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November 20, 2012
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The effects of prayer

:iconhgwizard:
HGWizard Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
The thought on the effects of prayer has been something I ponder about, but the after reading this particular article which was linked on the ol' facebook, I couldn't help but blab about my two cents on the issue.

[link]

Before I get started, I was raised a full blown Catholic, but as I grew into my teens, I began to question my believes and I am now an Atheist myself, I say this to put my statements in prospective.

First of all, judging from the article stated here, I know most Christians or Catholics believe that prayer is going to be the end all save all solution to any situation. (well, with the exception of the Christian Scientists, but they are on a whole other level!).

Prayer obviously isn't a substitute for medicine, prayer also won't stop bad weather or bad situations from happening. Whether they believe that's god's will or not is irrelevant!

But let's think of the other reason why people pray? Often to create a relationship with the creator, but also to find answers for when they feel sadness, guilt, shame, or any other negative emotion. To find solace when in a time of crisis.

I do believe that emptying all thought to retell an "our father" or "hail Mary" does relieve the mind of stress or anger in the same manner that taking a deep breath and counting to ten does (even if the one who prays doesn't realize it)

When one empties their mind of such thoughts, they are training their minds to focus on one such object, such as the words spoken in prayer. Once awaken from the empty minded state of prayer, one has a clearer view of reality.

They may believe that is the grace of god, but I believe that is because they've unknowningly been meditating and focusing their minds eye on their own.

There are a lot of health benefits in meditation, but I think prayer processes similar effects.

Any thoughts on this?
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Devious Comments

:iconblack-allison:
Black-Allison Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2012
To be honest my prayers have never quite been 'answered' when I was a Christian. Later after I left the church I made a few off handed wishes to my ancestors in a traditional ritual type thing. And you know what, I met a boy, did good in school, and learned a language, I was like thanks grandpa, you cool

But seriously I think I just probably became a better student and the boy is coincidence. I think prayer is something nice to have though. There's so many things that we cannot do, so it feels nice to be able to throw a plea into the wind. When I do now though, it isn't to an Abrahamic god anymore.
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:icontdroid:
tdroid Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
Well, there is always this( [link] ) video by DarkAntics on YouTube who sums up some of the things that happened in the following time after Rick Perry's huge prayer thingy.

I have to admit, it seems prayer might have some effect, but we might have misjudged God if this is true, judging from these results.
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:iconadamkass:
AdamKass Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Professional General Artist
Maybe God just thinks Rick Perry's an enormous D-Bag...
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:icontdroid:
tdroid Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
Maybe. Wouldn't fault him for that, since Jesus told people explicitly to not pray in public.
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:iconadamkass:
AdamKass Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Professional General Artist
You know, I've always wondered why it is that if one is supposed to pray in private and not flaunt their piety, how exactly do Churches justify their own existence when they are providing the means to violate both standards?
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:icontdroid:
tdroid Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
By not telling their followers that they can't justify their existance. Probably why the Catholic chruch was against Marting Luther's plan to make the bible more accepssable to the public, among other reasons.
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:iconscottahemi:
ScottaHemi Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I see prayer is the one on one time you have with god. though you do most if not all of the talking. it's not a solve all like Duct Tape. but it does help calm the mind, lets you vent your problems and think things through.

though if you look into the concept of shared consciousness "curse you Spirit Science XD" there may actually be some effect to prayer!
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:iconincandescentinsanity:
IncandescentInsanity Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Student General Artist
Prayer is a placebo. It used to make me feel better as a kid. It makes me sick
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:iconincandescentinsanity:
IncandescentInsanity Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Student General Artist
Prayer doesn't make the external happen. Only the internal, and there's no external force behind it. It's all the brain
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:icondivine--apathia:
divine--apathia Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
No, it's not. Think about it.
What does prayer make you feel like? Calmer, peaceful, relaxed? all those things are caused by mediation, and mediation is proved to work.


