Who still believes in prayer?

Discussions toward a better understanding of LDS doctrine, history, and culture. Discussion of Christianity, religion, and faith in general is welcome.
Post Reply
stuck
Posts: 129
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:48 pm

Who still believes in prayer?

Post by stuck » Mon Sep 20, 2021 7:59 pm

I went to church on Sunday and the brother who spoke told of a time where he got lost on a 50 mile scout hike. He realized he needed divine intervention, but his answer was to "wait". He didn't understand this at first but later after his scout leader found him, was told there was another person with the same name that needed to be found first and he was. It was pretty impressive story like too many coincidences. It kind of makes me believe that perhaps divine intervention (the universe or whatever) is possible.

I am sort believing but sort of agnostic.

How do you guys process these kinds of stories?

dogbite
Posts: 359
Joined: Tue May 30, 2017 1:28 pm
Location: SLC

Re: Who still believes in prayer?

Post by dogbite » Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:13 pm

Not in the slightest bit.

User avatar
Palerider
Posts: 2010
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Who still believes in prayer?

Post by Palerider » Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:34 pm

I believe in prayer. I believe in promptings.

I don't believe God intervenes just because we want something to go a particular way, even when the situation is desperate. But sometimes he does intervene.

I've stopped trying to figure out why God intervenes in some cases and not in others. That's His territory....not mine. I've also learned that if God always intervened in a way that seemed right from our very limited perspective, it would defeat the very reason for our being here.

I've learned to trust Him and to do the best I can under whatever circumstances present themselves.
"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

User avatar
wtfluff
Posts: 3150
Joined: Mon Oct 17, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: Worshiping Gravity / Pulling Taffy

Re: Who still believes in prayer?

Post by wtfluff » Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:43 pm

I spent over 40 years looking for god; Who doesn't seem to want to be found.

Talking to a being who seems to do everything in their power to hide from the human race seems a waste of time for me any more...
Last edited by wtfluff on Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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

The Beauty of Gray

User avatar
jfro18
Posts: 1845
Joined: Mon Apr 23, 2018 8:41 pm

Re: Who still believes in prayer?

Post by jfro18 » Mon Sep 20, 2021 8:45 pm

I tried to hang on to prayer for a long time after losing faith in Mormonism, but at this point it's gone.

For every story like this there are just as many stories of people who prayed and were either never answered or it ended up being the wrong choice. I think we always ignore the times it didn't work and then cling to the times we at least interpret it to have worked.

hmb
Posts: 326
Joined: Tue Jan 03, 2017 6:43 am

Re: Who still believes in prayer?

Post by hmb » Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:50 am

I don't believe at all. For those who think it helps their lives, that's great for them. Prayer should not be opportunities for some and not everyone. Some people seem to get answers on a regular basis while others receive silence. Our justice system is a two teared system. Justice for all is really justice for those who have. Our justice system is set by humans. I understand how the corruption happens. Yes it's still a good system compared to many other countries, but it has a lot of problems. Prayer is supposed to be a divine process, free from the corruption of people. The fact that some benefit while others do not gives it a conditional feel. It isn't based on wealth, but being submissive, willing to listen to the promptings of a holy ghost, blah blah blah. So why do so many who really try never get a burning feeling? Why the silence? I've come to MY conclusion that it depends on each person's emotions. Some people get emotional over a touching McDonalds commercial. But I ramble...

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 5618
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Who still believes in prayer?

Post by Hagoth » Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:19 am

George Carlin said it more eloquently in 3 minutes than I could in a lifetime (NSFW language):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PlzbFxYy08c

I think miraculous stories of prayer are often heavily tainted by time-morphed memories, especially those told by adults about things that happened to them when they were young, or old men telling amazing missionary stories. If we had a look-back machine I think we would be very surprised by the actual timeline and details.

I would never discourage someone from praying. I believe prayer can be a great form of meditation, especially when it focuses on gratitude and self-understanding, rather than begging for cosmic hand-outs.

That said, just about everybody has a story or two of really cool apparent answers to prayers. Is it it cosmic interconnectedness or is it coincidence? There's no way of knowing. If we're honest with ourselves we could probably tell 10,000 stories of dead-end prayers for every prayer miracle.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

User avatar
RubinHighlander
Posts: 1726
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2016 7:20 am
Location: Behind the Zion Curtain

Re: Who still believes in prayer?

