Everyday millions of people take a portion of their time to speak to their God(s) however is it actually worthwhile? Or is it just the unheard pleas of humans trying to find answers for questions which are unreachable? We are going to consider a couple aspects of prayer. What does praying accomplish in reality? Which prayers are listened to? Action versus prayer. Self affirmation and placebo effect. Is there any scientific evidence for prayer?
Most major religions involve praying in some form. Some ritualize the prayer, requiring a strict pattern of actions or placing a restriction on who is allowed to pray, while others teach that prayer may be practiced anywhere, any time and in the spare of the moment. Most believe that somehow their words reach their God(s) through supernatural means and are considered by God(s). However how does that actually translate into the real world? Most people tend to speak about thanking for their life, food, praying for others health and peace in the world. On the other hand are any of these prayers “necessary”. For example many pray before they begin to eat to thank God for the provision. But let’s look at it this way; your foods journey to your plate could include many stages. It could start of as poor third world workers working 14 hours a day to cultivate the food, after that, it is processed in a factory were many of the workers are under paid and work long hour to put food on their own tables ironically. Then many of these companies who produce food then see how much immoral profit they can make thus selling it to the big stores and supermarket, where finally we pick up the food and bring it to our homes. Much of our food is gained through exploitation so really what are we praying to God for? The fact that people suffer so that we can have nice food? Or the fact that, those who toils over the food we get may not even eat? I leave that with you to interpret if think God really aided the food to your table.
Another issue raised by the possibility of prayers, is what prayers are expectable to listen too? For all we know most if not everything that seems to occur because of prayer could be coincidence. Many though seem to jump to conclusions when they feel like their prayers have been heard and proclaim that “God is good!” because a certain out come favored them. I have seen this on many and countless occasions, a situation may favor someone like an achieved job, goal or grades and people are so quickly to spew out God aided them, but does that not call in to question that everyone who didn’t fall on favorable circumstances didn’t have God on their side? Some may say that wasn’t Gods purpose for them in life but how would you know, so God thinks it fine that someone desperate for a job is turned away only to turn to alcohol, yes “God is definitely good!”. On a grander scale this even more controversy for example someone to suggest that God heard their prayer over something relatively silly to the world as your GCSE, but didn’t listen to the prayers of innocent Jewish children who in concentration camps cried their hearts out in prayer not to be killed and yet were still gassed horrifically. Does that seem appropriate for everyone to dare profess that their prayers have been answered, when so many do not have their prayers answered and theirs could be much more of a priority. Really in my opinion its arrogance and disgusting to say that God listened to “your” specific prayer above many others who really deserved their prayer to be answered, but rather were slaughtered being innocent and good.
Prayer versus action is very interesting. It really boils down to life dealing you a poor situation, and the “comfort” people seek from prayers. There is 2 scenarios either (1) pray and leave it to God to deal with in his own time or (2) pray and act on your own independence just in case God does not come to your rescue ( do not hold your breath for an answer). There’s no point in praying if you’re going to take it into your own hands anyway, because whether you’re praying or not the same outcome that will arrive. Individuals may say that people should have the free will to have their own comforts? To a degree I respect that but um… No, not when you contradict reality that’s clear foolishness. To cherry pick the rationality and acceptably of false comforts from prayers is ludicrous, no one will ever agree on lines of stupidity. Rather actions always trump prayers, and the thing about prayers goes straight out the window when people buckle down and actually do something.
Prayer can really just be the brains use of placebo and self affirmation. “God give me the strength to become successful and earn money,” is a positive self affirmation. The person who believes in God believes God has heard his prayer and believes God will give him strength, each trial that is overcome is proof that God is helping, not proof of his own persistence. So the person believes that the success goal will be accomplished with the help of a god. The very same thing can be accomplished with positive affirmation and no mention of God at all. “I will overcome each and every problem I face today as best I can. The ones I can not overcome, I will overcome tomorrow.” “God is always with me and helping me to deal with life.” can be very powerful tools psychologically, emotionally and functionally even though there is no God (Due to lack of evidence) It is the belief that is important and not the reality. Believing is often seeing and not the other way around.
Is there any science behind God? In 2006 the “Great Prayer Experiment” took place, using1,802 coronary artery bypass surgery patients at six hospitals. Using double-blind protocols, patients were randomized into three random groups, but without measuring individual prayer receptiveness. The experimental and control Groups 1 and 2 were informed they may or may not receive prayers, and only Group 1 received them. Group 3, which tested for possible mental effects, was informed they would receive prayers and subsequently did. The congregations of three Christian churches who prayed for the patients “were allowed to pray in their own manner, but they were instructed to include the following phrase in their prayers: ‘for a successful surgery with a quick, healthy recovery and no complications’. Some participants complained that this mechanical way they were told to pray as part of the experiment was unusual for them. Major complications and thirty-day mortality occurred in 52 percent of those who received prayer (Group 1), 51 percent of those who did not receive it (Group 2), and 59 percent of patients who knew they would receive prayers (Group 3). Some prayed-for patients fared worse than those who did not receive prayers.
People may say this experiment is flawed because God cannot be tested or trialled but really what basis do you have for believing in prayers at all, and they may answer well “I know personally God answers prayers” WRONG. That does not translate into the real world, just because you think something is true doesn’t mean its true, I could believe that there are unicorns that ride the milky way of course there’s no way for me to prove it, but there’s also no way for you to disprove it. So let us not get so wrapped up in false comforts that we think things are factual just because we believe we are real, delusion is an art of the mind.
To summarize this as a whole, praying may feel like a very integral part of people’s lives but if you de-construct prayers and look at it really it’s like a leaking china pot. Its holds no weight but its assumed by many it has. Really its empty words pending on human hearts to hope it works. It’s as desolate as a dessert mirage that holds the illusion of hope but is rather a trickery of the mind that keeps you chained to false comforts that do not allow you purse a goal single-handedly and independently. By reading this piece, you do not have to disagree or agree, you can simply take in my point of view. As a ex Catholic, I have come to a conclusion that, personally prayers do not work, and it’s actually down to your own actions that bring the outcome.