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Prayer: A Weapon Of Mass Destruction?


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FROM THE THREAD: Rumours that Circulate when you Disappear.

 

I have no idea what has been said about me since I left (and I've never made any attempt to find out) because I really don't want to know.

 

I'm sure of one thing, however. They are all praying for me.

 

I'm not sure if this is the acceptable thing to do but I had to laugh at that. Where I come from, audible prayer is reserved for the last prayer on Sunday morning, and it is prayed by the preacher. On all other occassions, prayer is silent. Thus, I have had my amusements when I have read stories of prayer duals and the like. Prayer, which is supposed to calm the soul and be a refreshing communication with God becomes a weapon and contest of wills. A pretty far cry from what Jesus meant it to be, I'm sure. I am quite sure that all of my family are praying for me, too, each in their own prayer closet. I feel sorry for them when I think about how much they are grieved because of me but they would not have to feel this way. If only they would open their minds just a crack to see the truth as I see it, they could be alleviated of this grief. But they don't dare.

 

On the other hand, I have often wondered if these prayers can have an emotional impact across distance. Some people believe in kinesthetic knowing or whatever across major distances without contact. Do any atheists subscribe to such ideas? What is the scientific/psychological position on this?

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When someone utters the despicable words "I'll pray for you" they have chosen to muddy the psychological waters rather than praying in secret and trusting in whatever the heck they think they believe in.

 

Any desirable effects from the prayers could just as easily be from a placebo effect as from the supplicant's god.

 

And it also allows the recipient of the prayer to take evasive action, possibly cutting contact with the supplicant or deliberately taking action that contradicts the intent of the prayer.

 

For these reasons, in the course of my personal research into seiðr and other shamanistic practices, I wouldn't dream of tipping my hand to the recipient of my magical intentions. I want to be able to isolate the "active ingredient" if my efforts do bear fruit.

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When someone utters the despicable words "I'll pray for you" they have chosen to muddy the psychological waters rather than praying in secret and trusting in whatever the heck they think they believe in.

 

Any desirable effects from the prayers could just as easily be from a placebo effect as from the supplicant's god.

 

And it also allows the recipient of the prayer to take evasive action, possibly cutting contact with the supplicant or deliberately taking action that contradicts the intent of the prayer.

 

For these reasons, in the course of my personal research into seiðr and other shamanistic practices, I wouldn't dream of tipping my hand to the recipient of my magical intentions. I want to be able to isolate the "active ingredient" if my efforts do bear fruit.

 

I HATE THAT! "We're prayin' for ya!" Sure you are, fucker. I said the last two times now to a Christian who said that to me, "Don't! I don't want your fucked up requests upon my life!" In fact, I actually do things to BLOCK people praying for me! Good luck, fortune, ect.. is okay. But my 'sunfire ionic gravity well generator' will not allow anything else. ESPECIALLY, "Gawd, pleeze get Shawn thru this week." ESPECIALLY fucked prayers like that!!!

 

What I used to do, and still do sometimes, is I 'request' that whoever gets whatever they want *and* need! "Shawn, there's skid row bums who don't need 10 kegs of Coors Genuine Draft!" Fuck yeah, they ESPECIALLY need that! That Thunderbird's rotting their stomachs! And I do it in private, I don't go up "I'm prayin' for ya Tommy!" what a bunch of self-absorbed shit!

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I’ve had plenty of people tell me they are praying for me. Some I think might mean well (but I have my doubts), I believe the vast majority mean it as nothing more than an insult. I tell them to keep their prayers, that they are simply wasting their time and that boasting about it makes them seem like a pompous fool.

 

I don’t believe prayer has any supernatural effect at all, but it does have a psychological effect. I think prayer works in much the same way as voodoo does. By telling the person you’re going to do X to them, it puts the idea in their mind. What happens from there depends on the person’s mindset.

 

My mom, who became an Ex-Christian before she died, would get very angry when people would tell her they were praying for her. She even went so far as to not tell the rest of the family when she went to the hospital for a major surgery because she didn’t want anyone praying to the god of the bible on her behalf; she believed it would negatively affect the outcome. Boy was my family pissed off when she told them this after it was all said and done.

 

There was some study done that showed hospital patients who were told they were being prayed for actually did worse then those who were prayed for. I’ll see if I can find it.

