I'll pray for you
One thing over the years social media has made me painfully aware of is how many times I see someone use the phrase "I'll pray for you" and the outcome is bad. Recently a friend of mine who at one time was my manager where I worked got cancer. A lot of people were praying for him. He had one chemo treatment and he was gone.
A while back I had to go to the hospital for some test. No big deal I'm fine but at the time my sister who goes to church regularly said she was praying for me. A very cynical though came into my head. " It was please don't. The last few people you prayed for are now dead". I didn't say it because I new it would be wrong to do so. She doesn't have the same sarcastic sense of humor I have.
It's not that in the past I haven't felt praying for people doesn't make any difference one way or the other. I'm pretty sure that's how I felt even back in my JW days though that was a long time ago and it is hard to remember exactly what I thought back then. The thing is now in the age of social media I see the "praying for you" or I'll pray for you" comments so often that when there is a bad outcome to the situation its more in my face than it was before.
Just wondering what others think on this subject.
I'm praying that Outlaw will see this and have a comment :)
Prayer puzzles me. It always has. I don't think I will ever not be puzzled about prayer - despite people's valiant attempts to explain prayer's innate impotence or interpret my lack of faith in prayer as a bruising consequence of my JW background. Ha! I was cynical about prayer even as a door-knocking JW. It has always been a chink in my armor. Thank God!
Why pray? Doesn't God already know? Does he need a verbalized request to intervene - or, as seems the case from various internet posts (BTW: not this forum) requests for as many prayers as possible? How does that make a difference? Is prayer more powerful the more people who pray for you - kind of like a popularity contest? "Sorry, God will not answer your prayer because you only got 50 people to pray whilst your neighbor will be helped because she got 500".
I know many people only use the phrase as a comforter - and/or something to say because hearing bad news disturbs people in terms of social niceties. I suspect that many people who say, "I'll pray for you" would feel speechless if they couldn't say it - they'd be face-to-face with their humanity which is not always sweetness and light. Horrible things happen that will not go away. Pray makes not a blind bit of difference - unless you're into placebo effects.
Besides WTF should God intervene to help me whilst in Syria untold hundreds of thousands of fellow humans are wrenched from family, neighborhoods, livelihoods and life itself?
Nice comfortable me and people saying they'll pray for me. It is at once infantile and impotent and highly selective. I don't want any part of it. And I sure as hell won't be praying for anyone else. On the other hand, I will often be impelled to express my heartfelt desire that people get better if unwell and find comfort if grieving and/or take practical steps to find wellbeing wherever it can reasonably and trustingly be found.
"Is prayer more powerful the more people who pray for you - kind of like a popularity contest? "Sorry, God will not answer your prayer because you only got 50 people to pray whilst your neighbor will be helped because she got 500".
Kind of reminds me of Facebook. Does God work on "likes" system. "If I can get 5000 likes I'll help this person"
steve2 you're too logical. I'll pray for you!
my sister who goes to church regularly said she was praying for me. A very cynical though came into my head. " It was please don't.
The last few people you prayed for are now dead".
ROFL @ Outlaw.
Your prayer is answered, IQ.
If someone has received prayers due to sickness and gets better that is proof that he listens to prayers. Wouldn't a loving god want to make someone better without being begged to do so? Would you need to be begged to help a loved one or even a stranger to feel better?
If someone has received prayers and doesn't get better and dies then it is just time and unforeseen occurrences that befall us all and it just points to the need of a paradise earth that is just around the corner. We are so close you better not buy any yellow bananas.
It always pissed me off when some JW would say, like it happened to my mom: "Sister. I had a huge headache and I prayed to Jehovah and in an hour it was gone!" What bullshit, I thought to myself. I thought: Is Jehovah that meticulous and manipulating to be paying attention to a stupid headache? Can't these people figure out that the headache would have gone away eventually? I neglected to ask if they had taken an aspirin.
There have been numerous "prayer studies" most of which, in my estimation, show no correlation between the beseeching and desired results, especially those studies where the prayer is from a group of people on behalf of another individual. My best guess why people like to pray for others is due to the clustering illusion. It's a logical fallacy.
In spite of that, I think there's another mechanism when prayer is conducted meditatively for yourself. That is related to the "placebo" effect and has been demonstrated in clinical tests. Doctors have know for years that there is a certain positive mental effect which can make someone heal or go into remission from cancer but defeats someone else who just gives up. Whether that is manifested via prayer, strong belief, meditation, belief in lifestyle changes, etc, is not of much consequence as long as it has the desired mind/body effect.
I just refuse to reply to people or agree with them on FB when they request for prayers. I don't think Jehovah is computer savvy.
One of the main reasons I don't believe in prayer is it's just luck of the draw
I'm sure right this very minute people are praying for their relatives right next to the hospital bed, needless to say, some will make it and some won't, so what do these ultra religious folks say when the guy in the bed on the other side of the room makes but their relative doesn't and they both had folks praying for them? There's really no answer to that