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How does prayer work?

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posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 08:46 AM
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I see many threads and posts where people are asking for prayers or describing situations when prayer has worked for them. However when I ask these people how prayer works there is no rational explanation. In fact I have never been given an explanation as to how prayer works and why most prayers don't work. People who call for prayers or rely on prayers to get through their situations don't seem to have any idea why prayer worked in this situation and not the millions of others where it failed. There is certainly no consensus among those who claim that prayer works for them and there is certainly no way of testing if prayers do work. Or is there a way that this can be tested?

When athletes pray before they compete, does that give them some kind of advantage over the other team or their opponents? is this testable? It seems to be a very common belief. But what if the opponents we're also praying for victory? How does one come to a conclusion on The effectiveness of one sides prayers and the ineffectiveness of the other?

When students pray before they take an exam does that somehow give them an advantage over the other students or at least enable them to recall information better than without prayer at all? is this testable?

when your loved ones are sick, or are having some kind of surgery, do prayers increase the likelihood of recovery? if they do not recover, how would you explain this?

When someone calls for a prayer to have an elected official removed from office, is this a worthy use of prayer? if these prayers go forth and the elected official is not removed from office, what does that mean?

More or less I am asking for an explanation of how prayers work, and why most prayers don't work. I'm not really looking for anecdotes or stories of when you prayed for something and it happened. I don't think that will go very far to explain how prayer works.




posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 08:49 AM
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a reply to: Woodcarver

Many people think that prayer is something that you do to express gratitude for what you have received, opposed to only asking for something to be done for you.



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 08:53 AM
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a reply to: Woodcarver

Every religion would probably have a different answer to this. So I'll simply suggest that it could be an application of the "placebo effect". And for some people, it may simply help them calm down so they can think rationally (like how when someone's panicking, you tell them to take deep breaths & focus until they calm down).

I personally see it the opposite way, meaning that the placebo effect and some sports superstitions (like pregame rituals) are all applications of the power of faith.



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 08:53 AM
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a reply to: Woodcarver

Im not a religious person but I do pray to the universe. Have you ever heard of the law of attraction? I think that's at the essence of prayers and wether god exist or not, I think if you truly believe in something enough your mind will manifest it for you.

Very vague answer I know, but that's the best and most simple way I can explain what I think without getting too deep..



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 08:56 AM
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originally posted by: butcherguy
a reply to: Woodcarver

Many people think that prayer is something that you do to express gratitude for what you have received, opposed to only asking for something to be done for you.
Do people only express gratitude for things that they wanted to receive? What about things that God wanted you to receive that you didn't necessarily want? Shouldn't people express gratitude for those things too?
edit on 4-2-2017 by Woodcarver because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 08:57 AM
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originally posted by: enlightenedservant
a reply to: Woodcarver

Every religion would probably have a different answer to this. So I'll simply suggest that it could be an application of the "placebo effect". And for some people, it may simply help them calm down so they can think rationally (like how when someone's panicking, you tell them to take deep breaths & focus until they calm down).

I personally see it the opposite way, meaning that the placebo effect and some sports superstitions (like pregame rituals) are all applications of the power of faith.
I am a proponent that it is the placebo effect. Are you implying that the team with the most power of faith is going to be the team that wins?



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 08:58 AM
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originally posted by: knowledgehunter0986
a reply to: Woodcarver

Im not a religious person but I do pray to the universe. Have you ever heard of the law of attraction? I think that's at the essence of prayers and wether god exist or not, I think if you truly believe in something enough your mind will manifest it for you.

Very vague answer I know, but that's the best and most simple way I can explain what I think without getting too deep..



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 09:00 AM
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originally posted by: knowledgehunter0986
a reply to: Woodcarver

Im not a religious person but I do pray to the universe. Have you ever heard of the law of attraction? I think that's at the essence of prayers and wether god exist or not, I think if you truly believe in something enough your mind will manifest it for you.

