Prayer Why Bother

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1smartdodog
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Prayer Why Bother

Post by 1smartdodog » Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:19 am

Sorry if you disagree but prayer is a big nothing. At least as far as getting a response or some kind of intervention.

When i start getting stressed my brain starts looking for relief. My 50 years of Mormon training kicks in and prods me to pray for something anything. I have to remind myself it is useless.

Enough of the begging and pleading. No sir not anymore. If God is there he knows where i am and can come find me. I will he happy to listen. But no vague feelings or random coincidences are going to make me jump back into the prayer thing.

Maybe I am am cynical, but to many years of a one sided conversation has jaded me. Even when i thought i got an answer, it turned out wrong. When I threw all the faith i could muster at it, i got an echo chamber.

So COJCOLDS stop telling me it is my fault. I don’t have any more to give. I am at the end of the road, and I realize I am on my own.

But please God tell me I am wrong, you know where i sit. But don’t expect me to come begging.


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jfro18
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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by jfro18 » Wed Sep 02, 2020 11:36 am

Agree 100%

Even when I stopped going to church, I still had that instinct to pray. Then we had trouble having a kid, and I know my wife was praying like 50x normal and I was too because I figured that's what you do to get a miracle.

Then we finally got pregnant and a few weeks later had a miscarriage. For some reason at that point I was done with it - like after all that, I just felt nothing and I felt no need to pray or even wonder what the point was.

And I've had a few stretches in life where I've felt that urge to do it out of just conditioning, but even when my mom was thought to be weeks away from death, the chaplain or whatever at the hospital came by and asked if I would like to pray with him, and without a split second thought I just said "No, I'm good."

By now I'm fine with it, but it took many years to get from where I was with prayer to today... I was so conditioned to think it would matter that it was really hard to shut off that line of thinking. Sounds like you're there too... and if God really cares about us, he'll come visit just like he did for all of the other prophets of our era, right? :)

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Red Ryder
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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by Red Ryder » Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:22 pm

I guess I’m too lazy to really care to have an opinion on prayer.

I can look back at 3 experiences where I could attribute prayer to a positive result.

1. On my mission, the first month in my first area nothing was happening. The area book had been worked to death. Nobody was interested. It was very frustrating. As we left the apartment for the day, my trainer companion suggested we each say a prayer. He goes first and offers the bland same prayer. Me being a new missionary just poured my frustrations into that prayer and basically pleaded with HF to make something happen if we put in the work. We busted our asses the next month and we had 5 baptisms (which was a big # for my mission). I always in my mind pegged those 5 baptisms to that prayer. Ironically after that month we went 4 months with zero baptisms and 3 of the 5 had gone inactive. Similar prayers and pleading with god in new areas and new companions didn’t get the same results.

2. Prayed to move and take a job. Never really got a firm answer just felt like it was right. All these years later and nothing to hang my hat on other to wonder what could have happened if I had chosen the other opportunity. Whatever.

3. Prayed for a loved one with health issues. They got better.

Now I just realize that prayer can be the mind working through the process of making a decision. Or delusions and talking to yourself. Same thing.
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Not Buying It
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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by Not Buying It » Wed Sep 02, 2020 12:53 pm

What kind of a father really makes you get down on your knees and beg for something before they give it to you? And then might not even if you do. I don't always give my kids what they ask for, but I sure as hell don't make them grovel before I will or I won't. And "thy will be done" kind of negates the whole point anyway, because why bother asking - God's either going to do it or he won't no matter how much you grovel. Except if you grovel enough he might change his mind, but then what kind of a God is that wishy washy? The whole thing makes zero sense. What a mindfrick.

And besides, how can I bother with praying about my little, petty stuff when I know victims of rape, incest, violence, terminal illness, house fires, fatal traffic accidents, heart attacks, the Holocaust, and whatever else prayed to the same God and weren't delivered from those horrors? "Ummm, yeah, I know you couldn't be bothered to deal with those things, but could you please let me know whether I should switch careers?"

And when you think about it, it is pretty damn disrespectful to people who have experienced horrific trauma that they prayed to avoid when we make it sound like God rushed to help us find our car keys because we said a little prayer. When I see #tendermercies I want to puke.

