T Nation

Does Prayer Work? Is There a God?


#1

My parents and grandparents are fundamentalist pentecostal christians, the grand ole Church of God in Christ. So as you can imagine it was drilled within my head from a early age. To me it was just a list of things I cant do or "Gods gonna get ya!" At the same time I heard God was merciful and kind and took pity on us.

Up until recently, I just accepted whatever I was told. Now that I experience life and I actually have a need to pray, it seems as if it never works. When I pray it is like im talking to a wall. Now im at the point in my life where I wouldnt be considered an atheist, but an agnostic. I want to believe, but there is nothing for me to base that belief on, except a 6000 year old book and what someone else told me. Every time I get an unanswered prayer and my grandparents tell me "What you wanted wasnt the will of God..." it just pushes me more and more away. I cant bring myself to believe in an invisible man in the sky who hasnt really done anything for me. I want to, but the proof is in the pudding.

Now my parents and granparents want to attribute everything to God.....for instance, im unemployed and been searching for employment for 8 months. Im starting to realize I may not be able to find a job in which I was making what I previously made. I only made $11 a hour, which may not be alot to some, but it was good enough for me. But I might have to take a job at McDonalds flipping burgers for minimum wage or close to it.

Now the moment I get that job at McDonalds the first thing im going to hear is "Did you thank God?" and in going to be thinking WHAT THE FUCK!!!!! Is it a miracle that im flipping hamburgers at McDonalds?!?!?!? I mean im told God is supposed to be the almighty ruler of the universe, yet the best miracle he can do for me is get me a minimum wage job at a fast food resturaunt! Oh hallelujah! I feel like speaking in tongues!

Has prayer ever worked for anyone and if so what am I doing wrong? Am I praying to the wrong God? I mean what is it?

Serious and relevant responses only!!!!!!!!!


#2

I'll be serious with you for once only because your posts seem like you are in a troubled place. And while humor is what I like best, it appears you are floundering and maybe you do need a push in the right direction.

I hope it was never taught to you that you can sit back and do nothing but pray and god will somehow deliver something to you. I mean I don't prescribe to any religion myself, but the ones I have read up on almost always infer that through praying, your god will give you the strength and ability to achieve whatever goals you are praying about, wheather it be getting a job, or doing well on a test. But the most important aspect is that you have to still do the work.

Personally I believe in my own power if you will. I am the creator of my world, the decisions I make and the effort I put in shape the very fabric of my life experience. I can literally take it in any direction I chose, and with a little hard work, I can go down almost any path. Your options are really unlimited.

Now the hard thing for most people is that it can be uncomfortable to make choices that will take them far outside of thier personal comfort zone, wheather it be a circle of friends that you can't let go, or even a family who you can't leave. From the sounds of it though, you seem young enough to do just that.

First you need to think long and hard, I mean real long and real hard about what you want your life to be like over the next year, the next 5 years and then possibly the next 10 years. Then once you have a clear image of what you think you want, you need to put one foot in front of the other and get after that goal with reckless abandon. pour every ounce of your sould and will into it.

The beginning is always the hardest, and it is percicely while people so often fall into a rut. But once you are a month in, and you realize, Hey i'm still alive, and i'm closer to my goal. You will find it easier and easier to continue down your new path. Just be wary of pitfalls and derails, and you should be able to achieve whatever it is you want. If it helps you to pray to your god for strength, so be it, you could also just pray to yourself, you ultimately do have the power.

V


#3

As you say, the proof is in the pudding.

Scientific studies have looked at the effects of prayer, for example on heart patients, and have found that people prayed over by church groups recover no faster than people that don't get prayed over. The prayer had literally zero effect.

I do think prayer can help people think more positively, and may be of use in that way. But that is a result of healthy attitudes which can be achieved without pretending to invoke divine intervention.

Another thing to consider is that people of religion A pray to their god, and are 100% convinced that their god has told them religion A is the true religion. Yet people of religion B, which directly contradicts religion A, pray to their own god, and are 100% convinced that their god has told them religion B is the true religion.

Obviously, the "answers" people receive through prayer can't be relied on, even when you are 100% convinced that they come from your god.


#4

Prayer does work. And so does psychotherapy for that matter.


#5

It has worked for me. Sometimes you don't always get the answer you want in the time frame you think is needed. Prayer should be about giving thanks not just pleading for something to happen in my opinion.