Very vague answer I know, but that's the best and most simple way I can explain what I think without getting too deep..
thank you for your reply. So what about people who do not get what they pray for? Are you implying that they really did not want the things they were praying for, or perhaps that their faith is not strong enough to receive their wishes from the universe?



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 09:06 AM
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a reply to: Woodcarver

Or perhaps it's not in their best interest in the long run



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 09:10 AM
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prayer is essentially meditation, except a higher power of some sort is keeping tabs on your meditation and clocking your hours. because they have that kind of time i guess.



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 09:10 AM
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a reply to: Woodcarver

repetition of enforcing a good behavior, long term memory through repetition..



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 09:11 AM
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Hi Woodcarver,
You wrote a valid and honest question. I do think we were created to question, rationalize, test the world around us in order to approximate the truth. The trouble there is that science continually finds new evidence that invalidates old theories-- the quantum world has led us to question everything scientists had previously determined in many fields (correct me if I'm wrong).

So scientific proof of prayers being answered might not be as solid as you would like.

First of all, I definitely believe we are being blessed daily whether we pray or not. I can look back at the tragic times in my life and see that there had always been a thread of beneficence working through my and others' lives and I believe the ultimate intent is to call all souls to join the Force
If I may use a Star Wars analogy.

I believe prayer functions as a conversation, a closeness between us and our maker. I truly cannot speak for others but have found that praying feels really good- it makes me feel a joyful and peaceful energy and an intimacy with a truly loving being. I also think that God has answered certain prayers for me in such a blatant way in order to strengthen our relationship (I am a newfound believer in God and know all the doubts and arguments against because I once held them) and I think he does the same for others who have doubts but also a desire for something powerful outside the realm of our understanding and senses and as well as those who have stronger faith than I (or no faith at all- if they decide to pray).

In order to understand unanswered prayers, I think we would have to be able to see the bigger picture. I truly think that time and space would reveal that everything works for the good of us all (whether that be through suffering or through joyful times). I have children and do not and cannot give them everything they ask for, but do give them everything they need (and especially love).

Look forward to your response.
edit on 4-2-2017 by zosimov because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 09:11 AM
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originally posted by: Woodcarver

originally posted by: butcherguy
a reply to: Woodcarver

Many people think that prayer is something that you do to express gratitude for what you have received, opposed to only asking for something to be done for you.
Do people only express gratitude for things that they wanted to receive? What about things that God wanted you to receive that you didn't necessarily want? Shouldn't people express gratitude for those things too?

Different people do different things.
It sounds like you think people should express gratitude for things that they didn't want.

Let me ask you this:
If I dumped a pickup load of dog feces on your front porch, would you thank me?



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 09:13 AM
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originally posted by: visitedbythem
a reply to: Woodcarver

Or perhaps it's not in their best interest in the long run
How is that testable? That just seems like a cop out, and does nothing to explain how prayer actually works. What about entire teams? Surely a win wouldn't be detrimental to every member of a team?



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 09:14 AM
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originally posted by: butcherguy

originally posted by: Woodcarver

originally posted by: butcherguy
a reply to: Woodcarver

Many people think that prayer is something that you do to express gratitude for what you have received, opposed to only asking for something to be done for you.
Do people only express gratitude for things that they wanted to receive? What about things that God wanted you to receive that you didn't necessarily want? Shouldn't people express gratitude for those things too?

Different people do different things.
It sounds like you think people should express gratitude for things that they didn't want.

Let me ask you this:
If I dumped a pickup load of dog feces on your front porch, would you thank me?
I'm not a believer in gods. But for those who do believe in God and let God controls the entire universe, shouldn't they except that as a gift from God? What if it's the best thing for them in the long run?
edit on 4-2-2017 by Woodcarver because: (no reason given)



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 09:16 AM
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originally posted by: tikbalang
a reply to: Woodcarver

repetition of enforcing a good behavior, long term memory through repetition..

I have no idea what you were talking about as with most of your posts. Would you care to explain in more detail?



