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Does Anyone Here Still Pray?


Ziggy
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I would like to ask those people here who still feel they have a spiritual side if they still pray? And if so how and what for?

 

For myself 20 years ago when i really wanted to take Christianity seriously I wanted to see prayer work - you know to see actual clear cut answers. It didn't work like that as you will know and it was an incredibly frustrating and at times scarey period of my life because i was so unhinged.. Taking my parents view of faith literally and finding that it was not working like i was told it would

 

So I stopped prayer like that which led to the questioning of all other areas of faith in general

 

However what it did leave me with was a place inside that felt like it needed that 'spiritual' connection - like when i was emmotionally down or whatever.

A prayer could help deal with lifes issues within myself... not praying for outside things to change to make things better but for learning how to deal with the things that DO happen to me and dealing with them in a way that did not habour anger resentment or negativity inside

So I keep a balanced view on life and not get swept up by all the maddness that seems to be prevelent in modern life - or at least parts of it

So I can make wiser decisions for my future - Not because i think the prayer will change the future but it will help me make a better choice now that will help the future.

 

So although I am not praying for the redemption of my soul so i can go to heaven ... I do feel a need to be honest and sometimes keep that connection with my spiritual self.

 

???

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Immediately after my deconversion, I was still a praying man. I was like that for a short time thereafter, until I couldn't help but see that whatever Creator(s) the universe has, there is clearly no divine intervention, or else there simply wouldn't be bad things happening. I began to pray less and less, and today I don't really pray at all.

 

But I still do - however, my outlook is totally different. After my deconversion, I did do some more research and exploration into some Heathen magical traditions. I normally rejected them on the basis that if prayer doesn't work, why should magic? But the basic premise is different; prayer is begging a god to grant a wish, whereas magic is trying to make it happen yourself. Since we are not all-powerful beings, it makes a little more sense that magic can be ineffective or less than effective, since we can't get everything right all the time, even the best of us. That led me to thinking about just where does magic (supposedly) get its power from?

 

I came to the conclusion that if magic has any power at all, it comes from within us. If magic is even real, the definition of magic would be "humans affecting real-world events through concentration and projection of the will." Basically, you want something to happen badly enough, make use of whatever form of ritual that appeals to you and "works" best for you, and focus on achieving that goal through concentration your will (through whatever ritual) and "projecting" it out into the world to do whatever it is you want.

 

That's a big if, of course. There are many reports from various world civilizations and religions about how their form of prayer or magic or whatever is has healed people or caused things to happen, etc. Many times it can be attributed to prayer or magic just inspiring the believer(s) without anything supernatural or paranormal going on. But I am reluctant to wholly discount the possibility that something paranormal is indeed going on, at least some of the time, and eventually came to the conclusion that, despite what religions these folks may have been, the one common thread was that they all selected a form of ritual/prayer/etc that was best for them, used it, and concentrated on affecting a certain outcome. If magic is anything, that's all it is.

 

But I've just gone off topic to an obvious (and perhaps flaky) degree. I don't pray too much anymore because I am not convinced that the Creator(s) is even able to hear or grant prayers. I feel that my little theory on magic above is more likely to be true, and now and then "pray" with the notion that I am affecting the outcome I want through projecting of my will, but since I have too little evidence still to wholly convince me that's even happening, I usually don't bother.

 

My theories and explanations aside, I find that action brings about results much more often than prayer does, anyway. In the end, I'd rather think on a plan of action to take and then implement it than sit around and talk to myself and wish really hard.

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Hi Robert. I want to point out that I think the word "spiritual" is difficult to use in a general sense, among those with different beliefs. That's because for many it is inseperable from their ideas of a creator and their relationship and obligation to him/her. So, I like to use the terms mental and emotional states to discuss the same ideas, because at least in speaking with you here that is what you described as what you were trying to effect by your spiritual practices.

I understand what you are trying to do with prayer in mental and emotional terms, by trying to calm the endless reacting to our environment and people around us we are all prone to. And to also uncover your deepest goals and aspirations and base your thinking and decisions on them.