Post by RubinHighlander » Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:20 am

After the faith crash I went all athiest and stuck to science for a couple of years, mostly still in that space. There was no tolerance for any monkey man made BS after begin fooled that bad by TSCC!

Then later, I got into some experiences with nature, lots of herbal assisted meditative and psychedelic experiences. I had many a fun existential journey that always arrived in the same place: You Don't Know $hit about F**k! But I did start talking out loud and in my mind to something I call the Cosmo. I think of it as the great big expanding everything in our universe, but specifically the dark energy or background waves, vibrations, things that are beyond current practical physics. I think of it as me, the extension of me that is beyond my little ape ego that's stuck in this meat bag. I have had many experiences, metaphysical enough to seem beyond probabilistic, but still inside the realm of possible to keep me guessing.

I've learned I can ask the Cosmo for help to resolve the more complex issues in my life and the life of my loved ones. These requests are reasonable, but sometimes just out of my perceptual reach. I've learned that this puts me on a path of positive results. The really interesting part is how situations and events and people pop out of nothing to help me. It is almost like, dare I say, "tender mercies". But there they are and it's often a bit unsettling to me. But I roll with it and use it often.

I've come to understand there are cosmic connections between all of us. In my circle of 100-200 relationships, I've started to recognize a type of cosmic psyllium fiber network that often takes advantage of the digital one the sapiens have created. Some random unusual thought (nothing spoken out loud), then a few minutes or hours later, a text or something in social media. Now most of these are just patterns our brains create because that is how we are wired. However, this happens to me and others I've talked to enough to make us all wonder if our phones and other digital devices can actually read out thoughts. Perhaps they are just really good and nailing down our behaviors, based on our activity profile. The amount of data on every human on the planet is astounding and seems to grow at a similar rate as the expansion of the universe.

So, after all that to do about nothing, prayer? Not in any religious context, but definitely in some greater cosmic background communication information network we are plugged into. Feels a lot like a matrix sometimes. But I'll stick to my mantra acronym: IDKSAF
“Sir,' I said to the universe, 'I exist.' 'That,' said the universe, 'creates no sense of obligation in me whatsoever.”
--Douglas Adams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YzmYP3PbfXE

User avatar
nibbler
Posts: 708
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2016 7:12 pm

Re: Who still believes in prayer?

Post by nibbler » Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:26 am

I don't understand the story, particularly this bit:
stuck wrote:
Mon Sep 20, 2021 7:59 pm
was told there was another person with the same name that needed to be found first and he was
The guy got lost on a 50 mile hike, prayed and his answer was to "wait," presumably meaning "stay put," because when you're lost waiting until you're found is kinda what happens...

And there was someone else on that same hike with the same name that also got lost? And that person needed to be found first? And that they couldn't find him until they found the other person with the same name? Like there weren't enough people on the hike to do two simultaneous searches.

Maybe the other person needed insulin but I'm really not getting the significance of the same name angle. It sounds like it's a bad idea to go on a hike with those leaders. How many kids are they losing?

You only need to lose two kids for a chance at losing two kids with the same birthday but if you lose 367 kids it's a guarantee. Maybe it's something like that but the guy's name was Joseph Nephi Young III, making it more likely than the birthday scenario.
Last edited by nibbler on Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
We see things not as they are, but as we are ourselves. - H.M. Tomlinson

User avatar
Palerider
Posts: 2010
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:44 am

Re: Who still believes in prayer?

Post by Palerider » Tue Sep 21, 2021 7:43 am

I don't condemn or judge others who don't believe in prayer. In some ways it's understandable.

The LDS church makes promises to people in the way it teaches about prayer that are not true and that God has no obligation to keep.

They build expectations that are unrealistic when they assume to speak for God. Then when those expectations aren't met they attempt to massage one's understanding to believe they have been met, you just didn't recognize it.
So it's always your fault.

I think God works with each individual in a way very tailored to the person. That way of working may not always be what we want or expect.
"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

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 5618
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Who still believes in prayer?

Post by Hagoth » Tue Sep 21, 2021 11:26 am

I think we get the best results when we pray for ways to change ourselves to make things work for the best, rather than when we pray for the universe to change to fit our wants and needs.
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

stuck
Posts: 129
Joined: Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:48 pm

Re: Who still believes in prayer?

