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Thoughts on prayer

There is something deep inside me, and I suspect deep inside every person, that requires us to commune with the source of life.
…..John Shelby Spong, Episcopalian bishop

Most people who pray say it helps them feel “connected” to their own spirituality and beyond themselves. That sense of being not so isolated can be very comforting.
…..Kevin Ladd – Prayer Is Ubiquitous for a Reason

On the one hand, talking to God in your mind is something people do intuitively. It’s like talking to your absent spouse, your dead grandmother, the person you had dinner with last night, your dog. On the other hand, experiencing those back and forth conversations and not dismissing God’s response as make-believe—that’s hard for people, particularly in a secular society.
…..T.A. Luhrmann. What Happens When We Pray?

I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
…..From “The Summer Day”, Mary Oliver

The quality of attention counts much in the quality of the prayer.
…..Simone Weil

Try silence and see where it leads.
…..Deepak Chopra

My favorite line about prayer comes from the writer Anne Lamott who says the two best prayers she knows are “Help me, help me, help me,” and “Thank you, thank you, thank you.” She recently added a third when earlier this spring, while admiring the cherry blossoms in Washington D.C., she twittered, “3rd great prayer, after Help and Thanks, is Wow!”
…..Andrew Frantz, From Sermons: The Dangling Conversation, June 10, 2012

From: William James. Varieties of Religious Experience, Lecture XIX.

Prayer in this wide sense is the very soul and essence of religion. . .
Prayer is religion in act; that is, prayer is real religion.
It is prayer that distinguishes the religious phenomenon from such similar or neighboring phenomena as purely moral or aesthetic sentiment.
Religion is nothing if it be not the vital act by which the entire mind seeks to save itself by clinging to the principle from which it draws its life. This act is prayer, by which term I understand no vain exercise of words, no mere repetition of certain sacred formula, but the very movement itself of the soul, putting itself in a personal relation of contact with the mysterious power of which it feels the presence . . .

Wherever this interior prayer is lacking, there is no religion;
wherever, on the other hand, this prayer rises and stirs the soul, even in the absence of forms or of doctrines, we have living religion.

Some reader comments to: Addicted to Prayer, by T. M. Luhrmann


I think people misunderstood the intent behind prayer.
It was never intended to ask for materialistic things, but rather to convey gratitude and acceptance and reinforce a positive mental state that will in turn affect the way you act and react to the world around you.
There is a great measure of inner peace in being grateful for what we have and humbled by powers tremendously much greater than ourselves.

There is no evidence that prayer heals. However, the people who are praying feel good.


My problem is with the word “prayer”.
In my mind, prayer and meditation are two very different things. I’m an atheist and I meditate, which for me is a function of mind development and self-reflection. I’m not talking to a non-existent sky fairy.

As an atheist, I find it hard to believe in prayer or any atheist praying . . .
He had to make up an imaginary god to pray to? Having a positive attitude would do much more for him than praying to some god he doesn’t believe in. This effort to make prayer seemingly for all, including atheists, is a laugh.

A bit of both

Prayer is a dodge, and a dodge is sometimes the best strategy when the personality is eating itself raw. One can only hope that when the crisis is past that one can return to life on life’s terms without the artificial warmth of the imaginary friend.

Jean-Paul Sartre wrote something to the effect that the birth of consciousness awoke us to was the absence of god. Sometimes the absence of god is all the god i have & yet i find in this, nevertheless, some kind of power. i pray as simply as i can.