 

I think what is going on here with your deconversion is best illustrated by some things that typically happen when other religious traditions are converted to christianity. For instance, when many pagan traditions were impressed enough with missionary tales to convert, they would enthusiastically embrace the tales and descriptions of their new christian god, and then one of the first things they would ask would be something like what kind and how many animal sacrafices does this god prefer. You see, what I think that has to do with you is that I think in a similar way you are practicing the same christianity as you allways have, just as the pagan thought he was making a change but wasn't quite hitting the mark yet. I see this same practicing in your labeling of positive and negative emotions replacing sin and godliness. What I have found to be the transcendent factor that hits the mark in these issues is belief, in who you are and what you deserve. My belief is that I am a prideful and carnal being and that the fullfillment of my desires is my birthright, because that is my nature to desire. I don't recognize any law of man or god to stifle that. That would only lead to periods of frustration. I am, though, capable of working and living in harmony with others, and I do. But ultimately that is for my own convenience and not because I seek or desire any label from anyone saying I am a good citizen or a good person. Obviously, I have a strong ego, and I think that is what it takes to resolve these conflicts, so that emotions are not positive or negative, but useful or useless, and your inner world has a sense or order and peace that is free from all of these conflicting feelings that you have alluded to.

 

Wolfheart, I have been practicing magic for years, and the best strategy is ordinary work combined with magic to ensure success.

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Wolfheart, I have been practicing magic for years, and the best strategy is ordinary work combined with magic to ensure success.

 

So as not to hijack this thread - have at it here! :58:

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No, I don't pray, but I do meditate almost daily. Meditation to me is like prayer in the sense that we "affect" our lives by focusing on that which we want through focused thought.

 

I always describe it as when you decide to buy a red car of a certain brand. All of a sudden you seem to see such cars everywhere. It's not that they weren't there before, but that through focused thought you become more aware of it. That's kind of how meditation is for me. I am often amazed at the results, but I know that it's not some "magic" being that produces the results - just me.

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I'm not sure if "prayer" is the right term for what I do on occasion.

 

When frustrated, stressed, or unhappy, I tend to retreat into sarcastic humor, which I then sort of direct to whoever might be listening...or not. It's only a slight deviation from talking to myself, mostly, although I can't rule out the possibility that someone might be listening. Though at the same time, if I ever received a response in kind......

 

Me: "Gee, I could sure use a hand."

......Sudden Voice: "Keep your shirt on.".........

*silence for a moment*

Me: "Um....I hope your bringing a towel too, I just pissed myself."

 

I'm not sure what I do really could be called prayer, as I don't need or expect anyone to be listening, nor do I respect any sort of response. I just need to say something to relieve stress.

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Pray to whom? :shrug: Nobody out there to take my calls.

 

Seriously, no I don't pray. Or meditate. I reflect, ponder, think, and try to imagine something better than the current situation.

 

I feel it keeps me grounded in reality if I discount supernatural intervention.

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But I still do - however, my outlook is totally different. After my deconversion, I did do some more research and exploration into some Heathen magical traditions. I normally rejected them on the basis that if prayer doesn't work, why should magic? But the basic premise is different; prayer is begging a god to grant a wish, whereas magic is trying to make it happen yourself. Since we are not all-powerful beings, it makes a little more sense that magic can be ineffective or less than effective, since we can't get everything right all the time, even the best of us. That led me to thinking about just where does magic (supposedly) get its power from?

 

I came to the conclusion that if magic has any power at all, it comes from within us. If magic is even real, the definition of magic would be "humans affecting real-world events through concentration and projection of the will." Basically, you want something to happen badly enough, make use of whatever form of ritual that appeals to you and "works" best for you, and focus on achieving that goal through concentration your will (through whatever ritual) and "projecting" it out into the world to do whatever it is you want.

 

That's a big if, of course. There are many reports from various world civilizations and religions about how their form of prayer or magic or whatever is has healed people or caused things to happen, etc. Many times it can be attributed to prayer or magic just inspiring the believer(s) without anything supernatural or paranormal going on. But I am reluctant to wholly discount the possibility that something paranormal is indeed going on, at least some of the time, and eventually came to the conclusion that, despite what religions these folks may have been, the one common thread was that they all selected a form of ritual/prayer/etc that was best for them, used it, and concentrated on affecting a certain outcome. If magic is anything, that's all it is.

