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March 30, 2006

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I see what you are saying Brian, and it makes sense that it does not work because the Supreme creator of the universe certainly knows better than we what are needs are. However, it is good for and individual to pray to his or her God. IMHO it helps them to feel more comfortable in their misery.

Ha. That reminds me of a story. My mother-in-law was in the hospital with lung cancer. I came to visit her and brought her some fresh carrot juice. She was sitting on the edge of her bed and looking panicky. She looked up at me and said; "Pray for me ET, I can't breath." I looked down and saw that she had one foot on her oxygen bottle tube. I said; "You have to pray to God yourself, but I can help you by taking your foot off of your oxygen tube." So you see her request for help through prayer was immediately replied to, and she was able to breath again.

Complication? For whom?

Even with honest self-assessment, I can not say when I have started or stopped praying, in any given instance.

This is kind of like saying that medical procedures are influenced and/or not influenced by hair growth in the general population: it may be happening, we assume it happens, but some of us believe we are going bald.

I often wonder about prayer. my life seems to be in a constant mess, and my prayers constantly go unanswered.

I forget, though, that prayer is only part of the overall experience of getting to know God.

To rely on answered prayers, and to use them as evidence for God's existance is to miss the point entirely, plus it doesn't sound too healthy.

If prayer has any relevence to our spiritual lives at all, then this test is a good example of what prayer should not be.

I read this quote earlier

"Too many people regard prayer as a formalized routine of words, a refuge for weaklings, or a childish petition for material things. We sadly undervalue prayer when we conceive it in these terms, just as we should underestimate rain by describing it as something that fills the birdbath in our garden. Properly understood, prayer is a mature activity indispensable to the fullest development of personality - the ultimate integration of man's highest faculties. Only in prayer do we achieve that complete and harmonious assembly of body, mind and spirit which gives the frail human reed its unshakable strengths."

Dr. Alexis Carrel
French surgeon & biologist, developed methods for transplantation of organs

While I certainly agree with your underlying thesis (since I don't believe there is anyone or thing in the "heavens" that listens to prayers), I still can see another explanation.

If one believes there is a personal entity that DOES listen to prayer, then one could postulate that this entity knows the difference between genuine prayer and prayer as a variable in an experiment. The former might net genuine results, while the latter would not. The former would come from a person's heart, the latter from their head.

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