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Current time: August 16, 2022, 6:26 pm

Poll: What is Prayer?
This poll is closed.
A conversation with a dial tone.
15.00%
3 15.00%
Actual communication with the Divine.
15.00%
3 15.00%
A form of meditation.
15.00%
3 15.00%
A form of self-talk/therapy.
20.00%
4 20.00%
Other
35.00%
7 35.00%
Total 20 vote(s) 100%
* You voted for this item. [Show Results]

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What do you think prayer is?
#1
What do you think prayer is?
What is prayer?

Theists tout it as actual communion with the Divine. Of course, many of us here will reject that assertion, but that leaves the question: what exactly is it then? I'm sure many of you have read Christian accounts wherein Christians describe prayer as having therapeutic powers. I'm open to this idea. When I first began to study Hinduism and eastern texts, I used to use a mala (beaded necklace) to sing repetitive prayers to Ganesha or various bodhisattvas. Oftentimes, I was left energized by the activity. I wasn't so much a believer in any of it, just someone who incorporated it into a yoga, chi gung regiment that I employed to reduce stress.

This got me thinking about Christian prayer and what actual purpose it may serve to its practitioners. Is it a form of meditation or self-talk? Or is it pure delusion?
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#2
RE: What do you think prayer is?
It's the simple act of strengthening ones focus for intended outcomes through verbal or internal repetition and ritual. Or, at least..that's the part of prayer that "works"..which is what leads credulous loons to pray for shit that won't.

Personally, I prefer to work. I get the same high, but actually get things done in the process. Most people do couple their achievable prayers with dedicated effort, ofc. Why wouldn't they..they wanted it enough to pray for it, after all. Easiest way for me to find zen is to hand hoe a row. There's the usual tendency for the mind to busybody itself at first, but if you do it long enough you run out of shift to think about directly and just drift to the sound and color. I suppose I could rake rocks..but you can't eat a rock, and just praying for carrots produces a notably low yield.

Wink
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
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#3
RE: What do you think prayer is?
A placebo at best, pointless regardless.
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#4
RE: What do you think prayer is?
Well, that's the rub, if what you're looking for is a state of mind..then a placebo is a pretty cheap way to effect that.  Otherwise you gotta go buy drugs, lol.  Positive thinking may not actually lead, directly, to positive outcomes, but it leads to a better mood which often -does- lead to more positive outcomes..or at least a more positive experience of poor outcomes.

The silliness and pointlessness isn't in prayer or any other ritual to achieve that effect, it's in peoples misunderstanding and misattributons -of- the effect or the nature of the act.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
Reply
#5
RE: What do you think prayer is?
(February 1, 2018 at 10:45 am)vulcanlogician Wrote: What is prayer?

Theists tout it as actual communion with the Divine. Of course, many of us here will reject that assertion, but that leaves the question: what exactly is it then? I'm sure many of you have read Christian accounts wherein Christians describe prayer as having therapeutic powers. I'm open to this idea. When I first began to study Hinduism and eastern texts, I used to use a mala (beaded necklace) to sing repetitive prayers to Ganesha or various bodhisattvas. Oftentimes, I was left energized by the activity. I wasn't so much a believer in any of it, just someone who incorporated it into a yoga, chi gung regiment that I employed to reduce stress.

This got me thinking about Christian prayer and what actual purpose it may serve to its practitioners. Is it a form of meditation or self-talk? Or is it pure delusion?


Not all theists think that prayer is communion with the Divine.

A religious prayer is actually asking God for the daily bread while many people practicing spirituality pray God for merging in Him.
So while the first is self centered the second is not.
But again to achieve communion prayer is not the tool to get there.
Meditation is and meditation is not a prayer.  Lightbulb
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#6
RE: What do you think prayer is?
(February 1, 2018 at 11:01 am)Khemikal Wrote: Well, that's the rub, if what you're looking for is a state of mind..then a placebo is a pretty cheap way to effect that.  Otherwise you gotta go buy drugs, lol.  Positive thinking may not actually lead, directly, to positive outcomes, but it leads to a better mood which often -does- lead to more positive outcomes..or at least a more positive experience of poor outcomes.

The silliness and pointlessness isn't in prayer or any other ritual to achieve that effect, it's in peoples misunderstanding and misattributons -of- the effect or the nature of the act.