I would agree with you. Prayer is a meditation, IMO. It clears the mind and puts you in a peaceful state. I also agree that what comes from prayer is through the will of the person. Thy will be done! (Don't bite me!) :grin:

 

I have also heard that ritual and prayer with others allows one to gain energy from them when their faith is not so strong. I'm not speaking about faith in a god, but faith in the very essence of who we are.

 

I will admit...I find it very difficult to bow my head. I have flashbacks and feel like a fool! This is exactly what prayer and ritual is supposed to help one overcome, but it's perverted to mean the opposite...of wanting something! So, I might give it a try again. But I won't call it prayer...yet.

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I realize now that the entire time I "prayed" I've really only been talking to myself. Unless of course some silent god is reading my mind. Either way, I answer myself back in my mind too. Back then I would have said that this "voice" was either god or satan trying to decieve me (this all depends on what it said). Now I realize that its just me trying to reason with myself. :grin:

 

I think I always hated and never understood why anyone would pray aloud to god. I would think such a god would be able to read my mind. I think in the bible somewhere it says that god even knows what we want even before we think it. Even Jesus wasn't a big fan of public prayers, admonishing those who pray with too many words too. I noticed that in the charismatic churches I was in, also the catholic churches too, they're public prayers would be ridiculously wordy. I remember on the way to a catholic youth retreat I went to, they chanted the hail mary prayer over and over aloud on the bus for what seemed to be 4 hours. It nearly drove me insane. I was thinking "Holy crap! God heard ya the first time!". Then there was my charismatic friends who would ramble and stutter, searching for the right words in their prayers. People would stammer, "Jesus, Lord, yes lord, lord Jesus I just want...lord, Jesus, praise god, Lord, I.., lord please, give me the right words to say." I never understood why so many people worry so much on how and what to pray. :ugh:

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Yes I pray to the mighty Red Mage. I usually just ask him to help me max the stats on my character sheet.

 

Also I once asked him if the characters from Dragon Ball Z got in a fight with the characters from Sailor Moon which one would win. Do you want to know the answer? Of course you do.

 

It might suprise you but the mighty Red Mage let me know that Sailor Moon would win. Sure some of the characters from Dragon ball could destory a whole planet ( and do on a number of occasions), but two of the sailor scouts are lesbians. Now we all know that all guys think lesbians are hot, so while Goku is watching them to see if they do any naugty things, BAM they catch him by supprise.

 

 

See, and you guys thought prayer was borring...you just didn't pick the right god the first time. :woohoo:

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When frustrated, stressed, or unhappy, I tend to retreat into sarcastic humor, which I then sort of direct to whoever might be listening...or not. It's only a slight deviation from talking to myself, mostly, although I can't rule out the possibility that someone might be listening.

 

All - thanks for your replies I think I do something between meditation and the sort of prayer white raven was talking about - trying to gee yourself up maybe but also saying in the back of my mind 'If there is the slightest possibility of anyone being out there that can hear this then i want that person to know that I am trying to be honest and work out whats right'

 

I don't expect a reply or even an answer .. just that it helps me feel betterhaving said / thought whatever is on my mind.

 

Anyway your replies were helpful :grin:

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I never "pray" with the objective to influence external events, rather that I will live in such a way as to benefit from the way things are. As Wolfheart put it - focusing the power that is within me, to bring my desires to pass. Or more often - to discern what my ~true~ desires are.

 

Perhaps meditation is a better term - but meditation implies a prolonged contemplation, whereas the results of prayer (or whatever we call it) are nearly instantaneous. For many, prayer is effective in making the "answer" that already lies within us a conscious reality. That can persist after leaving Christianity - in fact it can be more effective since the blinders are removed from our thinking. At least that's been my experience.

 

Christianity mostly misses the point of prayer. Like TruthWarrior pointed out, Jesus admonished such practices. Even before I left Christianity I stopped praying the way most Christians do. I came to see prayer more as a way of aligning myself with what God was doing, rather than pleading with God to do something. My prayers became less and less verbalized, more of a state of mind. A oneness with what I then perceived as God. Over time, I found I did not need to pray nearly as often. Having moved beyond Christianity, even less. But there are still those times ...

