The essence of prayer

5 10 2009

I will start this evening’s post with a bold assertion: Prayer Works.  The question of what prayer is, and why it works is a little more complicated.

Generally speaking, there are several different kinds of prayer that boil down to some combination of the following: Request, Devotion, Contemplation, Meditation, Repetition, Mortification and Sacrifice.

Request is something like: “Dear God, I want a bike.  Please, please, please, give me a bike.  Thank you, God.”  There can be a bargaining portion of this, as in: “Dear God, please give me a bike.  If you give me a bike, I will sing your praises far and wide.  Thank you, God.”  Overall, this is the simplest form of prayer.  If you get a bike, God has answered your prayer.  If you don’t, maybe there was something wrong with your prayer, or, maybe God didn’t want to answer your prayer, or, maybe, God thought it best not to answer your prayer.  But you’ll never know.  You’ll also never know, if you got that bike, whether your prayer helped get it for you, or whether it just didn’t hurt to put it out there.

The next form of prayer is Devotion.  This is the next step above Bargaining.  This form of prayer is something like, “Dear God, I dedicate my life to your service.”  There might be some form of request that accompanies this form of prayer, but, generally, a request “cheapens” the Devotion.  The people who practice this form of prayer find that life has a physical and a spiritual side, and choose to emphasize the spiritual.

The next form of prayer is Contemplation.  This can vary widely, from the practice of Yoga to Bible Study to, oh, I don’t know, reading this blog.  The people who use this form of prayer are seeking Truth on some level.  You’ll notice that in the word Contemplation, the word Temple is the essence of the word, emphasizing the spiritual nature of it.  Some people combine this with Devotion, and call Contemplation “Silent Devotion”.

Next, there is Meditation.  This is the next level from the Contemplative form, and deals with the essence of the exclusion of external influences to find the internal.  Generally speaking, the people who practice Meditation have some variance of belief that the Divine resides within, rather than outside of, each of us, and that, to reach the heights of the Divine, one must seek the essence which lies within.

Next is Repetition.  This is practiced by most Religions in varying degrees.  Whether you say your mala of 108 “Om Ganeshya Namaha” or 20 minutes of “Nam Myoho Renge Kyo”, or pray the Rosary, or 27 “Our Father”s, or whether you recite the Nicene Creed every Sunday at Mass, or the Shema on Saturdays, there is Repetition.  You’ll also notice it with the Bike prayer, above.

Next, there is Mortification.  That’s the Big League stuff that the truly devout visit upon their flesh to show that they are worthy of Heaven by showing that they have no concern for the Earthly Plane.  You can see this with in the almost annual display of physical cruxification in the Philipines, or the people flogging themselves on Good Friday. 

Finally, there is Sacrifice.  This practice has largely stopped over the past several thousand years, but there are still examples to be found, both of animal and human sacrifice, though, thankfully, these examples are few and far between. 

But, what all these things have in common is that there is a transfer of energy from the person doing the praying to the entity receiving it, whether some god, or some person for whom you are praying for their health and recovery.  And this is why I say that prayer works.  It is a simple metaphysical transfer of energy.  The more people pray for the same thing, or to the same Deity, the more energy they give to it, and, in the end, the more powerful that thing or Deity is.   So, if you and a thousand of your nearest friends all pray for you to get that bike, or more likely, you and a thousand of your friends, pray that someone returns to health, the more energy you put into that, and the more likely that thing is to come to pass.

Energy cannot be created or destroyed, only changed in form.

Therefore, all those gods that all those people prayed to, and died for, and sacrificed to, all those thousands of years ago, all that energy still exists.  And, if Man creates God in his own image, all those gods are still out there.  The fact that Jesus, a guy who never wanted to be a god, is the most powerful god currently worshipped, is just ironic.




2 responses

5 10 2009

As an Atheist, the only prayer I seriously miss is thanking God when I’m particularly enjoying something, and I have nobody to thank.

I still do. Fuck it. You don’t have to believe anyone hears a “thank you” to get the benefit.

6 10 2009
Mette Damgaard

Yes Bambi. As a Christian who believes that God and Jesus both is dead, I must say that I’m glad Jesus evangelization. That meant of course that we humans following may obtain remission of sins, while we live. So we can live “free” in love.
As with Judaism, it is probably still a “religious law”? Which bla.a. Jesus put his faith against.
I do not think that Christians believe in Jesus as their God. I think more people see Jesus as God’s messengers, with interpretation of the word from God, “the priesthood called him Son of God, it’s a misunderstanding, which can never be proved.

I belive . . . maby it just is a ping – pong . . . with us. But in thise modern world, you have to be political. Ask how your people look at poor people? Ask how they look at money? Ask how they look at adultery? Ask how they look at prostitution? ask if they share their profits with their neighbor or next? Gives $ 10 to the beggar, or the homeless? ask if they are willing to sacrifice themselves for the community? ask if they are sincerely happy? or if there is something missing? Beliefs and religions is not enough .. to be living beings to create a vibrant life. Friendships are good, but confidence is better. Trust and openness that counts for me.
To create a discussion forum was great of you. You are clever and wise. But those who read it, feel obviously not commitment. In each case, not enough. They may damn not be so complacent, and agree with you that they will not deliver … just a little word. cissy, sizzy is what they are. But sure as amen in church, we all love you ❤
So easy, you can not get people's piss to a boil, you must use stronger words of engagement !
Love Mette

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