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Don't know if this is the exact one you're referring to, but Michael Shermer cites one such study in his debate with Deepak Chopra on the afterlife.

 

In April, 2006, The American Heart Journal published the most comprehensive study ever conducted on the effects of intercessory prayer on the health and recovery of patients. Directed by Harvard University Medical School cardiologist Herbert Benson, a long-time proponent of the salubrious effects of prayer, and partially funded by the Templeton Foundation, known for its support of research linking science and religion, the findings were eagerly awaited by members of both communities. There were a total of 1,802 patients from six U.S. hospitals that were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: 604 received intercessory prayer and were told that they may or may not receive prayer; 597 did not receive intercessory prayer and were also told that they may or may not receive prayer; and 601 received intercessory prayer and were told they would receive prayer. Prayers began the night before the surgery and continued daily for two weeks after. The prayers were allowed to pray in the manner of their choice, but they were instructed to ask “for a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications.”

 

The results were unequivocal: there were no statistically significant differences between any of the groups. Prayer did not work. Worse, there were slight elevated complications (although not statistically significant) for the patients in the group who knew that they were being prayed for — a “nocebo” effect. Case closed.

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I’ve had plenty of people tell me they are praying for me. Some I think might mean well (but I have my doubts), I believe the vast majority mean it as nothing more than an insult.

 

I agree, it's either that or they want to sound as if they're the one standing on the high ground. Look at me, I'm helping! Fuckin bullshit if you ask me.

 

I now use a response I've told countless dudes while they had me in bed.... 'I love you'..... and my response.. 'That's nice' :grin:

 

My mom, who became an Ex-Christian before she died, would get very angry when people would tell her they were praying for her. She even went so far as to not tell the rest of the family when she went to the hospital for a major surgery because she didn’t want anyone praying to the god of the bible on her behalf; she believed it would negatively affect the outcome. Boy was my family pissed off when she told them this after it was all said and done.

 

It sounds as if you had a rockin Mom.

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I’ve had plenty of people tell me they are praying for me. Some I think might mean well (but I have my doubts), I believe the vast majority mean it as nothing more than an insult.

 

I think the best response I've heard goes something like this:

 

"I want you to know I'm praying for you"

 

"Thank you so much. While you're at it would you mind sacrificing a goat?"

 

 

Good way to put a quick end to the conversation.

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Hhm interessting topic.

I have been pondering the subject myself since I have left xianity. I useto be very active in a womens prayer group...and totally believed in the spirtitual realm and the power of prayer/warfare.. :twitch:

 

So now that I don't belive in xianity or a diety type god... I have been wondering about the effects of prayer and spoken words on people. I have read those studies too on prayer, very interessting.

 

I have gotten the I'll be praying for you too... the church I am from is into praying out loud, raising of hands while praying.. I know of also people praying proxy for other people.. which kind of weirds me out.. I don't want anyone standing in on behalf of me praying for me...which is kind of why I haven't sent this group a email to stop sending me updates on the ministry.

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God calls us to pray for eachother. Not only does telling someone that you will pray for them when they need it make them realize the love we have for them, but God will hear our prayers for them. Do you not tell a sick friend that you will keep them in your thoughts and hope they get better? When my friend is stuggling with a "sickness" (anything that they need prayers for,) i will pray for them. And no, not always do I tell people that I am praying for them. When I do, it is mainly for their benefit that I tell them so, to let them know somebody cares. As for the actual power of prayer, God hears me and will listen. Dosn't matter if I tell the whole world, or if I keep it to myself. Sometimes I pray silently, sometimes I voice my prayers alone, sometimes I voice my prayers along with people. No matter how you pray, it does not change the fact that God hears you.

 

As for:

"I want you to know I'm praying for you"

 

"Thank you so much. While you're at it would you mind sacrificing a goat?"

 

You gave me quite a laugh, but in all actuallity, if I told someone struggling in their life that I was praying for them and they said that, it would just make me pray more. In the first place I probably would not tell someone that I was praying for them unless I thought it would benefit them. I would most likely just go ahead and pray. Before I was a christian, I struggled with drug addiction, lust, anger, and violence. My sster is married to a youth minister, and just about all their church came up to me at some point in time saying they were praying for me. As I recall, I would get extremely pissed off and swear at them. Fortunately, all their prayers did get answered, and God revealed himself to me.

