Prayer gets “Nicked,” But Still Prevails

Nick wrote an article on prayer called, "The underwhelming insignificance of talking to yourself," which was — well, let’s just say it wasn’t my favorite piece here on WhereIStand. With that said, Nick is entitled to his opinions, although there are some issues to be clarified. Not only does Nick condemn anyone who believes in the power of prayer to stupidity, he also takes some personal jabs at yours truly (which is fine with me):

I know he means to be profound, and I know that his faith is so strong that it will withstand grease stains that Tide can’t get out… not to mention my worst onslaught of reality.

Well, to be honest, I wasn’t trying to be all that profound. I simply let my heart do the talking.  My piece was an honest representation of my thoughts on the issue.  I’m unclear as to why this attack on prayer comes with a strong propensity toward the belief that prayer is embraced by the minority; in fact, there are more people in this world who believe in the power of prayer than there are skeptics.  Admittedly, this doesn’t prove the existence of prayer as a remedy to world/personal issues, but it does at least place Nick in a minority of sorts.

Also, I’ve never once bowed down to a statue and prayed.  I’m not Catholic.

Anyway, Nick goes on, commenting back and forth with other writers:

My post is about prayer being useless. If there were any benefit to prayer, it would have some kind of discernible impact.

Again, you’re assuming that prayer doesn’t exist — that it’s nothing but a fairy tale.  What if the discernible impact is already present in the world we currently live in?  Without a definitive answer as to whether or not prayer is impactful, you cannot make any claims to the contrary; you assume that you live in a world that is not impacted by prayer, whereas I see a world that is ever-changing as a result of prayer — a world that would be an even greater quagmire without God’s touch/intervention.

Prayer is just like all other forms of quackery: people believe and believe and believe… but there’s just no correlation between the act of praying and the end result of what was prayed for.

How do you answer the billions of individuals who believe that there prayers have been answered?  How do you explain miraculous occurrences?  There is something profound in the acceptance of a Greater Plan — a plan that may not lead to prayers being answered in the manner we’d like them to be, but one that leads us to the place we were intended to be.  God’s not going to grant everything we ask for.  Does a parent give a child everything he/she demands?  No.  That would be nonsensical.

It’s wrong-headed to claim there there are no end results, especially considering that so many individuals would fight tooth and nail against that very statement (based on their own experiences, which carry just as much weight as your own).

I can’t really think of anything less important to society than prayer. I think it’s a degrading way for humans to waste the time they have. They do it because they’ve been sold that there’s something "better" when they die.

That’s because you choose not to believe in it.  For me, prayer is extremely important.  It keeps me grounded and connected to what’s most important; prayer sustains me.  But even if prayer were rooted in false hope, your case still doesn’t stand.  At best, you could say that prayer was a work of fakery, but even then you can’t deny that it calms people on a number of levels; even if your incorrect sentiments were a reality, prayer still benefits society — and that’s a fact.

Not to mention, your contention that prayer doesn’t yield positive results has been proven incorrect:

David R. Hodge, an assistant professor of social work in the College of Human Services at Arizona State University, conducted a comprehensive analysis of 17 major studies on the effects of intercessory prayer – or prayer that is offered for the benefit of another person – among people with psychological or medical problems. He found a positive effect.

“There have been a number of studies on intercessory prayer, or prayer offered for the benefit of another person,” said Hodge, a leading expert on spirituality and religion. “Some have found positive results for prayer. Others have found no effect. Conducting a meta-analysis takes into account the entire body of empirical research on intercessory prayer. Using this procedure, we find that prayer offered on behalf of another yields positive results.”

Looks like research backs up my contentions.  How about yours?