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 09:16 AM
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originally posted by: Woodcarver

originally posted by: enlightenedservant
a reply to: Woodcarver

Every religion would probably have a different answer to this. So I'll simply suggest that it could be an application of the "placebo effect". And for some people, it may simply help them calm down so they can think rationally (like how when someone's panicking, you tell them to take deep breaths & focus until they calm down).

I personally see it the opposite way, meaning that the placebo effect and some sports superstitions (like pregame rituals) are all applications of the power of faith.
I am a proponent that it is the placebo effect. Are you implying that the team with the most power of faith is going to be the team that wins?


I'm not talking about the results. I'm just giving nonreligious explanations for why people may feel that prayers & other faith-based rituals help. It can create a false sense of security, reinforce a comfort zone, give the perception of having good luck, make the person feel more capable (placebo effect), etc.



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 09:19 AM
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a reply to: Woodcarver

The laws of attraction works both ways and doesn't discriminate. It doesn't know between good or bad but only what the mind manifests..

It's a very deep subject, and it's not as simple as just wanting something so bad and asking for it. Also very difficult to explain on a few words or even paragraphs.

I will tell you this though. At the highest levels of power around the world (and I mean people that ultimately control and influence the world) especially in the occult they all practice some form of this. It's also at the core of Satanism (which has nothing to do with Satan). Very powerful stuff.

You should look into this more if you are interested.



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 09:20 AM
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originally posted by: Woodcarver

originally posted by: butcherguy

originally posted by: Woodcarver

originally posted by: butcherguy
a reply to: Woodcarver

Many people think that prayer is something that you do to express gratitude for what you have received, opposed to only asking for something to be done for you.
Do people only express gratitude for things that they wanted to receive? What about things that God wanted you to receive that you didn't necessarily want? Shouldn't people express gratitude for those things too?

Different people do different things.
It sounds like you think people should express gratitude for things that they didn't want.

Let me ask you this:
If I dumped a pickup load of dog feces on your front porch, would you thank me?
I'm not a believer in gods. But for those who do believe in God and let God controls the entire universe, shouldn't they except that as a gift from God? What if it's the best thing for them in the long run?

It seems like your argument is about the nonexistence of God.

I will suppose that you would choose to not express gratitude towards me if I soiled your porch for you.



posted on Feb, 4 2017 @ 09:28 AM
link   

originally posted by: zosimov
Hi Woodcarver,
You wrote a valid and honest question. I do think we were created to question, rationalize, test the world around us in order to approximate the truth. The trouble there is that science continually finds new evidence that invalidates old theories-- the quantum world has led us to question everything scientists had previously determined in many fields (correct me if I'm wrong).

So scientific proof of prayers being answered might not be as solid as you would like.

First of all, I definitely believe we are being blessed daily whether we pray or not. I can look back at the tragic times in my life and see that there had always been a thread of beneficence working through my and others' lives and I believe the ultimate intent is to call all souls to join the Force
If I may use a Star Wars analogy.

I believe prayer functions as a conversation, a closeness between us and our maker. I truly cannot speak for others but have found that praying feels really good- it makes me feel a joyful and peaceful energy and an intimacy with a truly loving being. I also think that God has answered certain prayers for me in such a blatant way in order to strengthen our relationship (I am a newfound believer in God and know all the doubts and arguments against because I once held them) and I think he does the same for others who have doubts but also a desire for something powerful outside the realm of our understanding and senses and as well as those who have stronger faith than I (or no faith at all- if they decide to pray).

In order to understand unanswered prayers, I think we would have to be able to see the bigger picture. I truly think that time and space would reveal that everything works for the good of us all (whether that be through suffering or through joyful times). I have children and do not and cannot give them everything they ask for, but do give them everything they need (and especially love).

Look forward to your response.
I can also say that i have had a pretty good life. I have never prayed to any gods. Even through my rough times, i got through them with no pleas to a higher power. You say that god works for the best interest for all? But some have it much rougher than others. Even some atheists have a pretty good life while die hard religious folks lose children to terrible circumstances. To say that there is a higher power is a claim that has never been proven, but to say that it works for the benefit of all is easily disproven.




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