 

For those who have people tell them they are praying for you, and they are doing it for unrighteous reasons, I feel sorry for them, and sorry for you. One of the major problems with Christianity that I see today is the people who say the are Christians and then go out living life as anyone else. There is a difference between a sinner who knows God and seeks Him, and a sinner who continues to live in falsehood and does nothing about it. All that these people accomplish is giving God a bad name and pushing unbelievers even further away from the Truth.

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you seem like a decent christian, eskimo. Although you use the terms "fact" and "truth" a little loosely.

 

But, we understand. We've been there.

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As for the actual power of prayer, God hears me and will listen.

So nice that you can order your God around. Do you use a whip when you pray?

 

 

As I said, even though God listens to me when I pray, it does not mean He will do what I say. He hears my cries for help, he hears my confessions, he hears my worries, he hears my fears, he hears my praise, he hears my rejoicing, he hears my desires and wants and needs, and everything else that I lift up to Him.

 

Jeremiah 29

12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

 

Job 22

27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you,

and you will fulfill your vows.

 

Matthew 7

10Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

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Okay, Quinn - you show scriptures from Jeremiah and Job that say God will hear your prayers. And you believe.

 

Jesus himself (according to christian beliefs) said this:

 

And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

 

Are you saying that Jesus was wrong or lying?

 

Why on earth would you believe one promise and not the other? Is it perhaps because no one can prove that God doesn't hear your prayers?

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Quinn, whatever warm fuzzy feelings you may get, I'd like to draw your attention to the experiment carried out and described above. No unbiased test has shown any correlation between prayer and benificial effects for the subject of the prayer. Occasionally a case is shown where it is thought to have some significance, but these are usually down to factors such as the data not being set up properly. Instead they just asked people if someone was praying for them and the very christian gave the definite yes. These people where then found to live far healthier lives (due to the rejection of drink, drugs, greed, etc.). When comparing these people to those living a similarly healthy life no difference was found.

I'm sure you base your ideas on personnel relationships with god or whatever, but do try not to use the word fact unless it has been shown to be definitely true by those who do not share the opinion (as is the criteria for all other facts).

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if you don't believe in prayers then what harm can it do? It is as though it does not exist in the first place anyway so why even bother?

 

If I'm lying in a hospital bed and am very ill and someone ask to do a prayer for me, I'll just nod and shoo them away. As long as your prayers are done to yourself and it does not bother me from my sleep then all is good. I am happy for I got rid of you and you are happy for you now have extra work for you.

 

It is like someone giving you something although you don't want it. It is nice to be honest about it and say no thanks but imagine a little kid who took the whole day painting a gift for you and you say no thank you, that must suck for that kid. What wrong did that kid do? It is the thought that count but at least just take it and throw it in the garbage or something. Now everybody's happy.

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if you don't believe in prayers then what harm can it do? It is as though it does not exist in the first place anyway so why even bother?

 

Here is the problem Shaman. When I was a Christian, if someone I knew was having a hard time, I would pray for them. I would not tell them I was going to do so. I would simply do it, and be done with it. Later, if things went well or not, I felt no need to inform my friend that I'd prayed for them. What is the point of that? So my friend can say "thanks"? Who needs their ego stroked like that?

 

Answer: The christians who inform you they will be praying for you. They need the social "attaboy" for going through the motions and appearing to "help" especially in situations where more tangible aid would go a lot farther.

 

Friend needs a job?

 

Which does more to help, going home and praying? Or taking note of 'help wanted' signs or maybe checking online for job opportunities for them if they don't have a computer?

 

Friend just out of surgery and in a lot of pain?

 

Which does more, sitting on your ass praying? Or finding the nurse to see if your friend could get some painkiller? Or even finding the doc and asking how long he/she expects the pain to last so you can tell your friend?

 

Praying is akin to hand-wringing perceived personal helplessness. It is doing nothing productive out of a sense of inability (or laziness), but a desire to appear helpful. When if you really wanted to help someone you would help them, or at least try to.

 

Telling someone you will pray for them absolves the pray-er of their sense of duty without them actually having to DO anything.

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And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

 

Are you saying that Jesus was wrong or lying?

 

Let me try to clarify this for you. First of all, "whatever ye shall ask in my name"

 

To ask in Christ's name is:

1)To beg for His mercy and intercession, and to be dependent upon Him.

2)To seek out God's glory above all else when we pray.

 

Daniel 9

17Now therefore, O our God, hearken unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.

for the Lord's sake.