I wouldn't put it like that. It is a placebo regardless. Prayer is one form. You can think positively about anything and do so without any pragmatic data to know you are right. Just like I was "positive" that if I just showed Ann McCarthy that I was "in love" with her, she would respond. You can be "positive" about anything but that is not evidence that what you are positive about will happen or is true. Just like kids are positive about Santa. Many get presents but that still does not make Santa real.

I would agree it is a misunderstanding and miss -attribute. Point is, you can be positive and certain and dead wrong at the same time. Prayer only works in the context that if enough people buy into it collectively as a social norm, it can create a collective group. The ancient Egyptians were successful for 3,000 years falsely believing that praying to Ra and Osiris and Horus and Isis was a REAL deal, and that false belief did allow for their 3,000 year dynasty but that still did not make their polytheistic gods true or real.

I don't see how calling pray a placebo is "cheap" because it is cheap. It is because of what you said in misunderstanding that makes it cheap. It allows one to be intellectually lazy. It is easier for our species to buy into a fantasy than it is for us to do the work to figure out what the real observable world is. It is easier for humans to think of themselves as important than it is to face the reality we are not.
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#7
RE: What do you think prayer is?
(February 1, 2018 at 11:21 am)Brian37 Wrote: I wouldn't put it like that. It is a placebo regardless. Prayer is one form. You can think positively about anything and do so without any pragmatic data to know you are right. Just like I was "positive" that if I just showed Ann McCarthy that I was "in love" with her, she would respond. You can be "positive" about anything but that is not evidence that what you are positive about will happen or is true. Just like kids are positive about Santa. Many get presents but that still does not make Santa real.
Presents are real, santa is misattribution.  OFC wishing ann mcarthy loved you won't make her love you, but reminding yourself that you are loved will actually help you to squelch self doubt regarding those who actually do love you.  

Quote:I would agree it is a misunderstanding and miss -attribute. Point is, you can be positive and certain and dead wrong at the same time. Prayer only works in the context that if enough people buy into it collectively as a social norm, it can create a collective group. The ancient Egyptians were successful for 3,000 years falsely believing that praying to Ra and Osiris and Horus and Isis was a REAL deal, and that false belief did allow for their 3,000 year dynasty but that still did not make their polytheistic gods true or real.
Prayer "works" insomuch as it does regardless of some collective social norm.  It's a private act, that effects a person privately.  Though, you have to give a nod here to collective ritual which can have a more pronounced effect.

Quote:I don't see how calling pray a placebo is "cheap" because it is cheap. It is because of what you said in misunderstanding that makes it cheap. It allows one to be intellectually lazy. It is easier for our species to buy into a fantasy than it is for us to do the work to figure out what the real observable world is. It is easier for humans to think of themselves as important than it is to face the reality we are not.
I think you misunderstood.  I can go hoe my garden or smoke weed.  Both have roughly similar effects.  One costs more than the other.  That's how placebo, as you've put it, can be cheap.  There sn;t any laziness in the ritual, quite the opposite.  Any laziness is in misunderstanding or a misattribution of the effect. Prayer (and other rituals) work because real acts have real effects on real minds. Not because theres a god who hears you (egyptian or otherwise), not because it can make a girl love you, not because you're the center of the universe.
I am the Infantry. I am my country’s strength in war, her deterrent in peace. I am the heart of the fight… wherever, whenever. I carry America’s faith and honor against her enemies. I am the Queen of Battle. I am what my country expects me to be, the best trained Soldier in the world. In the race for victory, I am swift, determined, and courageous, armed with a fierce will to win. Never will I fail my country’s trust. Always I fight on…through the foe, to the objective, to triumph overall. If necessary, I will fight to my death. By my steadfast courage, I have won more than 200 years of freedom. I yield not to weakness, to hunger, to cowardice, to fatigue, to superior odds, For I am mentally tough, physically strong, and morally straight. I forsake not, my country, my mission, my comrades, my sacred duty. I am relentless. I am always there, now and forever. I AM THE INFANTRY! FOLLOW ME!
Reply
#8
RE: What do you think prayer is?
I think prayer can have lot of psychological benefits... such as clarifying, centering, and expressing thoughts and feelings... so in that sense a form of meditation/therapy... and with that leading to further self-fulfilled affects down the line... any actions or perceptions of events that derive from that clarity. It just doesn't do anything outside your own head Wink
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#9
RE: What do you think prayer is?
A desire without an effort. 

Boru
‘Let me never fall into the vulgar mistake of dreaming that I am persecuted whenever I am contradicted.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson
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#10
RE: What do you think prayer is?
[Image: 1351437632807_3419751.png]
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