For me prayer represents what is both wrong and right about religion.
Wrong, because prayer is the epitome of blind faith, religion’s hallmark. Believers imagine they’re communicating with someone they’ve never seen and for whom there’s no evidence of his/her/its existence.
Right, because prayer is a natural human response to feeling powerless, uncertain, afraid, alone, loveless, or some other emotion flowing from an unmet need demanding satisfaction.
Spinoza said that God’s will is “the asylum of ignorance.” When we don’t understand why something happened in the past, or what the future will bring, the anxiety of not knowing or not being able to do anything is relieved by believing that God is in control.
I understand why people pray. I also understand why people get addicted to crack cocaine. But just because there’s a good reason for something doesn’t mean it can’t be criticized or questioned.
To me, prayer is irreverent. It isn’t for lots of other people, such as the relatives of three climbers who are lost on Mt. Hood (the beautiful and treacherous Oregon mountain that isn’t far from where I live).
I think some of the commenters to that post live in the Bible Belt, though. Tina said, “This country was founded on God so people who don't like to hear his name mentioned need to leave!”
I responded, “I hope your comment was in jest. Or ironic. If not, you've made my point for me: religion makes people say ridiculous things.”