Are You Praying or Wishing Upon a Star?
What Prayer is...
For me, prayer is an attempt to feel connected to something greater than myself. Prayers are a meditative state in which I feel open, centered, focused and usually they are a source of inspiration and peace. When I pray I talk to God as if my 'Imaginary' friend were sitting there with me, and most times I feel God's presence (or what I have come to call God's presence). I percieve things differently when I pray, and have come to identify my changed perceptions as God's answering voice. That my perceptions, and what I have decided those mean, might be only my own invention doesn't bother me at all. Like the Atheists, I reason that since I am convinced, and since there is no proof to the contrary, I must be right. Sometimes my prayers aren't peaceful and calm. Sometimes I'm mad when I pray. Sometimes that is how I deal with stressful situations I have no power to change. Prayer in my humble opinion is different for each person as God intended it to be.
seyiari wrote: "I REALLY WANT TO KNOW THE MEANING OF PRAYER." The anger some Atheists displayed in answer to seyiari's question surprised me.
h.a.borcich wrote: "Q, My praying bothers you apparently. I cannot answer why God allows the suffering He does, as I have stated many times over. "
Q responded, "There are a great deal of potential answers as to why your god does nothing. Hence, your praying to him for whatever irrelevancies one can imagine are most certainly a bother to anyone who must hear all about the wonderful things your god allegedly does when he actually does nothing at all. See?"
h.a.borcich stated: "Perhaps you should help feed the starving children, too. We all need to help. Holly"
Q responded: "Yes, I'll feed the starving children, you do nothing and pray for your own needs. Very helpful, Holly. And if I ever hear of your god answering one of your prayers while those same children starve to death, I'll be sure to jump in and remind you."
What Prayers are not...
Prayers are not wishing on a star. Praying in order to get God to use magic to fix our own, or worldly problems, isn't what praying is about. Some people feel that God doesn't exist based on the fact that when we pray, God doesn't do what we wish. When the instantaneous 'magical' answer that fixes all of humanities problems, doesn't manifest, some Atheists believe that proves that God doesn't exist. To these few people that is proof that God and prayer is useless. Imagine how you would be if your parents had simply done everything for you as a kid. Instead of making you clean your room, fold your own cloths, mow the lawn, or do the dishes. If your parents just 'took care' of everything for you, what kind of person do you think you would be? What if all you had to do was 'pray' and Mom would come and do your homework for you. In my case I believe I would be a spoiled, self-centered cry baby, that was incapable of caring for myself, or able to deal with the problems I faced later in life. What about once you grew up and had children of your own. Wouldn't it be a logical assumption that you would be unable to care for your children. Who would 'take care' of all your problems after your parents died? You see my point, God doesn't do it for us, God teaches us that we must do it for ourselves. So the next time you pray and God doesn't jump right up and fix all your problems, it isn't because God didn't hear you, it isn't because God isn't capable of doing it, It is because God loves you enough to make you do it yourself.
What Prayers Accomplish...
Praying when done correctly brings about a joining, a sense of community, with God and with other people. It promotes peace, serenity, acceptance, and mental clarity. A person can take themselves to a better 'place' (state of mind), by praying. Through the use of prayer this same person may find themselves better able to accomplish tasks, like writing this article. I find prayer attunes me to God and I have learned to accept God's input. An example of this phenomenon is the re-writing or editing of this article. I had finished it, I thought, but I had a 'nagging' feeling. I have come to recognize this feeling as an aspect of the voice of God. I listened to God and prayed, the prayer brought me to this article. I re-read the article and I realized it was missing this paragraph. Prayer, though sublime, is not powerless. It is actually very powerful, it is through a joining with God that I find my creativity. I believe that as people were reading the flawed version of this article they were thinking, something is missing. God heard them, and responded to their thoughts (or prayers) by giving me that nagging feeling. Which drew me back to make the corrections. It is because I pray that I feel at peace and why I know God is with me. It is through Prayer that I have learned to listen to the voice of God. I also pray to myself... some people call it talking to myself (...Grinning...), I think my way of wording it is better. I sometimes argue with God in prayer, as I sometimes argue with myself. Sometimes that is the same thing. The only times I don't enjoy prayer are those times when either I am arguing with myself and losing, or arguing with God. My arguments with God have mostly been about God's refusal to magically make my problems disappear. I, like any child, am still convinced that magic is the easiest, and therefore, best way to solve everything. God remains adamant however, saying that I'm mistaken, that my logic is flawed, that they really aren't even problems, they are opportunities... and without them, I would not exist.
I feel obliged to say something about the starving children Q was mentioning. I think that we as a nation (the United States) have come to believe that we can, by simply giving food to 'starving nations', fix the problems of those nations. I further believe that is not the case. I believe that may be a good temporary fix, for a non-chronic problem, but that to truly solve the problem they must learn how to feed themselves. Just like God's refusal to 'magically' fix the things we do not want to fix ourselves. We must show these 'starving nations' how to do it themselves, and then allow them to do so, or not, as they choose. We have tried to teach farmers in those countries better ways to cultivate the land, better crops to plant. Better ways to store and preserve foods. They refuse to adapt, they refuse to adopt the new methods, they prefer to do things the way they always have and rely on the generosity of other nations to 'magically' fix the problem by giving them the rest. In the long run it only hinders their growth as a nation and as a people. They must fix their own countries, or allow their countries to perish. It is a case of tough love, and so are the 'unanswered prayers'.
You, and they, are in my Prayers today, and Always.