 

I feel like the Christian traditions and myths - as all religions - have a valid basis in some real aspect of the human experience. That prayer is often perceived as being effective reveals something very meaningful about how the universe works, and our place in it. I want to know what that something is, although I don't think it's supernatural. Regardless of what you call it, being aligned with the universal forces is a healthy state of being that we should all strive for.

 

Sometimes I still pray in the way I mentioned above, usually in extreme crisis situations when making the right choice is crucial. It never gets to the point of verbalization. It's a momentary state of mind that seems to crystallize my discernment. If I had never been a Christian I expect I would have the same experience, but perhaps call it something else.

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I came to the conclusion that if magic has any power at all, it comes from within us. If magic is even real, the definition of magic would be "humans affecting real-world events through concentration and projection of the will." Basically, you want something to happen badly enough, make use of whatever form of ritual that appeals to you and "works" best for you, and focus on achieving that goal through concentration your will (through whatever ritual) and "projecting" it out into the world to do whatever it is you want.

 

 

 

Wolfheart,

 

I love your post. I, too, researched the same things you did, and reached similar conclusions. I honestly believe that prayer is energy directed toward the object of your prayer ... it is like spiritual electricity. Humans are connected by an invisible energy net that joins us together, and when we direct our energy toward another person, we are sending energy through the net.

 

I am into New Thought (sort of). So, I believe that the things that are possible are those I can accomplish myself, and that when I believe that I can do it, I can do it. Thus I believe in affirmative prayer, which is not asking anyone to give me anything, it is telling (reminding) myself that I can do it. It is self-empowerment. I close my eyes and say things like, "I am an intelligent, capable individual; and I can find and hold a great job." My subconscious hears the message and I start acting upon those statements. Really simple.

 

I could be wrong, but I believe those are the same principles applied in "magic," too.

 

Lorena

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Even though prayer as a form of communication to a deity is rather pointless, I believe that my time spent in prayer when i was a xian had certain benefits from a human point of view.

 

When you pray it forces you to stop and take stock of your life, where you're heading, and how things are going. As a xian, of course I would ask God for help in dealing with difficult aspects of my life and thank him for positive ones, however I think if you take God out of the equation, a similar exercise to prayer can be quite helpful.

 

Simply taking the time to stop and reflect on your life is healthy. Taking note of areas of your life that need attention, and giving yourself a pat on the back for areas where you're doing well are excellent ways to give you purpose and direction and a sense of wellbeing about yourself.

 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that communicating with a non-existent deity is rather pointless, but communicating with yourself from time to time is very healthy.

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I guess what I'm trying to say is that communicating with a non-existent deity is rather pointless, but communicating with yourself from time to time is very healthy.

 

That must be why little girls love the "dear diary" thing.

 

Lorena

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I meditate sometimes. It helps a lot. When I really need to get worrisome thoughts out of my head, I journal. IMHO, journaling helps immensely because at least there is somewhere for the thoughts to go, and you don't have to worry that your journal won't judge you.

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I would like to ask those people here who still feel they have a spiritual side if they still pray? And if so how and what for?

 

 

Old habits are hard to break sometimes! If I have something on my mind, I often find the first words out of my mouth are "Oh father...." It is a force of habit, nothing more, in my case. I have been wondering about my spiritual side recently, and decided that I don't currently have one. I want to feel a connection with life/nature etc. but that is not a great need in my life at the moment. I wish each one of us good luck on our journey though!

 

Kevin:

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I would like to ask those people here who still feel they have a spiritual side if they still pray? And if so how and what for?

 

 

Old habits are hard to break sometimes! If I have something on my mind, I often find the first words out of my mouth are "Oh father...." It is a force of habit, nothing more, in my case. I have been wondering about my spiritual side recently, and decided that I don't currently have one. I want to feel a connection with life/nature etc. but that is not a great need in my life at the moment. I wish each one of us good luck on our journey though!

 

Kevin:

 

First: I love your avatar. :)

 

Second: Very nice post.

 

I still pray on occasion, but it's nothing like before. As a Christian, I would hear a "voice" as I prayed, which guided me in most critical areas of my life. Sometimes this "voice" would just like to "visit" on a casual level.

