Answered and Unanswered Prayer

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by Gabe F., Jun 15, 2017.

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  1. Gabe F.

    Gabe F. Member

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    I had a discussion reason with an acquaintance about the coal industry and its impacts on Appalachia which got me thinking about prayer.

    Here's a bit of background:

    Acquaintance: Ultra-conservative, evangelical Christian, grew up in coal country, wants Trump to bring it back because they believe it's the key to economic security and not as environmentally damaging as many have said.

    Me: Centrist, Christian (no current religious affiliation), grew up in coal country, wants it to go away because I believe it's bad on a number of fronts.

    Alright, here we go:

    My acquaintance prays for the coal industry to return and it does. Where does that leave my prayers for it go away?

    I pray for the coal industry to go away and it does. Where does that leave my acquaintance's prayers?

    Is praying about something like this even reasonable? If yes, why? If not, why?

    In short, how can one reconcile whether to pray for something like this and then deal with the aftermath (seemingly answered or seemingly unanswered)?
     
  2. Johann

    Johann Active Member

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    I'm not very religious - but I do believe in God. I think it might be useful to pray in this situation - for guidance, not for an outcome. Ask what you, personally, should do.

    Praying for an outcome - yes, we do that when people are facing disaster or injury etc. I think that's only natural. But events that people have influence over -- those are in our hands - we are responsible. In such cases, those who pray should pray for wisdom to know what to do - and, possibly, help in finding the strength to do it.

    I wouldn't expect that there would be a 100% answer rate in such cases. I don't think there ever is. We're supposed to deal with that, I think. Something to do with faith, I guess. Oh heck, what do I know ....

    J.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 15, 2017
  3. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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    Three answers from three different friends when I asked about prayer:

    1) all prayers are answered, sometimes the answer is no.
    2) the answers to prayers come in the form of people. pay attention to the people you meet. they have things to teach you.
    3) don't pray for specific outcomes. pray for the strength and the wisdom tp deal with what comes.
     
  4. BrandeX

    BrandeX New Member

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    4) "Magic" isn't real.Don't worry about it.
     
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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    your meaning is unclear. Would you care to expand on this?
     
  6. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

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    Come on, his meaning is perfectly clear.
     
  7. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator

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    I'd like him to say it again
     
  8. heirophant

    heirophant Member

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    I'm most inclined to conceive of prayer as a form of meditation, as a culturally-traditional form of inner-work. The changes that prayer brings about aren't in the external world so much as they are in us.

    Life in general can be (should be) an occasion for inner-work when experienced mindfully. We should pay attention not only to other people, but to everything. Everything that happens arguably can have a lesson to teach. Whether it does or not is largely up to us.

    Right. I agree with that too. I think that it's probably a mistake to conceive of prayer in quasi-physical causal terms. Praying doesn't seem to me to have any causal effect on anything apart from our own psychologies. It isn't a way to exert occult non-physical force on events, nor should it be thought of as a way of reliably inducing whatever unseen powers that might exist to exert occult non-physical force on our behalf.

    Events may or may not unfold as we desired in our prayers, but those prayers probably had nothing to do with causing that outcome. Where prayers are much more effective is in centering us and reminding us of the big picture, making us better able to cope with whatever happens.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 16, 2017
  9. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly

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    +1, I think that's a very positive way of looking at it.
     

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