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PRAYER? What is it?

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PRAYER? What is it?

Postby Craig Browning » 13 Jul 2010, 19:17

Just so we can come up to steam here, this thread is a spin-off from http://www.debunkingskeptics.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1223&start=20 Where the following was put forth by Profwag in reply to babymathew.

babymathew wrote:
I believe in God and prayer is the best way to communicate with god. But you must have a faith in god then and only then your prayer will be answered. -


Prowag Replied:
Hopefully this isn't too far off topic, but if it is, I'll start a new thread,but just what is "prayer?"

I mean, I know the book answer, but people say they prayed and their prayers were answered. Well, what did they pray about that got answered? I mean, did people in Spain pray for their country to win the world cup? If so, did it work? Did people in the Netherlands pray to win the world cup? If so and it didn't work, then does that mean more Spaniards have a faith in God? What about people who are sick? Do people pray to heal the sick? What about all the people that end up dying? Does that mean the people praying for them didn't have faith? What about people who don't have faith (like me) who said "please God let me win the lottery" and I didn't. Does that mean I'm truly not spiritual? What about people of faith who are homeless who pray for shelter and they go out and find a cardboard box. Is that God's version of a joke or does that mean the homeless person didn't have faith?

So, just what is prayer and give me an example of a prayer that would work for a person of faith that wouldn't work for, say, me.


Prayer is a very interesting thing and contrary to the perception held by "the faithful" it is a form of "simple magick"... quite literally the act of putting "will" out and into the care of whatever it is out there that takes care of things. It's exactly the same thing as doing ritualized spell casting, be it the burning of a candle consecrated in a particular manner and burnt according to the lunar and planetary alignments, or some grand Kabalistic rite that takes years to organize... it's all the same thing! But there's an important point to this practice that was made long ago by a very controversial lady named Blavatsky... (to paraphrase)

Whenever our prayers are self-serving and expressions of our own will, we are delving into the black arts; prayer as well as magick, when done selflessly and without infection of our own desires and visualization, is pure.

When two nations come to battle the populace from either nation will will pray the same prayer, that their troops are protected and kept say and prove triumphant over their foe. We've been taught that this is a "good" prayer; one that is patriotic and yet, we are praying for the death and destruction of others. How is this good? How is it not part of a "dark will"?

Black Magick likewise prevails when someone prays "for" another without asking permission first; even when it is a prayer of good intent, such as healing of injury or disease. We trespass and impose our personal will onto the destiny and free will of our fellow and whenever we pray in ways that place our emotions, visualization and will onto the life of others, we are in the wrong.


I think, since we are going to discuss the idea of Prayer and getting it answered, that this perspective needs to be one side of the topic for one chief reason -- the idea that prayer can rob others of their own freedom of will... such as when folks pray for our soul. It's not their soul to pray for, it's mine! You wouldn't want random strangers preying on your car, would you? :roll:

The other point that must be weighed, if we are to give prayer itself any kind of merit, is the fact that when we pray selfishly "God's" answer is typically NO!

What's a Selfish Prayer? you ask.

The sick child, parent or spouse hanging on by a thread could fall into this category in that we would rather have them alive and in our lives ill and a shadow of there former self than dead, not suffering and moving on to better things... be it fertilizing the soil or some other mode of incarnation... If we are praying to win the Lottery or to be the key recipient in someone's will... these are selfish forms of prayer as are those (such as I've explained) in which the mother prays for the soul of her wayward child... it's ok to ask for protection and guidance but they must be allowed their free will (Parents are given a little leeway when it comes to the whole trespassing thing when it comes to their children).

The Selfless Prayer on the other hand is where we see no personal or direct gain. In other words, if we pray for that sick individual that they know healing that alleviates their suffering, we are consciously aware that said healing could mean their passing and we must understand this as being "Karmic"... a matter of both, destiny and the will of that individual.

When it comes to this scenario most of us view friends and family that are on their death bed as possessions which is why we fear their passing... they will no longer be in our lives. But we can't own them and they must be allowed to know their own destiny based on their own karma vs. our selfish, emotionally driven will.

All prayers are answered in some way, that's "the law" so to speak. The problem centers on our being willing to be willing to accept what the answer might be and why. Trust me when I say that even when a prayer don't go the way you wanted it to go, it was still answered in the manner it had to be answered; based on the karmic (for lack of a better term) conditions surrounding the issue being prayed about.