Will it heal your friend?
Will it make your job easier?

No.

Does it lower your stress levels?
Does it help to clear your mind?
Does it give you 'me' time?

Yes. And all of those things are proven to help.
Prayer works... just not in the way you think it does :shrug:
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:icondidj:
Didj Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
Typically, I see prayer working like this- "Oh no, something really bad is happening and I don't have the power to stop it. I know, I'll send a telepathic message to my Cosmic Space Lord and ask him to do something about it." which is usually followed by one of two results "Ha! That horrible thing is now resolved. Obviously the people who actually worked toward resolving it could not have succeeded if I had not asked that personal favor of my Cosmic Space Lord. All praise my Cosmic Space Lord!" or "Oh, the horrible thing did not get resolved. Well, obviously my Cosmic Space Lord intended for that horrible thing to happen as a way of benefiting us in the long run. All praise my Cosmic Space Lord!"

Either way, I view it as people asserting some imagined power over events that they have no control over. Pretty much like how ancient civilizations would perform human sacrifices in order to prevent natural disasters.
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:iconstripedpower:
StripedPower Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012   Digital Artist
Prayer does work (note that I have no religion). What matters is the intention.
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:iconpuppy-dangerous:
puppy-dangerous Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Professional Artisan Crafter
Well, there have been studies that show that prayer can help people heal- but the same is true for anything intended to help someone, magic, healing touch, etc, so it's really more of a matter of attention and intention than prayer through the formal aid of a god.

As for prayer for calming/betterment/connection with a deity, that is something that is also echoed in other religions and systems. With that, perhaps some people are making a connection with something else, perhaps it's a connection with their higher selves, maybe it's just programming their brains. Again, whatever it is, something is going on that works.

Whether you attribute it to a deity or to a power in ourselves, something is going on.

Now, I happen to believe in things more powerful than ourselves, and sure, sometimes I'll ask them for something, but more likely when I'm meditating/in a prayer state I'm trying to reprogram some part of my own mind.
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:iconragerancher:
Ragerancher Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
Prayer is pointless and statistically is actually worse than doing nothing in some cases. People in hospital with serious conditions are actually less likely to survive when they know people are praying for them and believe in the power of prayer (although it's hardly a significant amount). When push comes to shove, most people actually don't believe prayer works. Think prayer heals? Don't use a doctor. People trapped in a building on fire? Don't bother getting the fire service. Being attacked by an enemy? Well we never needed an army anyway.

In a choice between prayer and real action, people will choose action for the most part.
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:iconhgwizard:
HGWizard Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Looks like someone didn't take the time to read what I wrote down. ;)
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:iconragerancher:
Ragerancher Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
I did, "Any thoughts on this?"

Those are my thoughts.
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:iconcatapultedcarcass:
CatapultedCarcass Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
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:icontotally-dead:
Totally-dead Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
In that sense it`s great!
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:iconbohobella:
bohobella Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Prayer is something still hard-wired into me as an ex-Catholic. When I'm facing times of extreme stress and/or pain, my first instinct is to ask some super powerful being to make everything work out. And that's exactly the fun of prayer, isn't it? You get to feel like you've done all you can to remedy the situation when the reality is you literally just spoke something out loud to yourself, if not merely thought the words, and did nothing relevant to the situation at hand.

But that's the beauty of faith. We're mortal beings that need to think there's some power beyond us that cares about our pathetic little problems in the grand scheme of things. I see no harm in it, until people start putting it before actual intervention in the real world, ie medical attention.
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:iconkillianseraphim:
KillianSeraphim Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Student General Artist
I don't find ritualistic style prayer to be of much use, but you would be right with some of this. My prayer life is basically a conversation with my God, and on a bad day, there is a lot of self-reflection going on in the meantime. I have seen speaking in tongues similar to meditation, and have used it as such in the past. I've never seen my normal prayer life as such though.

