blogging gobbledygook and such

As a free-thinker / agnostic / theist of sorts, do not pray at all in everyday life.

… Okay, there are a few exceptional moments. Despite not having a religion, would actually pray to God – Jesus comes to mind, though would usually concentrate on the idea of God himself, perhaps because that’s the only religion have been exposed to when young – when am worried for the safety of someone, or in extreme nausea (am emetophobic – fear of vomiting).

Prayer helps when you’re in the moment of utmost despair and helplessness. It helps to think that you could clutch on to a hope provided by something divine to give you a miracle, as unlikely as it may seem – because let’s face it, there’s nothing to lose by praying. Except if you feel that by praying you’re being hypocritical about your personal beliefs. It’s like you don’t care for a certain friend which you have, and when you need the help of that friend, you let go your apprehension about said friend and seek help, but when you’re done you’re back to ignoring that friend.

So going by that, is prayer only for people with religion? Would it lessen your beliefs if as someone who doesn’t practice any faith, you suddenly break down and start praying?

Comments on: "Is prayer only for the religious?" (15)

  1. First, what is religion? To me, religion is an institution. One of the definitions of religion in the Free Dictionary is:

    A personal or institutionalized system grounded in such belief and worship.

    This, IMO, is a more accurate definition of what religion is.

    I’m a Christian, because I believe Jesus Christ is my saviour; but I’m not Catholic, Protestant or Jeohovah’s witness – to name a few religions. I don’t congregate – though I should, and a cuss a freaking lot. So what I’m trying to say here? basically, I live a life that many would not consider a Christian life… and I don’t care.

    So, is in my opinion that you can pray and not have a religion. You can believe in God and not have a religion. There’s nothing wrong with that.

    I think I once told you the kind of Christian I am, but I think that like you, I consider myself a free thinker and, of course, respect others’ beliefs as I expect others respect mine.

    sulz: there is a difference between a free-thinker than a “liberal” christian…

    yeah, well, guess at the end of the day it’s what you choose to believe… 🙂

  2. A provocative question here, sulz. I post a lot about spirituality, but do not consider myself religious or devoted to a particular religious entity. I think all religious traditions have something to offer, and it would be out-of-character for me to assume just one. I don’t regularly pray, but I do meditate which, to me reinforces my connection, so I know it’s there in times of discomfort. I think one can pray without being religious and can be religious without praying. 8)

    sulz: what does meditating do? mean, are meditating and praying almost the same thing?

    can’t picture a religious person who doesn’t pray, because prayer is an important activity in a person’s relationship with god, isn’t it? but then again, if one can pray without being religious, there’s no reason why it can’t work the other way round too…

    hmm… 🙂

  3. A ‘difference’? What would that be?

    sulz: that the ‘liberal’ christian believes in jesus christ more than the free-thinker who might think of jesus on the basis that s/he has been exposed to that religion…

  4. Nope, I don’t think prayer is only for the religious. I’m an atheist and still even I end up praying sometimes. As you said, it’s like feeling that there is still some hope and that everything will be fine. It’s but natural to do that. When I pray, I don’t use words such as Jesus or Allah or whatever, it’s only praying to God. I strictly hate the concept of religions. Their basic teachings are the same and hence they’re only a way of dividing people and that’s exactly what we don’t need. Religion is a way in which people try to reach God but prayer for me is just a way of letting go of my worries and for a moment believe that there is someone up there who’ll take care of my problems and I can be carefree.

    sulz: wouldn’t that make you an agnostic (a person who believes in the existence of god but does not subscribe to any religion in particular)?

    yeah, people pray for many reasons but mostly it’s to let go their worries in the belief that a higher being is listening and could do something about it…

  5. when i pray i pray, it’s not like i do it in a set method according to a particular religion. i mumble stuff to myself hoping the creator will hear it and help me.

    i’m not a religious person. but i don’t mind praying when i feel like it. 😀

    sulz: yeah, prayer does ease the conscience / soul … therapeutic stuff when you can’t confide in someone.

  6. Thanks for asking, sulz, you’ve started quite a discussion! The difference between prayer and meditation, at least for me, is that meditation is a quieting, centering practice to help to relieve myself of the distractions of everyday thoughts. I can then reach a place of knowing that my connection with the divine is clear and open. Prayer, on the other hand is petitionery (at least the way I was taught to understand it). I am asking or promising, or otherwise addressing a creator who is separate from myself. As I don’t particularly believe that creator is separate from creation, it appeals to me less as a practice.
    BTW, “agnostic” comes from the Greek: gnosis=knowing, so agnostic=not knowing. An agnostic, then, would be a person who either doesn’t know if God exists, or believes we cannot know for sure. But such person is open to further knowledge. See what you get when you pick a serious subject? 8)

    sulz: hmm, interesting! would you say meditation and prayer are different ways of spending time with god?

    well, as humans, there’s no definite proof to us of the existence of god scientifically, yet what we see and feel around us, how can it not be created by a higher and more powerful being than us?

    or have we been conditioned to think that everything must be created by something or someone? only then the big bang theory would have sufficed!