 

Even typing this, I realize how utterly insane this is going to sound to some of you, but I am telling you my experience. :)

 

This same "voice" was with me through most of my Christian experience. At first, I thought it was Jesus. Then later, God or the Holy Spirit. As the "voice" was there for me through my deconversion process, I continued to trust it. It has never led me wrong or given me bad advice.

 

I cannot conjure it up at will. It's either there, or it's not. Sometimes it seems to take long vacations between appearances. Once, while I was praying (through my deconversion) it literally sounded "far away." This is difficult to describe, as it's not a physical sound that my eardrums hear, but more of that "inner voice" that many of us have experienced in one way or another. Anyway, I said (or thought), "You sound so far away....why is that?" It responded with, "I'm still here. I never left you."

 

It gave me chills and comfort at the same time.

 

What is it? I don't know. Maybe it's just my brain talkin' to itself. Maybe it's a spirit guide or maybe it is a small piece of the Divine. :shrug: I just know that when it speaks, I should probably listen.

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What is it? I don't know. Maybe it's just my brain talkin' to itself. Maybe it's a spirit guide or maybe it is a small piece of the Divine. :shrug: I just know that when it speaks, I should probably listen.

 

I know exactly what you mean about the "voice". I've experienced it, and know other people who have too. Christian and otherwise. I expect it's a natural human trait that imparts a survival advantage to those who learn to listen.

 

Then of course there are people who hear bad "voices". A disease or malfunction?

Or perhaps ... a deamon from Hell. :Duivel7:

Which seems more likely?

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i pray, do candle spells, rituals, meditation, it releives stress in a helpless situation. i also got the voice i heard about in another post. maybe my idea of god is me or maybe its a real thing but its my friend and i see no need to give it up. if its me then damn my subconscuois brain is smart cause it seems to have advice and something to say on everything. ritual and meditation helps me stay focused to listen to it. i do think if you think about something and work toward it will find a way of happening.

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What is it? I don't know. Maybe it's just my brain talkin' to itself. Maybe it's a spirit guide or maybe it is a small piece of the Divine. :shrug: I just know that when it speaks, I should probably listen.

 

I know exactly what you mean about the "voice". I've experienced it, and know other people who have too. Christian and otherwise. I expect it's a natural human trait that imparts a survival advantage to those who learn to listen.

 

Then of course there are people who hear bad "voices". A disease or malfunction?

Or perhaps ... a deamon from Hell. :Duivel7:

Which seems more likely?

 

 

 

 

Well since I no longer believe in demons from hell....or even hell for that matter.... :wicked:

 

My best guess is either it's a disease of the brain or you've got one evil spirit guide. The choices are not mutually exclusive either. ;)

 

i pray, do candle spells, rituals, meditation, it releives stress in a helpless situation. i also got the voice i heard about in another post. maybe my idea of god is me or maybe its a real thing but its my friend and i see no need to give it up. if its me then damn my subconscuois brain is smart cause it seems to have advice and something to say on everything. ritual and meditation helps me stay focused to listen to it. i do think if you think about something and work toward it will find a way of happening.

 

 

Yea....what willybilly said. :thanks:

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I pray to an extent. I don't do the "God, give me a million dollars!" prayer, it's more like, "God, give me the ability to earn a million dollars while I'm still young."

 

I remember reading Conversations With God, and it had a really good "formula" for prayer. It says that by our thoughts, words, and actions, we call things to being in the Universe. If we say, "God, I want a million dollars," the answer is that you have called the act of wanting a million dollars into the Universe for yourself. Rather, one should command and know - KNOW - in total faith that what one calls into being, becomes. Do not doubt your faith that it will come, otherwise it won't. One should declare to the Universe - "I HAVE A MILLION DOLLARS", and know that you already have it, and that it already is yours. If you doubt that, that thought will affect the universe and thus make the prayer null and void.

 

It's difficult to explain in words, but I do personally know people for whom this has actually worked. The idea is that we have more power, and we are more in control, than we could ever imagine now, in our present states. We can affect the universe in such a way, so long as we KNOW we can. I guess you'd have to read the book to get it. One of my friends, Bill Tucker, actually wrote a book about his experiences, Miracles Made Possible.

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