I have experienced all kinds of "miraculous" healing situations in which prayer, the laying on of hands, etc. were a part and I've experienced it from the perspective of patient as well as healer. I know it works but as I said, I also know that there are reasons when it "doesn't work"... which is actually our own inability or unwillingness to accept the answer given. But, in situations such as this we must look at the "Meta-physics" involved;

When you have three or more people gathered around someone for whom you are praying you are creating a "vortex" via the mutual focus of the group; a kind of cosmic channel that forces your will into the life of another. The more people you have sharing that same focus, especially if you are all working at the same time of day and possibly exploiting planetary energies, etc. the more intense this energy becomes; the collective is akin to a transformer generating a stronger current so to speak. All in all, it is nothing more than a ritualistic approach in which the will of a group is intended to change the destiny of others... again, it's black magick even though the guilty parties would claim otherwise. But look at how Prayer of this sort has brought about the virtual chasm that divides this nation right now. ;)
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 13 Jul 2010, 19:20

GREAT explanation Craig. Thank you.
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby ProfWag » 14 Jul 2010, 02:14

Craig Browning wrote:
I have experienced all kinds of "miraculous" healing situations in which prayer, the laying on of hands, etc. were a part and I've experienced it from the perspective of patient as well as healer. I know it works but as I said, I also know that there are reasons when it "doesn't work"... which is actually our own inability or unwillingness to accept the answer given. But, in situations such as this we must look at the "Meta-physics" involved;


Yes, thanks Craig.

Concerning the above statement, I too have witnessed and experienced "miraculous" healing situations in which one did NOT pray. So, if you know it works, how?
Example: Just last week, I had a mini trip planned for a long weekend. Thursday evening, I got deathly sick, possibly from some bad mayo. I wanted my life to end right there I felt so bad and even my dog wouldn't come around the bathroom. I told my spousal unit that I wasn't going to be able to go. I awoke at my usual time of 4:00 a.m. feeling fantastic and refreshed and had a great weekend. If I had prayed, then I could say my prayers were answered. I didn't pray so there was nothing to answer. So, if it works when one doesn't pray, how do we know that it's actually the result of divine intervention when one does pray?
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 14 Jul 2010, 02:20

So you are saying that not praying can have the same effect as praying?

Whoa! Reality.... what a concept. :lol:

BTW, please tell me you didn't do any 'ribbiting' during the purging of your tummy. :lol:
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby ProfWag » 14 Jul 2010, 02:40

NinjaPuppy wrote:So you are saying that not praying can have the same effect as praying?

Whoa! Reality.... what a concept. :lol:

Yes, that is what I am suggesting is possible, though contrary to what the pseudobelievers say is true and they "know," I have no proof that prayer doesn't work, of course... :P
NinjaPuppy wrote:BTW, please tell me you didn't do any 'ribbiting' during the purging of your tummy. :lol:

Next time you see the underwater pictures of the gulf oil spill, think of me... :-)
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby Craig Browning » 14 Jul 2010, 21:44

I agree, believe it or not.

THE MIND CREATES is one of the oldest metaphysical axioms going, one carried into the oath taken by doctors in the idea of "physician heal thyself"... 90% of what "cures" someone from an ailment come from the mind and personal will, not some invisible energy source or divine something or other. This is why (especially in "developed" cultures like the U.S.) the Placebo based prescription is so potent; doctors having to decide which will prove most effective, the $15.00 or $150.00 dollar dose... :o

I couldn't fathom "how" prayer and the rest of it "works" outside the metaphysical hypothesis I've studied over the years. While they do hold to certain aspects of Physics, they are still "theory" when looked at form the less "faith-filled" point of view.

I'm a very firm believer that one can exploit the concept of "changing the energy in order to change the manifestation"... if I change my poor or negative thought patterns as well as living habits I'm going to see a different outcome on the other end of things.

Another "theory" of my own that looks at that 24 hour ill mentioned... I think nature, for lack of a better term, tosses things like that into our life just to get us to slow down, turn off and REST. We of the late 20th and early 21st centuries try to do too much... far more than the human vehicle was designed to do... at least for now. The emotional and physical evolution of man hasn't caught up with the technological (mental) environment (demands) and as a result we get over-taxed and simply have to crash and re-boot. I think this happens through a number of influences, most of which we step into subconsciously, because we know we need the break but are too consciously driven to take one... at least the kind of break we require at the moment. . . but as I say, it's just a personal theory.

This is a HUGE topic with no real answers per ce, just an exercise for the mind and possibly the soul (for those of us that still have one). ;)
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby ProfWag » 14 Jul 2010, 22:14

It would definitely be a difficult thing to test. Obviously in the Catholic Church, they give sainthood to people whom supposedly have answered the prayers of people sick, but are there just as many people who heal that didn't pray? I have an opinion (yes, there are), but I don't have anything to back that up.
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby NinjaPuppy » 15 Jul 2010, 04:11

ProfWag wrote:It would definitely be a difficult thing to test. Obviously in the Catholic Church, they give sainthood to people whom supposedly have answered the prayers of people sick, but are there just as many people who heal that didn't pray? I have an opinion (yes, there are), but I don't have anything to back that up.

I recall that at some point in the past, some denomination decided to do a test of prayer and did a bit of research. Of course I doubt that they had any facts/figures to base the success/fail rate on for anything scientific.
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby ProfWag » 16 Jul 2010, 02:58

I did find this: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html
From the article:
"Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found.

And patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of post-operative complications like abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the expectations the prayers created, the researchers suggested."
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby Craig Browning » 16 Jul 2010, 22:07

ProfWag wrote:I did find this: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html
From the article:
"Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found.

And patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of post-operative complications like abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the expectations the prayers created, the researchers suggested."