  7. I’m not religious but I pray and thank for what I get.

    Would singing Christian songs in a church be blasphemy when one is not a Christian?

    sulz: hmm, am not sure too. on one hand, you may look like a wet blanket when you go to church but refuse to sing during worship. on the other hand, you might feel uncomfortable singing because it’s worship.

    but would think christians are generally happy if their non-christian friends are willing to sing along with them during worship?

  8. As an atheist, I do not pray. At least, not to God. I do not believe that there’s a mightier being out there somewhere. I have nothing against other people’s religions though. But it’d be better if some of the extremist don’t go around pushing you to believe in their God.

    For me, whenever I feel lost or in need of help, I’d pray, for myself to be stronger. But not for the guidance of God. Just my 2 cents.

    sulz: praying to yourself as personal motivation? hmm… why not? 😉 we all do some form of personal motivation, though it varies from individual to individual, of course.

  9. IMO mused editions said it all when describing the difference between meditation and prayer. I do not separate myself from creation by “praying” or petitioning i.e. pleading with anyone for anything called creator and placed outside of creation. I meditate.

    sulz: thanks for reiterating museditions, have a better idea of what’s meditating and praying now. 🙂

  10. I believe anyone can pray at any time as many times as the want. But it is better to pray daily, even if it is a small prayer. This is one of those do as a say not what I do situations, as I do not pray daily. But then, one has to stop and ask ones self “what exactly is a prayer”? IMO a prayer is any thought you have towards God. You don’t have to kneel down on the floor, put your hands together and recite the Our Father, a prayer is any thing that comes from your heart.

    sulz: yes, intention / sincerity is the most important element in our prayer, not the form of it!

  11. Yes, that would make me an agnostic. But mostly I’m an atheist. I turn into an agnostic only in the exam days. 😛

    sulz: haha! 😆 selective belief at its finest!

  12. we’re all selective believers, some more than others.

    sulz: kind of like a buffet of beliefs eh? 😉

  13. Great post sulz! I’m not that religious anymore, so I’m probably something of an agnostic as well. I do pray on occasions, usually moments when I feel like there’s nothing else left, or times when I feel like I’ve been touched by something I can’t explain.

    Anyone can pray, but I think the prayer is different. When someone prays who has faith they’re looking to have a conversation with God, to share their thoughts and hopes and fears; it’s a communion. For others who pray I think it’s different; they’re looking to be reassured and to empty themselves, to face something or find closure. I think the act is the same but the experience is different based on what the person is seeking. That’s the same reason singing in church would be different as well; non-Christians might sing and feel joy, but for Christians it’s an expression of their worship and different.

    I always find it hard describing to people what I believe; they have this idea that if you lose faith, it’s this moment where you suddenly turn against everything, like you’ve fallen to the Dark Side. But for me I just found that what I was being told didn’t equal what I was feeling anymore; after 9/11, Bali, and as the months went by, I felt less and less in touch with that. And that’s how I still feel. I think faith is a beautiful thing and I respect whatever anyone believes… I guess I’m still finding my own way and I hope people respect that too. 😉

    sulz: thanks, but it’s comments like yours that really add to the post! like how you differentiate prayer between the religious and non-religious (terms used very loosely here).

    sometimes there are people who are so into their faith they see things in black and white as what their religion says about believers and unbelievers. but in this time and age it’s more acceptable that people have different perspectives about religion, even if they believe in the same god.

  14. timethief said:

    All “religions” are exclusionary. All “religions” preach the concepts that their believers are the only true believers and last remaining remnants. In the case of “prayer” when it comes to followers of Jesus Christ they can find his instructions in the New Testament. If you do the research then you will note that none of them include sanctioning of prayers of personal petition along the lines of “please help me ace this exam or “please give me a new car”. People who pray along those lines are IMHO ill informed and spiritually immature.

    sulz: am not sure about that bit. people have prayed to god for things and give thanks in prayer when they do get something good. if personal petition aren’t proper in religious prayer, then giving thanks shouldn’t be necessary either, should it? or is it boiled down to the way people interpret the bible?

  15. glennafae hammond said:

    I’m a Christian,and I think unless you have accepted the fact that God came to earth in human form for the sole purpose of dying for my sins and giving me the chance to accept Him as my Saviour, that your prayers are just thoughts going forth from your brain. When you die, you’ll have complete understanding of what the Bible is and why it was written. God chose to give us a free will and you chose NOT to accept Him, so your prayers aren’t even heard.

    sulz: thank you for your perspective.

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