Do You Believe in Prayer?

M*A*S*H is one of my all-time favorite TV shows, and I remember one episode, where a wounded soldier came in who had no wounds, but had declared himself to be Jesus Christ. All the characters had their opinions, from Fr. Mulcahy, who sat and had long philosophical and biblical conversations, to Radar, who asked him to bless his Teddy Bear. But my favorite was (of course) Frank Burns, who ‘tested’ him by praying for chocolate pudding at lunch. His prayer didn’t come true, so the soldier must not have been Jesus.

This is just a long-winded way for me to bring up my question… Do you believe in prayer? Do you think they’re answered, or do you think it’s just coincidence that sometimes things happen that you wish for? Or, is it more of an eastern philosophy thing of Karma – what goes around comes around.

I’m fascinated by religions and how they influence us. From the Catholics and their almost corporate-like hierarchy and division of duties (there’s God, then there are the Archangels, then there are the regular angels… or are the Saints next? Either way. But the saints all have specific areas that they’re in charge of. Like St. Jude, the Patron Saint of Lost Causes. Ask me how I know this…), to the Amish with their very simple ways, to Islam and their fiery passion and devotion. Wiccans and Pagans, with their devotion to multiple gods and goddesses, and their commitment and knowledge of holistic, alternative, and earth-based healing. Those religions of the East with meditations and Karma. But all of them have some kind of communication with a higher power (or something outside yourself) in common. Some believe their prayers go directly to Someone, others believe they go out into the Universe, and connect into a great web, sending ripples of change, much like a drop of water in a calm lake.

So do you pray because, like the Buddhists, it calms the mind and soul, and helps you find enlightenment, peace, strength? Or is it more of a goal-oriented practice, like in church, when you hear the Petitions read, asking for people to get better, rain for a drought-stricken land, and safety and protection for Troops abroad? OR… are you like Frank Burns, hoping for chocolate pudding for lunch?

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10 Responses to Do You Believe in Prayer?

  1. SKL says:

    Honestly? I haven’t actually figured prayer out yet. I will pray for people in bad situations and hope and believe that there is power in the combination of many people’s prayers, but what exactly does that mean? When it comes down to it, everything is electricity and electric currents can travel far and interact all kinds of ways (or however scientists would say it). When I was very much doubting the existence of a “God,” I still believed in the power of collective consciousness.

    I’ll pray sometimes for God to get me out of a bad situation I’ve gotten myself into. It has “worked” many times when it technically should not have. But then again, when you “give it to God,” you clear your mind to focus on the present and work through things instead of worrying and panicking – which might be why prayer works in those situations. I really don’t know.

    I guess what I’m saying is that I believe in the power of prayer even if I don’t understand exactly how it works. Which is probably OK.

  2. Sue says:

    I am like SKL, I believe in it even if I don’t understand how it works. I have had prayer work for me also. (Gotta love the patron Saint Anthony!) I think prayer is a good way to bring you back to center, to help calm your mind and help you focus.

    • Joy says:

      It somehow calms me down too and I know just what you mean by “back to center.” It’s funny how it does that.

      I’m very fond of Saint Christopher!

  3. Joy says:

    I do pray and I’m like SKL and Sue. I’m not sure how it works. I never ask for “things” though. I remember back in Sunday School we were told we should never pray to “win the lottery” or for ice cream. That prayers were important and shouldn’t be wasted. Whatever that means and isn’t it funny that stayed with me?

    I more “talk” to God. Or whoever it is. I’m talking to someone!!! LOL!!

    I thank him a hundred times more than I ask for things. When my kids and grandkids are all home and snuggled into their homes for the night, I whisper a little “thank you God.” When I know for example that Jason and Nikki make it to the baseball tourney in WI, “thank you God.” Or Toby and Sue made it safe to the caves, “thank you God.” I thank him a hundred times more than I ever ask for anything.

    About the only thing I ever ask for in prayer is safe travels or if someone is in real trouble with a surgery or an accident, I’ll ask God for help there.