Prayer serves one purpose only - it is a psychological comfort to those in need who believe in it. Beyond that, it serves no purpose whatsoever, and to say otherwise is to disrespect the experience of those who prayed and had horrible, horrible things happen to them anyway. There is abundant evidence prayer is pretty irrelevant to avoiding misfortune, healing the sick and afflicted, or making sound personal decisions. And don't get me started on the pointlessness of fasting along with prayer.
"The truth is elegantly simple. The lie needs complex apologia. 4 simple words: Joe made it up. It answers everything with the perfect simplicity of Occam's Razor. Every convoluted excuse withers." - Some guy on Reddit called disposazelph

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Linked
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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by Linked » Wed Sep 02, 2020 2:22 pm

Prayer as a conduit for communication with a supreme being has proven ineffective in my life too.

I think prayer as meditation can be helpful for a person's mental health, but not to actually change anything else. Thinking of blessings can help you frame the world in a way that can make you feel happier. Identifying what you want can help you start working toward it. But if you don't think anyone is listening then the act of praying is a little weird.

I've felt those moments of high stress where my reflex is to pray too, even recently. After my faith transition it no longer provides much relief though. I got some good advice recently that incorporates some mindfulness techniques to deal with moments of high stress. It's 4 steps:

1. Recognize that you are stressed and name what is stressing you out.
2. Take a few deep breaths, slowly breathing out.
3. Recognize that you want to stop being stressed about whatever is stressing you out.
4. Do something to take your mind off of it, preferably something like taking a walk and feeling the wind on your face or exercising.

I have found this to be a decent replacement for prayer.
"I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order" - Kurt Vonnegut

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wtfluff
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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by wtfluff » Wed Sep 02, 2020 4:32 pm

In my S L O W slide down the slope to becoming an unbeliever, prayer was one thing I gave up on long ago. I was still "trying" to believe, and still jumping through a lot of the COJCOLd$™ MORmON hoops to try to get MORmONism to work, but at some point I realized that prayer was completely useless. I don't know if it was a subconscious thing, or I just took a small step away from MORmONism into reality to wake up to the uselessness, but I attended for many years without believing in prayer, and not really praying much myself. Maybe I thought it worked for other folks, but I just wasn't good enough. I really don't know.

Prayer is just one of the MANY repetitive things done MORmONism that are truly useless. Maybe you have to be really good at confirmation bias/mental gymnastics to tweak your reality into seeing those things as useful. Maybe some people get lucky and live that charmed, fake MORmON life and it really works for them. Again, I really don't know. I think a lot of folks just keep on MORmONing because that's all they've ever done, and that's all they know how to do, whether it actually works for them or not. (Kind of like I was doing on my slippery slope.)

This leads to my biggest beef with MORmONism: You can jump through all the useless hoops that the Corp. tells you to, and do all of it to the best of your ability, but no matter how hard you try, or how you twist your brain in knots to convince yourself it works, it Just. Doesn't. Work. MORMoNism is completely incapable of living up to any of it's grand and wonderful promises, whether you believe or not.
Faith does not give you the answers, it just stops you asking the questions. -Frater Ravus

Keep the company of those who seek the truth - run from those who have found it -Václav Havel

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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by FiveFingerMnemonic » Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:48 am

I am admittedly irritable about the subject but continue to call on the kids for meal prayers and family prayer before bed to keep the wife happy and retain routine. I intentionally offer them myself frequently to speed up the process or pick the kids who are also equally willing to blow through vain repetitions quickly. When my wife does offer the prayers it is like she has to make up for our lack by being extra detailed and verbose. I would give up the practice immediately if my spousal circumstances were different.

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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by moksha » Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:57 am

I think meditative prayer can be relaxing. When Winston Rumfoord established the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent, I think he meant that God did not want you to ask him for anything. Of course, that is only one possible interpretation.
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by RubinHighlander » Thu Sep 03, 2020 11:20 am

I've dubbed the great unknown existence, be it an purposeful one or not, as The Cosmo. I talk to the cosmo sometimes, but it's always with a bit of sarcasm, knowing that something or someone may or may not be listening. Sometimes I feel like The Cosmo is Fing with me but there's always lots of room for just plain old probability, not matter how strange the event. But zero Fs given about any man-made gods, especially the white haired old man bipolar bigot the mormon's worship! As a TBM I had so few positive results from prayer I just figured I didn't have that "gift" to hear the spirit or receive any blessings.
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
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Red Ryder
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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by Red Ryder » Thu Sep 03, 2020 2:16 pm

moksha wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:57 am
I think meditative prayer can be relaxing. When Winston Rumfoord established the Church of God the Utterly Indifferent, I think he meant that God did not want you to ask him for anything. Of course, that is only one possible interpretation.
What else are you supposed to do when your Martian invasion of Earth fails and your spaceship is in the shop?
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

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Palerider
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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by Palerider » Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:55 pm

I think the church teaches a naive concept of prayer and God's intention for what He wants us to learn from this existence.