Post by stuck » Tue Sep 21, 2021 4:34 pm

A few months ago, I told my wife that I didn't really believe in God. We prayed for several weeks to see if we could get any answer that he/she/it existed and didn't seem to get an answer which kind of confirmed my belief. But when I hear stories like this it makes me wonder. But like Hagoth said maybe memories change a bit over time or like in one of my crucial testimony building answers to prayer where I had a couple of different investigators get answers to their prayers about the church on the same day after we had fasted for that (on my mission). But then during my faith crisis I went back and checked my journal and we may have prepared them for that by asking them to fast and pray about it (so maybe not so miraculous with that in mind).

But then you hear stories like where people received promptings to slow down before a kid runs out in front of them. It makes one wonder. But again, who knows all of the circumstances. If known maybe there would be a reasonable explanation for the prompting. Anyway, I kind of tend to not believe in prayer but perhaps I still have a small space in my head that might consider the possibility. And if I were in a life or death situation, I would probably be praying--guess it wouldn't hurt right?

Everyone: thanks for your responses!

Rubin: what does IDKSAF mean?

Nibbler: apparently he didn't wait. The other kid who was found first wasn't part of the group and had been lost for a couple of days. I don't think having the same name was of any significance.

User avatar
Red Ryder
Posts: 3352
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2016 5:14 pm

Re: Who still believes in prayer?

Post by Red Ryder » Tue Sep 21, 2021 5:00 pm

I’ll take “It’s Complicated for $800, Alex”

I’m somewhere between Palerider and Fluffy.

Don’t think directly prayers are “answered” but have found interactions similar to RubinHighlander’s prayers to the Cosmos.

Sometimes things just happen I can’t explain.

And I’m ok with that.

IDKSAF refers to here but “I” instead of “You”
“Rubin” wrote: Then later, I got into some experiences with nature, lots of herbal assisted meditative and psychedelic experiences. I had many a fun existential journey that always arrived in the same place: You Don't Know $hit about F**k!
Those who do not move do not notice their chains. —Rosa Luxemburg

User avatar
Hagoth
Posts: 5618
Joined: Fri Oct 14, 2016 1:13 pm

Re: Who still believes in prayer?

Post by Hagoth » Wed Sep 22, 2021 8:14 am

stuck wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 4:34 pm
But then during my faith crisis I went back and checked my journal and we may have prepared them for that by asking them to fast and pray about it (so maybe not so miraculous with that in mind).
I have a friend whose amazing mission stories became famous enough that he was asked to write a chapter for a book about amazing missionary stories. He went back and read his journal to make sure he was getting the facts right and was horrified to realize that the real stories were nothing like the ones he had been telling for decades. In fact, none of them were actually miraculous in any way after all. This guy, being a genuinely good and honest person, realized he had to pull his chapter from the project.
stuck wrote:
Tue Sep 21, 2021 4:34 pm
But then you hear stories like where people received promptings to slow down before a kid runs out in front of them.
I'm not going to say there is no truth to these stories (I hope there is because I believe there's far more to the universe than what our little brains perceive) but I will point out that our senses are gathering information all the time that isn't taking front and center in our Default Node Network but is being processed nonetheless. There could have been subtle information in the environment that signaled "children at play." Alternatively, the person might have slowed down for an entirely different reason but the appearance of a child gave it new significance in the driver's mind. We have pattern-seeking brains and we are constantly connecting things together that may or may not be related. The connection is that much more likely to be made if it is faith-affirming or supportive of our personal belief system. Life would be a lot less interesting without coincidences that take on meaning for us.

My favorite stories are the ones about amazing faith confirming facts that aren't even remotely facts at all. Someone in my ward in testimony meeting told us about how her little boy was playing in the road and was almost hit by a car. Thank goodness her parents were serving a mission in a faraway place, because if they weren't she's certain that little boy would have been killed by that car. Or the lady who felt a prompting to not drive down a certain road because something terrible would have happened if she did. Or our ward member who moved his family 7 times in a year, all within a mile radius because the spirit was guiding him to the place he needed to be. Or our bishop's son who felt an overwhelming prompting to run as fast as he could to Brother and Sister X's house to save them from a horrible disaster, only to find nobody home. But it was still a miracle because it was a test of his obedience. There should be a monthly column in the Liahona called "wrong road miracles."
“The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also.” -Mark Twain

Jesus: "The Kingdom of God is within you." The Buddha: "Be your own light."

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 21 guests