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    27 Nov '07 15:58
    For those of faith and not of faith, what does prayer mean to you?
  2. SubscriberAThousandYoung
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    27 Nov '07 16:191 edit
    Originally posted by whodey
    For those of faith and not of faith, what does prayer mean to you?
    It's a psychological exercise involving visualization, thought and meditation. It can be very powerful.
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    27 Nov '07 17:13
    Its a means and a passage to God,a chance to ask and a chance to listen!
  4. Hmmm . . .
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    27 Nov '07 17:19
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    It's a psychological exercise involving visualization, thought and meditation. It can be very powerful.
    I’ll go with Humbug, only adding that movement can also be a part of it.

    That’s a very broad definition that need not entail a god to pray to. I’m sure that some will dispute it on that basis.
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    27 Nov '07 18:30
    In no circumstances has prayer ever been shown to provide greater chance of something happening. Thus it is, by definition, a delusion.
  6. Illinois
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    27 Nov '07 18:50
    Originally posted by whodey
    For those of faith and not of faith, what does prayer mean to you?
    Prayer for me is like an ongoing conversation, sometimes using words, other times not. I don't think there is a prescribed way to do it. Without the help of the Holy Spirit, though, prayer is not very effective (in my experience).
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    27 Nov '07 18:53
    Originally posted by doodinthemood
    In no circumstances has prayer ever been shown to provide greater chance of something happening. Thus it is, by definition, a delusion.
    In no circumstances? That's an awfully broad statement.
  8. Illinois
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    27 Nov '07 19:11
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    It's a psychological exercise involving visualization, thought and meditation. It can be very powerful.
    It is not prayer which you are describing here, but meditation. Meditation is a practice of centering one's attention on something, and is primarily a mental exercise. But prayer doesn't necessarily require a mental representation of God, let alone an accurate one, in order to be effective. Prayer is first and foremost a petition or conversation with God based on faith in His existence and in His ability to answer prayer. I do not need to visualize Him or meditate upon him first in order to be said to be praying properly. Faith, the kind of faith which does not need to be "worked up" psychologically, is all that is required. Meditation undoubtedly has its place in the spiritual life, but prayer is an altogether different avenue to the Divine.
  9. Standard memberagryson
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    27 Nov '07 21:56
    Originally posted by whodey
    For those of faith and not of faith, what does prayer mean to you?
    Prayer means nothing to me any more.
    Why is a different question; I had a catholic upbringing (not a strict one) and found that the prayers we said in mass were simply a repetitive sequence of words which had meaning but with continuous repetition lost whatever meaning they had.
    That's why I see that type of prayer more like a mantra in meditation. It gives the brain something to do, reducing distraction and allowing for reflection at some level. Though for me it was generally the colour of the floor tiles.
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    28 Nov '07 01:22
    Originally posted by whodey
    For those of faith and not of faith, what does prayer mean to you?
    Prayer to me is a megnificent way to tell the one who died for us are fellings or to help us with our struggles we as Christians face.
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    28 Nov '07 02:112 edits
    Originally posted by AThousandYoung
    It's a psychological exercise involving visualization, thought and meditation. It can be very powerful.
    I agree that meditation is a poweful exercise. In fact, Biblically we are commanded to meditate on those things which are "Godly". Also we are commanded to cast down imaginations that counter things that are ungodly. This is because thought proceeds action. The real battle is in the mind, therefore, if we win the battles of the mind our actions will follow.

    Having said that, I agree with epi that prayer in the traditional sense is not meditation. My dictionary defines it as:

    "1. A reverent petition made to a diety or other object of worship 2. The act of making such a petition. 3. A specially worded or spontaneously expressed appeal to God."

    Therefore, a prayer in the traditional sense is an appeal or petition to a God, therefore, I do not see how simple meditation qualifies. Having said that, like you I am not sure I agree with the traditional definition of prayer. I have always defined prayer in my own mind as communicating with God in general. This may either be in conversation or petition or praise.
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    28 Nov '07 02:392 edits
    Originally posted by agryson
    Prayer means nothing to me any more.
    Why is a different question; I had a catholic upbringing (not a strict one) and found that the prayers we said in mass were simply a repetitive sequence of words which had meaning but with continuous repetition lost whatever meaning they had.
    That's why I see that type of prayer more like a mantra in meditation. It gi ...[text shortened]... ing for reflection at some level. Though for me it was generally the colour of the floor tiles.
    I think Christ would agree with you.

    Matthew 6:7 "And Jesus said, But when you pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do; for they think that they will be heard for their much speaking. Be you not therefore like them; for your heavenly Father knows what things you have need of, before you ask him."