 

For the sake of Christ, for the sake of God, not for the sake of US.

 

Secondly, "that the Father may be glorified in the Son."

 

This means that as you pray your heart should be fully devoted to Christ, that your aim should be held in honoring the Lord. If our hearts our sincere, God will hear us.

 

 

The thing is, God does not have to do anything for us. We cannot just tell Him what to do, or order Him around. It dosn't work like that. Prayer is not some special power that I can do anything with. When we ask God, we are coming to Him on our hands and knees, seeking out His name, and pleading for Him to listen to us. We are servants to God, we obey His commands, you are wrong to think it is the other way around.

 

 

 

Friend needs a job?

 

Which does more to help, going home and praying? Or taking note of 'help wanted' signs or maybe checking online for job opportunities for them if they don't have a computer?

 

Obviously praying, however that does not mean we cannot be praying for God while going out and looking for help wanted signs. God tells us that we are to be laborers in His name, we cannot just sit around and be lazy and expect things to happen.

 

Friend just out of surgery and in a lot of pain?

 

Which does more, sitting on your ass praying? Or finding the nurse to see if your friend could get some painkiller? Or even finding the doc and asking how long he/she expects the pain to last so you can tell your friend?

Once again, you should be praying, but you can certainly do so while running down the halls of the ER building screaming for a nurse .

 

 

Praying is akin to hand-wringing perceived personal helplessness. It is doing nothing productive out of a sense of inability (or laziness), but a desire to appear helpful. When if you really wanted to help someone you would help them, or at least try to.

 

Telling someone you will pray for them absolves the pray-er of their sense of duty without them actually having to DO anything.

 

You see this is how things such as prayer get misconstrued. People will take one verse out of the Bible, and not the next. The Bible is not a list of "rules" for you to follow, but altogether it is a guide for our salvation and life.

 

Proverbs 10:4

Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.

 

This was not meant to be taken in terms of money. There are plenty of businessmen out there who sit around all day, play golf, and what not. They certainly have acquired a load of money. And there are plenty of workers out there who do a good job and have good work ethic yet can't seem to get a raise. What Solomon was talking about was our wealth in God. God calls us to work, and to work with intent to glorify God.

 

Genesis 2:15

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.

 

God created man to work.

 

Matthew 25:

14"Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. 15To one he gave five talents[a] of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16The man who had received the five talents went at once and put his money to work and gained five more. 17So also, the one with the two talents gained two more. 18But the man who had received the one talent went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.

 

19"After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20The man who had received the five talents brought the other five. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with five talents. See, I have gained five more.'

 

21"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

 

22"The man with the two talents also came. 'Master,' he said, 'you entrusted me with two talents; see, I have gained two more.'

 

23"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!'

 

24"Then the man who had received the one talent came. 'Master,' he said, 'I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25So I was afraid and went out and hid your talent in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.'

 

26"His master replied, 'You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

 

28" 'Take the talent from him and give it to the one who has the ten talents. 29For everyone who has will be given more, and he will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken from him. 30And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'

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Praying is akin to hand-wringing perceived personal helplessness. It is doing nothing productive out of a sense of inability (or laziness), but a desire to appear helpful. When if you really wanted to help someone you would help them, or at least try to.

 

Telling someone you will pray for them absolves the pray-er of their sense of duty without them actually having to DO anything.

 

You see this is how things such as prayer get misconstrued. People will take one verse out of the Bible, and not the next. The Bible is not a list of "rules" for you to follow, but altogether it is a guide for our salvation and life.

 

Tell it to your fellow christians. THEY are the ones who "abuse" prayer in the manner I just described.

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And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

 

Are you saying that Jesus was wrong or lying?

 

Let me try to clarify this for you. First of all, "whatever ye shall ask in my name"

 

To ask in Christ's name is:

1)To beg for His mercy and intercession, and to be dependent upon Him.

2)To seek out God's glory above all else when we pray.

 

Daniel 9

17Now therefore, O our God, hearken unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake.

for the Lord's sake.

 

For the sake of Christ, for the sake of God, not for the sake of US.

 

Secondly, "that the Father may be glorified in the Son."

 

This means that as you pray your heart should be fully devoted to Christ, that your aim should be held in honoring the Lord. If our hearts our sincere, God will hear us.