Prayer is an act of faith. Faith in God and in your relationship with him. It's not on your terms but his.

I've been fortunate in business and I don't attribute to just hard work and good ideas but a tremendous amount of luck. More luck then I should have experienced.

Keep looking and keep the faith. You often hear the response to your prayers when you least expect it and years after you thought you needed it.

I also think religion is the creation of man. I believe in one God who probably gets a good chuckle out of all the religions created by man to understand him.


#6

Prayer works for psychological issues, but not physical ones. And the effect or lack of such of prayer says nothing on the subject of the existence of a higher sentient power.


#7

Hey Clip , I relate, I spent my child hood in the Apostolic Pentecostal church as well. There is nothing that will make you agnostic like that religion. I try to remain open minded about God and consider that that religion was a product of man.


#8

You cannot quantify prayer or it's effects...This is an area where science is misplaced and irrelevant. It's like trying to judge the color of a wish, you can't do it.


#9

Look, we just did this topic to an exhausting level. In short prayer does work. And yes you are blessed beyond you realization. Do you know how many people in the world would kill for a job at McDonald's? That means they get to eat. First count your blessings, you are healthy, you can walk, talk, and fuck. You can see, hear, taste, feel, and smell. You have an education, water to drink and air to breath that neither of which is filthy. In short we are all very blessed. Most of the time we just lack appreciation. Go to Darfur for a week and then tell us how crappy the McDonald's job is....You get where I am coming from?
Now if you want the philosophical exercise regarding God and his existence go here:

http://tnation.tmuscle.com/free_online_forum/world_news_war/how_much_do_you_know_about_christianity?pageNo=59#bottom

We beat the hell out of the topic, it was kind of tiring so I am not in the mood to start repeating the discussion just yet. I need some down time.


#10

Talk about a can of worms. I give this thread .5 seconds before detonation into a wreck.


#11

I understand what youre saying but comparing someone in America to someone in Darfur is comparing apples and oranges. I didnt pray to be born in the USA instead of Darfur, it just happened by chance.

I mean if im going to have to work hard BY MYSELF to make ends meet, then why should I give all the credit to an invisible man in the sky who may or may not be there? I hate that I feel this way, but I cant help it. Despite what i've been raised to believe I feel like im all I got down here and if I make something happen I should give credit to myself.

If i pray for something and it happens I will certainly give God credit.....but that has yet to happen.


#12

Then you know what I mean when when they say "Gods going to get you". I never understood this....you know if I were to do something that was legal, but considered a sin, like for instance, lets say i decided to become a male dancer which I have considered, my family would just talk about how Satan has led me astray and how God will punish me by throwing me into hell, in so many words.

Never mind the fact that I prayed for him to legitimate honest work but got no response. So im in a catch 22, I can not do a sin and either be broke or work for minimum wage and just keep praying and not getting any response or I can go "sin" and make $500 or $600 a night.

I always thought, why would God treat people this way?


#13

But how can I know what those terms are when I dont know if he even knows im here?


#14

we are talking Hell Fire and Brimstone


#15

If you really believe you can't quantify prayer or its effects, then you must believe that it is impossible anything in your life was due to prayer.

It goes both ways, you see.

I'm not sure why you would think that, in any case. If prayer has no measurable effects, why would you pray in the first place?


#16

I just cannot prove anything about prayers effects deductively, that doesn't mean it did not happen it's just not an arguable position, it's hearsay.

I don't pray for measurable effects. Measurable effects are not important.


#17

You are thinking about it two dimensionally. Most things in your life you have no control over, period. It's either pure dumb luck that you were born in the USA or God put you here for a reason.
All you really have are some choices in life. You can either make good ones or bad ones, but really if you think about it, there aren't that many of them. Where you live, who your parents are, what you genetic make up is, talents, etc. is completely out of your control.

So what ever you decide to give credit to for such matters is outside of yourself in any scenario.


#18

Well if something happens....if a prayer actually gets answered i'll be sure to let you all know!


#19

Faith.


#20

Clip, I hope I am not overstepping, with my advice but my objection to male dancing would not be religious. But I do understand you need to make an income. I would advise to remain as anonymous as possible, remember older people will have an advantage on you. It is called experience, be careful, peace