Firstly, I don't think he ever intended for this to be a painless experience. That would defeat the appreciation gained and the meaning given to what Eternity really is. So if God went around answering everyone's prayers (even the sincere and heartfelt prayers) it would defeat the purpose for both Him and us.

This has to be understood from a given perspective however. And that is that (unlike the church) God does not commit us to something without telling us the ground rules. (Think temple endowment)

It is a leap of logic I admit but to think God would place us here against our wills or without our consent is to make God a pretty miserable being.

So what I have learned through my experience here is that I can handle a lot more difficulty than I ever thought possible. And it was God's will to allow those difficulties for my benefit, even though some of them seemed nearly unbearable at the time.

If you think about it, Lazarus whom Christ raised from the dead, still died at a later date. All of the people Christ healed still had more troubles down the road. They all had sicknesses, accidents, heartaches and died. Their families still mourned them. It all still seemed terribly unfair. As Aunt Eller says in the musical "Oklahoma", "You got to look at the good and the bad and say, 'Well....alright' to both".

So my prayers are directed more towards gratitude for the great blessings I have received (even when they didn't seem like blessings at the time) and for strength to endure whatever might come along. I leave open the option for God to make miracles happen as He wishes but I make sure He knows His will takes precedence over my pain or heartache. It may just be His will to not stop the pain.... not that He is causing or assigning the pain to me.

I agreed to that pain and the blessings that come from it long, long ago.

That's the way it works for me.
"There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily."

"Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains to bring it to light."

George Washington

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alas
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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by alas » Thu Sep 03, 2020 8:38 pm

Palerider wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:55 pm
I think the church teaches a naive concept of prayer and God's intention for what He wants us to learn from this existence.

Firstly, I don't think he ever intended for this to be a painless experience. That would defeat the appreciation gained and the meaning given to what Eternity really is. So if God went around answering everyone's prayers (even the sincere and heartfelt prayers) it would defeat the purpose for both Him and us.

This has to be understood from a given perspective however. And that is that (unlike the church) God does not commit us to something without telling us the ground rules. (Think temple endowment)

It is a leap of logic I admit but to think God would place us here against our wills or without our consent is to make God a pretty miserable being.

So what I have learned through my experience here is that I can handle a lot more difficulty than I ever thought possible. And it was God's will to allow those difficulties for my benefit, even though some of them seemed nearly unbearable at the time.

If you think about it, Lazarus whom Christ raised from the dead, still died at a later date. All of the people Christ healed still had more troubles down the road. They all had sicknesses, accidents, heartaches and died. Their families still mourned them. It all still seemed terribly unfair. As Aunt Eller says in the musical "Oklahoma", "You got to look at the good and the bad and say, 'Well....alright' to both".

So my prayers are directed more towards gratitude for the great blessings I have received (even when they didn't seem like blessings at the time) and for strength to endure whatever might come along. I leave open the option for God to make miracles happen as He wishes but I make sure He knows His will takes precedence over my pain or heartache. It may just be His will to not stop the pain.... not that He is causing or assigning the pain to me.

I agreed to that pain and the blessings that come from it long, long ago.

That's the way it works for me.
This is the way I look at it too. If there is a God, then we knew what we were getting into. A God worthy of worship wouldn’t trick us or force us, which is why the endowment told me it was not of God. Suppose some things about Mormonism are correct, though, say that one third the host of heaven refused to come to earth. It wasn’t because they rebelled and followed Satan. How stupid. But they knew how hard it would be and opted out of the growth experience, just like some people look at university and decide on going to tech school. They decided they didn’t want the kind of learning experience earth offered, because admittedly it is a heck of a lot of hard work. But like in college how I took the hard professors because I learned more from them, hated them the whole semester, then signed up for the next class. So, yeah, I can see myself signing up for a tough row to hoe. Child abuse, yup, sounds like I will learn a lot. Sign me up. Knowing I signed up for it, helps me not be angry at how hard it is or how silent God is.

