I don’t get Prayer!

I don’t get why people pray, and I don’t get why the Bible tells you to pray.  It seems to me that if prayers worked, we would know about it.  There have been some studies done.  At least one study I read about had a two groups of cancer patients, one who got prayed for by a bunch of people, and one who didn’t.  There was no difference in the recovery rate for either group.  This brings up some possibilities.

Maybe God didn’t answer the prayers because he knew he was being tested.  This is a pretty dick thing to do though.  Sure some people were praying just to help out with the study, but surly some people were praying because they knew people were suffering and were hoping God would intervene.  Anyway, why would this stop God from helping.  I am pretty sure it says in the bible that if you pray, your prayers will be granted.  It seems like since he asked people to pray, he would be happy when lots of people do it.  If people found out that prayer worked, they would pray more, and really believe.

However, some people say that if he revealed himself that way, it wouldn’t take faith to believe in him (because you would have proof), and faith is the most important part.  If this is the case though, then nobody should pray.  You are getting proof of your God every time you pray and you think your prayers are answered.  There still seems to be some contradiction though, because some people say god answered there prayers.  Now their faith is stronger than ever because they asked of God, and he delivered.

So if he answers some prayers, why doesn’t it matter if more people pray for the same thing.  Also, why do the loved ones of really devout, really good people get cancer, or get hit by cars?  These people already believe, and they probably pray pretty religiously.

One other argument is that God works in mysterious ways, or God has a plan.  However, if this is true, then there is no reason to pray.  If he know his plan and it can’t be changed by prayer.  Then prayer doesn’t really work, right.  People should just trust in God, and his plan.  I know that some people do feel this way.  I have heard people say this, but they still pray anyway.

So what does praying do really.  Does God sometimes  change his plan for a prayer, and sometimes not?  Do people just pray because they are in a shitty situation (like a loved one having cancer), and feel helpless, so they need to do something. People pray for all sorts of shit and think that God answers them.  They pray for sports teams to win.  They pray for promotions at work.  They pray for that special someone to finally notice them.

When it works, they praise God, when it doesn’t, they forget about it, or say God has a plan.

My question is: If you think prayer works, how would you know the difference between it really working, and it just being coincidence?

Also, if you pray, tell me what you pray about, and why you pray.

Updated: Here are the citations from the bible.  I read the verses around them, they don’t seem out of context.  Let me know if you think differently.

Mark 11:24 Therefore I tell you, all things whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.

John 14:13 Whatever you will ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 14:14 If you will ask anything in my name, I will do it.

Matthew 18:19 Again I say to you, that if two of you shall consent upon earth, concerning any thing whatsoever they shall ask, it shall be done to them by my Father who is in heaven.

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5 Responses to I don’t get Prayer!

  1. Anonymous says:

    Please don’t quote the bible unless you actually cite it. Thanks.

    • Matt Casanova says:

      I appreciate the courtesy. Thank you anonymous.

      I have updated my post with some citations about prayer working in the bible. I couldn’t find the one about Jesus saying he would appear before us. Maybe it was never in there. Anyway I took that out of my post.

      The reason I didn’t cite originally is because that wasn’t the main point of my post. The quotes aren’t really necessary be people believe that praying works, and people pray all the time for stuff to happen. Whether I can find the quotes in the bible or not, we should be able to agree that Christianity generally believes that praying is an important thing to do, and if you ask for stuff, God may grant your prayers.

      I just wanted to state that it doesn’t make sense (whether it is in the bible or not) to pray, because we have no way of knowing if it actually does anything, or if God will answer it.

  2. Jules says:

    First if your going to be critical have the guts to leave your name.
    Second I get just as confused about prayer. The only thing I can figure is I’m not living close enough to God to know what He wants me to pray for. Does that make sense?
    Jule

  3. James Heim says:

    I think you missed the point Jule….

  4. Austin says:

    When studying scripture it is important to know the context, as you stated. So if you don’t mind, I can straighten out why prayer doesn’t work quite the way most people would like it to.
    In the case of Mark 11:24 it’s ‘who’ Jesus is speaking to that’s most important and we can determine from the context that He is only speaking to His 12 disciples, as is the case in the other references you give as well.
    Anything Jesus commanded His 12 disciples was just for them, and they were put in charge of spreading Christianity (Matt 28:16-20, speaking to just His 11 disciples at this point), which makes them the ones that Christians get their law from (Acts 10:42, 1Corinthians 14:37).
    We also see in Acts 10:34-35, along with John 9:31, that God only welcomes people with a certain attitude, right in step with the old covenant (Deuteronomy 30:15-18). Same concept, different covenant.

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