I'll have to think about this a little more.
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:iconsaeter:
Saeter Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
There was a test where they had two control groups of post surgery patients. Group A had their friends and family pray for them without them knowing. Group B no one prayed for them. The test was to see how well the patients recovered and were afflicted by post surgery complications.
The results... Group B did slightly better (no direct correlation as to why they did better) than group A. Essentially it resulted in 50/50 take proving that prayer has no effect on objective reality. To the self it may give a placebo effect but moving mountains it does not.
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:iconhgwizard:
HGWizard Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Any link to this study?
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:iconmaddmatt:
maddmatt Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
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:iconsaeter:
Saeter Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
Here's a Washington Post coverage of the test [link]
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:iconhgwizard:
HGWizard Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Thanks to the both of yeah, interesting find indeed!
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:iconben3418:
Ben3418 Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
I am also a raised catholic and like you there are things that i disagree with in my religion but the power of prayer isn't one of them because like you have stated it at least helps one become more aware and accepting of a situation but there are many unexplained events, some might say miracles, that have happened from the result of prayer. I don't think that all "miracles" that happen because of prayer are always miracles because there are many things that we don't know about the world today that we will learn in the future but until then they are unexplained and in the catholic church are classified as miracles. So to sum it up there is some power behind prayer, is it really power given by God? im not sure but until we have proof that it isn't, I will have faith that it is.
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:iconkamal-q:
Kamal-Q Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Who conceptualizes their god as a genie?

Prayers/invocations are quite different from meditation alone, in the sense that turning to a power greater than you (whether or not it exists doesn't matter here) is different than just 'calming your mind'...there's a submissiveness in prayer.
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:iconprosaix:
prosaix Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
"I was raised a full blown Catholic"

Does that involve priests? :confused:
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:iconhgwizard:
HGWizard Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Yes, It did involve priests!

And No, I wasn't molested. hahaha!
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:iconshadee:
shadee Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:lol:
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:icondivine--apathia:
divine--apathia Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I assume that prayer works in the same way that mediation works :shrug:
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:icondeguerre:
Deguerre Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Exactly. Prayer affects the person praying. If it's done properly, the effect can even be positive.

The fact that prayer, meditation, or whatever you want to call it, has been rediscovered many times over by many different religious traditions, that strongly suggests that there's at least some benefit to it.
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:iconhgwizard:
HGWizard Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
That was my point! *slow clap*
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:icondivine--apathia:
divine--apathia Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Sorry for agreeing with you :stare:
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:iconhgwizard:
HGWizard Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
I think the misinterpretation of the lack of emotion based on text statements may have made you think I said that in a condescending manner,
I meant to say that in the friendliest manner possible!

So in other words, you are forgiven ;)
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:icondivine--apathia:
divine--apathia Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
It was more the inclusion of the slow clap, which is usually highly sarcastic.
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:icongreentofu:
greentofu Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
Prayers do work !

And if you pray hard enough you'll be able to reach Super Sayan 2 !!!




YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
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:iconhgwizard:
HGWizard Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
If Deviant Art had a "like" button like facebook does, I'd like this!

Well, I have my facebook in Spanish, so I'd "me gusta" this!
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:icongreentofu:
greentofu Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
:3
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:iconendeavor-to-freefall:
I think it can provide a placebo effect in some people and possibly simply time to reflect in others, I don't do it myself and I never have.
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:icondarkcrypt:
DarkCrypt Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
It's amazing to me that people still do it.
At one point in time, I'm sure many prayers went to Thor or Quetzalcoatl or <insert name of deity here>. We now generally view that worship as silliness, just the superstitious product of early civilizations--yet each of those people had just as much 'faith' or 'inner knowledge' that their beliefs were true as many modern theists do, and I'm sure plenty of them were so confident in their beliefs that they gave their lives for their gods.