Do I still pray? Not in the Mormon sense. But yes.

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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by misterfake371 » Fri Sep 04, 2020 9:22 pm

I suppose if you don't believe in God, then it doesn't make sense to pray. But if you have faith in God, and more specifically, if you believe in the Jesus of the New Testament, then it makes sense to pray. Christ said to pray, so I pray.

One of the things I think Joseph Smith got right was D & C 88:68 "Therefore, sanctify yourselves that your minds become single to God, and the days will come that you shall see him; for he will unveil his face unto you, and it shall be in his own time, and in his own way, and according to his own will." That verse is an exaggeration, but the sentiment is right, I believe. God answers prayers on his own timetable.

When I pray now, and this is so important, I don't have any expectations that God will send an angel down, or perform a miracle, or give me thoughts or feelings, or anything. I just say my prayer, say Amen, and then go about my business. I consider prayer to be my duty to my Creator and my Savior.

(I'm Catholic now, btw.) I've tried a few new things in prayer lately. I make the sign of the cross to begin and end my prayers, and there's something really special about that small physical motion. I've prayed with a special candle burning, and that's nice. And I've also prayed looking at a picture of Jesus, or looking at a picture of Mary, and those pictures help me visualize the person that I'm praying to.
Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. Ecclesiastes 12:13

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moksha
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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by moksha » Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:59 pm

moksha wrote:
Thu Sep 03, 2020 10:57 am
I think meditative prayer can be relaxing.
I noticed that you omitted saying "and centered" after relaxing. Did you think of that as too New Age for a Mormoncentric audience or were you afraid someone would ask you to define that concept and you would be left struggling? BTW, what is with these inner monologues? Do you need centering?
Good faith does not require evidence, but it also does not turn a blind eye to that evidence. Otherwise, it becomes misplaced faith.
-- Moksha

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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by Just This Guy » Sun Sep 06, 2020 1:24 pm

Back in college, I took an Intro to World Religions class. One thing I remember from the section on Buddhism is that Buddhist will pray as part of their religion. That always confused me. If prayer is a supplication to the higher power of the universe, and Buddhism is a religion of reincarnation, not deity worship, what good is prayer if you do not believe in the existence of a higher power? Who are Buddhists praying to? I never did get a satisfactory answer to that one.
"The story so far: In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and been widely regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

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Angel
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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by Angel » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:06 pm

Just This Guy wrote:
Sun Sep 06, 2020 1:24 pm
Back in college, I took an Intro to World Religions class. One thing I remember from the section on Buddhism is that Buddhist will pray as part of their religion. That always confused me. If prayer is a supplication to the higher power of the universe, and Buddhism is a religion of reincarnation, not deity worship, what good is prayer if you do not believe in the existence of a higher power? Who are Buddhists praying to? I never did get a satisfactory answer to that one.
The Buddha was just a person - not a god or a son of a god, just a normal person like you or me. The beauty of it, was that this normal person was able to attain enlightenment. For Buddhists prayer is more of meditation, thinking things over, finding inner strength, inner bodhichitta, or your own inner Buddha nature.
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Angel
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Re: Prayer Why Bother

Post by Angel » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:14 pm

I don't know what I believe any more, or who / if god exists etc. To me, if god exists, and appears to be silent, I guess that means we are supposed to take ownership and responsibility for ourselves, rather than relying on god.
so... live without desires, "not my will but thine" be done. Accept where the Tao flows for things we are unable to change?

When I pray, I no longer address "Heavenly Father" as I no longer view the underlying power of the universe to be an old male white guy. I simply say "Loving God and angles ....".
#1 Loving → I'm not interested in communicating with any judgmental manipulative spirits haha
#2 God → generic, if praying with others seems to work without raising any eyebrows etc.
(and angles - used in my own personal prayers... perhaps there is no benevolent god, but might be a few loving angels? friends relatives I have lost - I made them promise to look after the kids etc. before they died, so if anything is out there, it feels like it would be them...)
“You have learned something...That always feels at first as if you have lost something.” George Bernard Shaw
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars. ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

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