The power of Prayer?

I should start this by saying that when it comes to religion I’m now Agnostic at best. I’d like to think there’s something out there but it doesn’t sit well with the scientist in me and since I struggle so much with this life, the idea of an eternal one is enough to give me nightmares! However, this wasn’t always the case. When I was 12 I went to boarding school for a year. It wasn’t planned and was a hasty decision as the result of circumstances.  The Chaplain/RS teacher at the school was young, charismatic and enthusiastic and I became quite hooked. I even considered getting Confirmed but didn’t because I didn’t want the hassle of having to be baptised first (my parents never had me Christened, something I’m incredibly grateful to them for).

I struggled with homesickness – my close family were 7 hours away by plane – and it was around this time I started praying before I went to sleep. Not the forced prayers of Church services but a decision of choice. It was never much – a thank you for the day (or a thank you for getting me throught the day!), a request to sleep well free from nightmares and to have a good day the next day. Finally it was a request to protect my family, friends and myself from any damage or harm that might befall us.

As the years have gone by (wow, that makes me feel old!), the religion has faded but the prayers have remained. They’ve been a constant for the last 10 years, I could probably count the number of times I’d missed them on the finers of one hand.  So, where is this story going you may legitamately ask?

Saturday was the wedding. The ceremony was beautiful, the bride looked fabulous and the sun shone. On a personal level though it was an emotional train wreck and ended up with my parents having to drive two hours to pick me up and bring me home to prevent me jumping out the top floor window of the B+B. I only include that to explain why it was that I got home and collapsed into bed, too exhausted to pray.

And since then I’ve made a conscious decision to stop, my before bed communions with the Almighty are no more. I don’t know why it was this precise event that triggered it (possibly the overly religious nature of the ceremony) but I’ve come to the conclusion that if there is a God then he’s a cruel bastard for letting my life run the way it is and also what’s the point in talking to someone who I don’t really think is there.

It seems odd writing this now. My prayers have been my little secret, I don’t think I’ve mentioned them to anyone and yet now I’m telling the world I’ve stopped.

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5 Responses to The power of Prayer?

  1. Jordan says:

    I think the word for which to Google is “theodicy”. I find the Irenaean theodicy attractive personally, although that’s got me into arguments in the past.

    As an aside, and without saying anything about your particular case, having attended a very large number of weddings I’d have to say that it’s very much the minority where I’d expect to find God.

  2. Alison says:

    I struggle with religion… I was brought up CofE went to church, church schools and still I think in some way believe in god. I gave my mum the religious funeral I think she would have wanted this year and I’ve been to church a few times this year but I don’t really get anything from it. The vicar of the church has been trying to tempt me back on many occasions always hinting to my father how nice it would be to see me more on a Sunday but surely religion is more than attending church on a Sunday? I even find myself arguing with god out loud but don’t tell anyone I said that, because they’ll come to lock me away! Lol

  3. willspirit says:

    I have tried blogging about spirituality from a scientific perspective. You might or might not be interested: willspirit.com. Without much going into it, my views about religion and spirituality tend to be utilitarian. No one knows what is ‘true’, no matter how firmly they think they do. This as true for convinced atheists as it is for religious fundamentalists. In my opinion, that leaves us all free to choose our own best path. If praying harms you, or if for some reason reference to ‘God’ (in a wedding or elsewhere) breaks down your defenses, then of course you should give it up. But if it helps you in any way, then why stop? Even if your prayers go no further then some buried circuitry in your own brain, maybe that conversation is useful to your well-being. Choose what works.

  4. anickdaler says:

    @Jordan That led me to one of the most confusing Wikipedia articles I have ever seen!

    @Alison I think religiong (at least to me) is what you make of it, I’m just not sure I was making anything of it at all.

    @willspirit Thanks, I had a quick look and what you’ve written seems interesting, will go have a proper read when I have some more time. I think I’d got to the stage where praying was just indifferent to me, it wasn’t damaging but it didn’t do much either. I guess I’ll go back to debating with myself instead which is probably much the same thing just without the religious connotations.

  5. Jordan says:

    @Ana You need to read some of the theoretical physics articles… 🙂

    I didn’t think the Wikipedia article was that bad, although I guess I probably have a bit more of a background in the area. If you’re sufficiently interested, try to get me to explain it in person the next time you see me. There’s a small possibility I’ll do a better job, or at least notice when I’ve lost you.

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