Though I do vaguely recall a study showing some benefits in patients, I think you hit the nail on the head with your explanation. Anything that reduces stress and provides comfort, reality based or not, is going to help on some level. Sometimes placebos work too. Which is awesome. I just hate when someone's recovery from illness is attributed to 'Thor', rather than the doctors, nurses, and modern medicine that actually addressed and solved the problem.
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:iconnarutokunobessed:
narutokunobessed Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Student General Artist
The ask, and given is not always prayer, but sometimes is. Praise, Prayer, and Unspoken are all prayers.

Prayer is more of a way to talking to God, not for him to be a Genie on a Lamp. Thats even the definition of prayer. Wikki says Prayer is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with a deity, an object of worship, or a spiritual entity through deliberate communication. Rapport occurs when two or more people feel that they are in sync or on the same wavelength because they feel similar or relate well to each other.

Because of these feelings and things like that, it can end up feeling like you need the support from Him and especially when you are in a prayer group.

And just by thinking about it the ask and you shall recieve is just a short way that in Matthew, its ask, seek, and knocking. Its almost a metaphor saying that God answers prayers, not give stuff to you.

Meditation is a bit different, but in a way its can be scientifically. In critical thinking class, we did alot of breathing exercises to calm yourself. It helps you to actively think about what you have done and focus on that. Ive gotten an article that even proves that cosmic humanism and secular humanism can be simular in thought. Its basically having more self awareness then you should.
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I assume this was intended as a reply to me.

Yes, I know that there are different types of prayer. I'm getting a little tired of the religious around here who think that because you disagree with them, what you REALLY need is a basic primer on Christianity. You'll have to accept at some point that there are people around who know Christianity, who have been Christians, who have live their lives as deeply committed Christians, and who no longer believe.

The issue is, that no kind of prayer ever seems to evoke any kind of objective response. Yes, you may get "feelings". You get feelings from many other things too. Psychological states are not demonstrably divine in origin.

OP was describing the sort of repeated prayers you might say while praying the Rosary. Eastern Christianity has its own discipline of the endlessly repeated "Jesus Prayer". This is indeed very much like meditation.
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:iconnarutokunobessed:
narutokunobessed Featured By Owner Nov 22, 2012  Student General Artist
It wasn't really ment a reply but more to the read and kind of agreeing with you.

Well its the fact that trying to think that someone was deeply faith just kind of wavers and gives up. I wonder how was that person a Christian in the first place. Thats why I think it kind of weird you know.

I feel its even to relate to talking to got, and getting the same idea. I was more relating to prayer to other religions then just christian, but now were getting more into christian, it is relating to God which is more of just having a relationship in a way.

I wasn't trying to be too religious but you know, I get over the top sometimes.
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:iconlytrigian:
Lytrigian Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Since it seems to be that "ask and it shall be given" isn't really true when it comes to having any effect at all on the material world, what certitude do you have that prayer does anything spiritually either?

Certainly it may work as meditation in many cases, but then why not simply meditate?
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:iconhgwizard:
HGWizard Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
I do just "simply meditate". :P
I was thinking the theory that prayer works for theists in the same manner that meditation would for anyone.

I never believed the "ask and it shall be given" thing about prayer, even when I was a devout Catholic and prayed daily. Since I no longer believe in god, I also no longer believe in spirits, so I couldn't really tell you what prayer does in the aspect of spirituality. Perhaps the placebo effect maybe?
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:iconsmkiller:
Smkiller Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012  Hobbyist
"Two hands working can do more than a thousand clasped in prayer."

Think that sums it up pretty well for me.
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:iconcarusmm:
carusmm Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
The effect of prayer is zero excluding dashed hopes.
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:iconknightster:
Knightster Featured By Owner Nov 20, 2012
It makes you feel like you're doing something when all you do is talk to yourself.
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:iconpakaku:
Pakaku Featured By Owner Nov 21, 2012
If you pray to talk to god, but realize you're talking to yourself, doesn't that mean that you are god :slow:
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