    Then he taught them how to pray by saying the famous "Lords Prayer". However, this also could become a vain repitition of words as well, no? I think a better way of studying the Lords prayer is studying guidlines that Christ gave us in prayer, rather than simply saying the words mindlessly. For example, we can disect the Lords Prayer as a lesson rather than an actual prayer to be repeated mindlessly.

    "Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed by thy name"
    Here we see that we are to pray to God as though he were our Father. It is a rather intimate interaction compared to that of saying repeating words to a diety that is impersonal and distant. I don't think you would walk up to your own earthly faither and begin mumbling a repitition over and over just because you felt you ought to do so. Also we see an air of praise in the opening of the prayer. He is saying "hallowed by thy name". However, praise can also become repititious. In fact, the Bible says that we should worship God in spirit and in truth only. For me, it would be akin to walking up to my own earthly father who I respect and lovingly wrap my arms around him.

    "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done"
    Here we see that our focus should be to please our God, thus our will should line up with his will. If not, I do not anicipate God answering a prayer that is against his will for us or in general. He does not violate our free will and it is for sure we will not violate his. In fact, in James it is said that many pray to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. If so, do not expect God to answer them because it is not in your best interest to fulfill those lusts.

    "Give us our daily bread"
    Of coarse I do not think that Christ was telling us to pray for actual bread here rather, this is in reference to Matthew 4:4 when Christ states that man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God". Here we see that what is being talked about here is spiritual bread to feed us spiritually. We should meditate on it because in it is revealed God's will for our lives. Therefore, it is a good resource to use in our prayer life.

    "And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors."
    Here we see the importatnce for coming clean with God, if you will. Sin is what seperates us from him, therefore, it is what must be dealt with so that we can commune with him. Biblically it is said that a mans righteousness is proportional to prayers getting answered. I believe the quote is, "The prayer of the righteous avails much". Also, it is equally important to forgive those who sin against us. After all, if we have the gonades to ask him to forgive us, who are we not to forgive others?

    "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil"
    Here we see the importance in praying to avoid temptation. I think all to often we wonder why God would allow us to enter situations where we falter when tempted when all along it could have been avoided had we only prayed beforehand. The same thing can be said about evil harming us. Had we only prayed beforehand, perhaps it could have been averted entirely.

    "For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever, Amen."
    Here we see a reitoration of praise like at the beginning of the prayer. It seems there is a spirit of praise upon entering and leaving the presence of God. After all, if we love our God and are truly reverant and thankful then such praise will flow naturally.
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    28 Nov '07 07:12
    Originally posted by epiphinehas
    In no circumstances? That's an awfully broad statement.
    It is, and as soon as you can give one circumstance where it can be shown to have increased the chances of something happening, I will take back that statement, and become devoutly religious.
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    28 Nov '07 13:35
    Originally posted by doodinthemood
    It is, and as soon as you can give one circumstance where it can be shown to have increased the chances of something happening, I will take back that statement, and become devoutly religious.
    My wife and friends prayed for her friend to walk again after her horrific accident.... and one day she got out of her wheelchair and did just that shakily i admit but now she walks just fine...that simple...prayer worked....so...time to become devoutly religious dood!!!
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    28 Nov '07 15:42
    so you prayed for your friend to get out of their wheelchair, and now they don't need a wheelchair! OMG that's proof that prayer works.

    Wait a second. There are thousands of people still in wheelchairs. And this is a Christian country so the likelihood is that almost all of them are being prayed for. So why hasn't it worked on those occasions?

    If, say, 1000 people got this illness. And your friend is one of them, then we have prayer for 1000 people, and say, 20 (including your friend) got better unexpectedly.

    So these people being prayed for got better 2% of the time, which seems exactly the same rate one would expect sudden recoveries.

    To cite a very good demonstration I saw, if I came up to you, and said I had a lucky horseshoe. I can prove it works because I'm the only one with the horseshoe, and I just managed to guess which way a coin would land 10 times in a row, flawlessly. In between each guess I'd stroke the lucky horseshoe.

    Seems good? Well here's what actually happened:

    There was a room of 1,000 people, all of which had horseshoes. Each time, half of them guessed heads and half guessed tails, and the people who got it wrong assumed their horseshoes didn't work, so chucked them away. One person was left, having got it right 10 times, but it's not impressive, because the rules of the set up DICTATED that somebody would get it right 10 times.

    For every one case of prayer being used in collision with somebody getting better, there are so many cases of it being used in collision with somebody not getting better that we end up with the same amount of success as is dictated by the given ailment.
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