    But winning the lottery would be nice if you think I should have it God. I’ll do my best to make you proud 🙂 🙂 🙂

    • Sue says:

      I don’t usually ask for things like ice cream or the lottery either. I view pray as asking for help with things that are beyond your control, (illness, accidents, stuff like that) but I have a funny story about a material thing.

      My mom’s church (mine also) puts on a bazaar every year as a fundraiser. Well, every year you are urged to sell raffle tickets for a list of different prizes. My mom will just buy all of the raffle tickets so she doesn’t have to try and sell them to everybody else. Well, she’s been buying packets of raffle tickets for YEARS and for YEARS she never won anything. Not even the $5 gift card to the local eatery. Nothing! So, a couple of years ago, as she was filling out her raffle tickets she said to God, “God, I’ve had it. I’m tired of buying all of these every year and not winning anything so if I don’t win anything this year, I’m done. I’m not buying another ticket and I’m just done with it all.” She turns in her raffle tickets, the bazaar comes and goes, and that night she gets a phone call from church saying she won the grand prize – a new lawn mower!!!! I kid you not! She about fell over and couldn’t believe it! She didn’t actually pray to win the lawn mower, it was more of being fed up with a lot of different things that all came to the surface when she had to buy the raffle tickets again. Does that make sense?! So, I think it was God’s way of reaffirming her faith and telling her that he does listen even if prayers don’t seem to be answered.

    • Joy says:

      That is still one of the best stories I’ve ever heard! I laughed so hard when she told us that story that night.

  4. Jenny says:

    I guess I do. Obviously not for material things, but I do worry a lot about everything. And sometimes I’ll just have to say to myself let it go, God has a plan and will protect us. It really does clear your mind thinking that you just leave it all up to God. And leaves you at peace.

  5. Nikki says:

    This is a very weird subject for me, because I didn’t grow up with ANY religion. None, at all. Praying was not done, God was not talked about. It’s not like any of my family didn’t believe (if they didn’t, that wasn’t talked about either) but it just was not talked about. I’m not sure if it’s because my grandma grew up catholic, and her daughter (my aunt) married a man that is a Jehovah Witness. And because of that, it was never brought up in front of anyone. Not too sure.

    Now, I do pray for people who ask for it. Who need it. I’m not sure if or how it works, but my opinion is, it can’t hurt, and what if it does help! I don’t pray for material things, ever.

  6. Laura says:

    I’m in SKL’s camp, I guess. I believe in that Great Web. I don’t really see God as an old Dumbledore-like man, with a long white beard and hair, sitting on a throne, saying “You get this, you get that, and YOU? You don’t get ANYTHING you HEATHEN!!!”

    Although there have been plenty of times when I have felt like there IS someone up there that looks more like the Joker, saying, “ok, here, let’s see if she can handle THIS, too!!!” …and throws another ball of crap my way.

    I’ve been doing a lot of thanking lately, though. I realized, I don’t know, sometime over the Spring, that I hadn’t been saying an intentional, focused, “thank you” for the things that I have. So I’ve started doing that, almost every night. I do incorporate a few desires, as well. Especially when my stress levels are high, those prayers, or requests, are usually, “and BOY do I need help with ______. I can’t get through it without your help.”

    I also believe in the power of meditation. I’ve been doing a lot of it, lately. It helps calm the mind, and center myself amid the chaos of life. I just have to remember to do it when things get crazy. It’s not a habit yet.

  7. starlaschat says:

    I believe in the power of prayer. I also don’t have all the details of why or how, but I have seen lots of prayers answered. I have also seen times when the answer seems to be No. I think there is a higher order to things that I do not understand all the reason why or the details. Some prayers get answered and some seem to go unanswered. I felt like that when Navar’s father recently passed. There were a lot of prayers that went his way from all kinds of people and from different Faiths. So I don’t know the bigger picture. I am greatful for the prayers that are answered. Some things in life I realise I won’t have all the answers about this is probably one of them. :+)

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