still catch myself praying on occasion. I don't think much of it. Usually it's thanking God for things.

 

I think that we all carry on an internal dialogue with ourselves, which strikes me as being natural and healthy. Prayer just seems to me to be a certain kind of overflow or spilling out of that dialogue.

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I found that switching from praying to talking to my inner self made a huge difference.

 

I prayed maybe a handful of times, and that was when I was a kid. When I was at funerals, I pretty much just bowed my head, and either remember the person, or talked to my inner self as DQ put it. I think the closest I ever came, has been at candle light vigils.

 

Don't be to hard on yourself, it seems we are creatures of habit.

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Guest virraszto
This is ironic to me from recent experience. I've been out of Christianity and an atheist for quite a few years now. Yet this weekend when I was sitting down at the dinner table up at my parent’s house, I almost felt this impulse to say a prayer before dinner. It was like some sort of programmed behavior that surfaced in a more "all sit together at the table" sort of thing.
What's really weird is that over the holidays, right before dinner, everyone had their head bowed and my b-i-l was saying grace , and the whole time he was praying, I kept thinking to myself, "Oh... if they only knew... and Man, I don't wanna hear this, hurry and get it over with---Amen! And I get irritated inside whenever religion is mentioned by a family member ( and it's mentioned a lot!), but yet the first thing I do when I get into bed at night is to say, "Dear God...." I feel a bit hypocritical. It's hard to break this habit!

 

 

 

I found that switching from praying to talking to my inner self made a huge difference.

 

I think my biggest problem is that I "talk" to my deceased mom, dad, grandparents, siblings, etc at night, and I think it's ingrained in my head that I have to talk to god to get to talk to them. I'm going to try eliminating the " Dear god" part first and go straight to " Dear Mom and Dad" etc. and see how that goes. I suppose that I really am just talking to myself--my inner self, so if I can just cut out the beginning of my ritual, I think that would work.

 

Thanks guys for all your replies. I know I'm not the only one with this problem and it might take years to break this habit.

 

I hope I did the quoting right. :shrug:

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I tell myself affirmations. And it works just as good as prayer. To me, although prayer is seemingly harmless, I feel like a crazy person when I do it. Afterall, you are talking to yourself. So why not uplift yourself and find inner strength and peace?

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I stopped praying to Gawd a long time ago, but that's because I realized a

long time ago that prayer had no more of an effect on my life than the

random motion of molecules in the sky above Mars. The "answers" I got

were just my mind trying to fit a Gawd-like pattern on purely random

events. Don't know if that will work for you, but it couldn't hurt.....

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