 

 

The thing is, God does not have to do anything for us. We cannot just tell Him what to do, or order Him around. It dosn't work like that. Prayer is not some special power that I can do anything with. When we ask God, we are coming to Him on our hands and knees, seeking out His name, and pleading for Him to listen to us. We are servants to God, we obey His commands, you are wrong to think it is the other way around.

This is just wrong on so many levels! Why would God's ego need stroking? Why is it that you inflict a human quality such as ego onto God?

 

On another level, it is degrading to human beings to be seen as some servant to be pitied by a God that created us.

 

God does not 'need' anything and that includes being glorified. What you, and many others, have done is created a God that resembles a human father, and a not a very good one at that. You have turned God into an idol.

 

You are wrong to do this to God.

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For the sake of Christ, for the sake of God, not for the sake of US.

 

Do you assume that we all were praying to get rich or have someone give us a new car?

 

One of the final prayers that many of us prayed was:

 

"Help me, Lord. Please don't let me fall away. Jesus, I beg you. I need you so desperately"

 

This one too went unanswered.

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Now, Quinn - you should know something.

 

We understand how unbelievably difficult it is for a christian -

 

But, we'll respect you more if just once in awhile, you say "I don't know".

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Tell it to your fellow christians. THEY are the ones who "abuse" prayer in the manner I just described.

 

I'm sure there are christians out there who do not fully understand prayer, and yes, will always try to preach the word of God to all that I can, as we are all called to do. However I do not really see how prayer can be "abused" as it can really only be used or not.

 

"My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:

Words without thoughts never to heaven go." -Hamlet

 

 

This is just wrong on so many levels! Why would God's ego need stroking? Why is it that you inflict a human quality such as ego onto God?

 

On another level, it is degrading to human beings to be seen as some servant to be pitied by a God that created us.

 

God does not 'need' anything and that includes being glorified. What you, and many others, have done is created a God that resembles a human father, and a not a very good one at that. You have turned God into an idol.

 

You are wrong to do this to God.

 

God created us to glorify His name. In glorifying His name, our lives are filled with salvation and joy. Not to say that we glorify His name in order for His blessings, but to say that He does bless us. He gives us eternal life and joy that nothing else can provide. God does not "need" us, we NEED God.

 

But yes, the Bible does call us as servants for God, to take His word and spread it throughout the nations, to be reflections of God's glory unto the world.

 

As for turning God into an idol, and idol is an image. A material thing. God is the living Truth, the Salvation and Life and Light to the world. God and humans are on opposite ends here.

 

 

Do you assume that we all were praying to get rich or have someone give us a new car?

 

Let's look at how Jesus taught us to pray: Matthew 6

9"This, then, is how you should pray:

" 'Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

10your kingdom come,

your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

 

The first thing Jesus says is "hallowed be thy name, your kingdom come, your will be done"

Your will be done, over everything.

 

When Jesus is on the Mount of Olives, he prays:

Luke 22:

42"saying, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will but yours, be done."

 

Jesus knew he was going to be crucified, he prayed to his Father that if it was His will that his cup of suffering should be removed. This was not God's will, Jesus was to be crucified.

 

I am not saying that people pray to get rich or get a new car, but even praying for your dying mom to get better, if it is not God's will, it will not be done. So in all things, pray God's will be done. And do not twist my words, by no means does this mean there is no use to praying, as if it dosn't matter anyways. It does matter if you pray, it makes a huge difference. God wants you to pray.

 

One of the final prayers that many of us prayed was:

 

"Help me, Lord. Please don't let me fall away. Jesus, I beg you. I need you so desperately"

 

This one too went unanswered.

 

I cannot respond to this situation, I do not know what was going on in your life at the time, I am not God, nor do I pretend to be. All I can say is, I wish you had not given up, if you did that is. If you still have somewhere in your heart the slightest bit of longing to seek God, I hope that you would. Do you not think i've ever thought God was ignoring me? No matter how strong of faith people might think they have, we ALL struggle at times. I have absolutely no problem admitting that. God does not fail us, we just fail to believe in God.

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All I can say is, I wish you had not given up, if you did that is.

 

Oh no. I didn't give up.

 

I escaped.

 

Well, I suppose you could say I gave up. Just like some drug addicts give up heroin or meth. Or some alcoholics eventually give up alcohol. Or some abused wives give up their abusive husbands.

 

Call it what you will.

 

I'm free.

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