I think this echoes what I said earlier about the placebo factor or, as it were, the power of belief/faith, which is a very difficult thing to shake; especially when people experience reinforcing "positive" outcomes... that is to say, prayers that "come true" in accordance to their personal will, vision, etc. vs. those that are "answered" in the negative or contrary to the personal whim.

Understand, this does not negate the power of prayer but rather, redefines it from a more psychological perspective. I personally believe that there is significant power... positive power... when it comes to the ritual of prayer and what it means; to pray in mind of thankfulness at meal time or, as the more primitive groups would, in gratitude for the animals slain for nourishment as well as the harvest. I think society has lost a great deal in way of decorum as we've migrated away from such a simple thing; the psychology surrounding it and similar casual conversations with god, encouraging the human animal to be a bit more "HUMAN"... a hint less audacious and more humble... respectful. Ritual, in all forms, hosts some powerful psychological dynamics and whether you want to believe "in" the idea behind such things, the experiential factors clearly aid our subconscious mind when it comes to dealing with "things" and functioning in a more positive, responsible and constructive manner in life. We've seen such truth revealed in formal studies tied to meditation techniques, yoga, tai chi, etc. so there's something to it. ;)
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby ProfWag » 16 Jul 2010, 23:56

Craig Browning wrote:
ProfWag wrote:I did find this: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/health/31pray.html
From the article:
"Prayers offered by strangers had no effect on the recovery of people who were undergoing heart surgery, a large and long-awaited study has found.

And patients who knew they were being prayed for had a higher rate of post-operative complications like abnormal heart rhythms, perhaps because of the expectations the prayers created, the researchers suggested."


I think this echoes what I said earlier about the placebo factor or, as it were, the power of belief/faith, which is a very difficult thing to shake; especially when people experience reinforcing "positive" outcomes... that is to say, prayers that "come true" in accordance to their personal will, vision, etc. vs. those that are "answered" in the negative or contrary to the personal whim.

Understand, this does not negate the power of prayer but rather, redefines it from a more psychological perspective. I personally believe that there is significant power... positive power... when it comes to the ritual of prayer and what it means; to pray in mind of thankfulness at meal time or, as the more primitive groups would, in gratitude for the animals slain for nourishment as well as the harvest. I think society has lost a great deal in way of decorum as we've migrated away from such a simple thing; the psychology surrounding it and similar casual conversations with god, encouraging the human animal to be a bit more "HUMAN"... a hint less audacious and more humble... respectful. Ritual, in all forms, hosts some powerful psychological dynamics and whether you want to believe "in" the idea behind such things, the experiential factors clearly aid our subconscious mind when it comes to dealing with "things" and functioning in a more positive, responsible and constructive manner in life. We've seen such truth revealed in formal studies tied to meditation techniques, yoga, tai chi, etc. so there's something to it. ;)

I agree that there's definitely something to it. Anything that makes one feel good about themselves is a positive thing (usually.)
Not sure if this is relevant, but my favorite book is "Man's Search for Meaning" by Dr. Victor Frankl. He was a Holocaust survivor and a Psychologist, but essentially what he says is that once a person has no reason to live, they start to deteriorate. He witnessed men in his camp who once they saw their wives and children dead, lost all hope of survival and simple gave up trying to live. Along the same lines, if someone is fighting for survival and know there are people who care about them, the will to survive becomes stronger. At least, that's kind of how I pereceive it...
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby Lilly » 19 Jul 2010, 21:55

I’m not a religious person but there is something going on. I use positive thinking and visualisation for healing during meditation and ‘something’ is responding. I don’t know what ‘it’ is but I don’t believe it’s something outside of myself. I believe it has more to do with what we are capable of that we are perhaps not fully aware of. And I believe it’s this ‘mental activity’ that so many people believe to be God or the universe responding. Sorry if that sounds too weird. I have been reading a lot lately and have more questions than answers at this point.
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby ProfWag » 19 Jul 2010, 22:08

Lilly wrote:I’m not a religious person but there is something going on. I use positive thinking and visualisation for healing during meditation and ‘something’ is responding. I don’t know what ‘it’ is but I don’t believe it’s something outside of myself. I believe it has more to do with what we are capable of that we are perhaps not fully aware of. And I believe it’s this ‘mental activity’ that so many people believe to be God or the universe responding. Sorry if that sounds too weird. I have been reading a lot lately and have more questions than answers at this point.

I don't disagree actually. If you were to ask me to go lift up a Volkswagen, I wouldn't be able to do it. But if there was a person trapped under the car, I'll bet I could lift it...
I do think there's something to it. I don't think it's anything paranormal, just one of those amazing human body abilities.
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby Lilly » 19 Jul 2010, 22:16

I’m not clear about what you don’t agree with. The rest of your post seems to be touching on what I was getting at, that it is more to do with us than it has to do with something outside of us. Sorry if I misunderstood. I’m new and just getting warmed up.
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Re: PRAYER? What is it?

Postby Lilly » 19 Jul 2010, 22:18

So sorry. You said you don't disagree. I need to read more carefully.
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