What's the Reason for Prayer?
  • valerijclaimvyalcevalerijclaimvyalce December 2018
    Prayer actually has more than one purpose. Typically we think of prayer as asking God to behave; once we pray we're attempting to move God to behave. And sometimes prayer will, in fact, serve this purpose. We occassionally asks God with an active healing, and that he will heal. Sometimes we'll ask God for food or clothing or rent money or mortgage money and that he responds.

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    More regularly, though, we ask God to intervene inside our resides in our favor and He does not. As William Cowper writes, "Sometimes an easy surprises a Christian while he sings" - sometimes, seldom, and certainly not always. The majority of the objections I've read or found out about prayer think that the only purpose for prayer for inner peace is always to have God intervene on the behalf. And people know that God doesn't always (as well as often) say, "Yes," to our prayers. So getting God to complete things for all of us is perhaps not sufficient need to pray. It certainly is not a sufficient reason to keep praying, because it doesn't consistently work.

    But prayer can serve other purposes. Grief counselors inform us how the bereaved claim that telling the storyline repeatedly as well as over again of how their loved one died seems to ease the anguish from it. I have not seen any research this phenomenon but neurologically it seems sensible. Neurologically, our brains store traumatic experiences, when they are sufficiently traumatic, separately from the remainder of our memories. They're not integrated with the rest of our brain. We know that repeating a memory safely, a different context, softens the difficult edges of such neurological separations. It builds new connections in the brain between where those memories are stored where the bulk of our memories reside. Every time we remember, the brain encodes the traumatic event as slightly less painful, since the pain is re-saved to disc, as it were, using the added convenience the safe environment in which we are remembering it. I believe that repeating our grief over and over and also over again performs exactly that function for the brains.

    So consider prayer within this context. God may be the ultimate safe audience, the Being of ultimate compassionate love. Repeating our cares and concerns to Him again and again softens the emotional impact of the cares and concerns. So at least one purpose in asking God for things would be to arrived at some degree of internal comfort, regardless of whether our situations change.

    Consider that organized religion and group prayer are social activities. Whenever we express the worries of our life to a group, and then individuals with the group, or perhaps the entire group, actually pray about our concerns, we're feeling validated. We learn that other people care about what is important to us. Additionally we get practice at (at least) pretending that what is of interest to other people is important to us as well. We must put on a minimum of the facade of being removed from entirely concentrating on our lives and caring about the lifetime of others. And one of the enormous advantages of acting much better than we are is that sometimes, the acting contributes to reality.

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