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Can someone please explain "sending prayers your way"?

(14 Posts)
mm22bys Sat 21-Jul-07 23:54:17


I am not particularly religious, but have some questions regarding "praying".

I am also a member of some American-based groups, and if someone is going through a hard time, a lot of people post that they are "sending prayers yours (their) way".

Can someone please explain this to me?

Why would more than one prayer make any difference to God's plan? Why would God make a favourable decision just because more people are "rooting" for a favourable outcome?

I really don't get it...

Thanks for your explanations,

PrettyCandles Sun 22-Jul-07 00:01:23

In my religion (which is not Christianity) community is very important and people are expected to pull together and look out for each other. An individual's misfortune is often looked upon as a sign that the community has not been as cohesive as it should be, so praying for the individual's well-being is a way of coming together again, as well as a coming-closer to god.

DutchOma Sun 22-Jul-07 15:05:16

there is another thread about the same thing here

mm22bys Tue 24-Jul-07 16:18:50

Hi, yes I read that thread before posting.

I still don't understand though why God would only do something because someone else had asked for it... it seems to me that it makes it a bit of "popularity contest" - if you get enough people asking God will take the "request" more seriously?


aloha Tue 24-Jul-07 16:30:33

I have also asked this question and even some Christians admit that it makes no sense. Nobody will say 'yes, if there are two 20week babies lying in an incubator, God will save the one with the most prayers', like a vote in Strictly Come Dancing, but there is no other way it could 'work'. Studies, of course, show praying for sick people definitely doesn't improve outcome.
Some people think of prayer as a sort of meditation or conversation, but that's different to praying for someone, of course. I find the whole idea of praying for someone fairly horrible tbh, because of the idea that God would favour one person over another because of something so arbitrary.

RedTartanLass Tue 24-Jul-07 17:02:30

In 1988, R. Byrd used groups of New Christians to pray for 192 patients (of a total of 393) being treated at the Coronary Unit of San Francisco General Hospital. Results were published in The Southern Medical Journal and it stated that people that were prayed for improved much better that its counterpart in many aspects including the need of drugs an artificial breathing.

William S. Harris (1999), of St. Luke Hospital in Kansas City published in the Archives of Internal Medicine a study made on 990 cardiac patients. Results similar to the Bird's study supported the positive effect of praying in helping patients with cardiac diseases.

Soooooooo want to believe it!

aloha Tue 24-Jul-07 17:04:02

prayer doesn't work - may make things worse!

UnquietDad Tue 24-Jul-07 17:10:06

Prayers are unfailingly said up and down the country every week for one group of people - the Royal Family. If prayer worked, they would be happier, healthier and generally more content than any comparable people of their wealth and background. Right...

aloha Tue 24-Jul-07 17:11:04

Queen Mother lived to 190 or thereabouts though! And on a diet of gin. She is my role model

DutchOma Tue 24-Jul-07 20:26:37

It is an awfully knotty problem, but I wonder if you are coming at it from the wrong angle.
You are talking about praying FOR something, healing, wealth, whatever, as if God were some mighty Santa Claus doling out goodies to the most deserving.
Ok, put like that you probably know that God is not like that. I don't think there is any one Christian that can explain how God thinks, it would be a pretty puny God if WE could understand Him and the Bible says:"My ways are not your ways".
So, is there any point in prayer then? Depends on what you want out of it. If you want a relationship with God, if you want, in biblical terms to 'walk in His way', you might like to spend some time finding out how to do that. That has to come from an understanding that God is good, that He has your best interests at heart and that He knows what He is doing. There is nothing wrong with sharing with God the concerns that are on your heart, the 20 week old babies in the incubator and you will pray for BOTH of them. Remains the fact that babies die, that awful things happen. Remains the fact that God is good and worthy of our trust. These days I don't often pray for things, more that people may know the peace of God around them and may have the strength to cope with whatever life is throwing at them.

startouchedtrinity Wed 25-Jul-07 10:03:55

My take on this is that 'prayer' in this sense harnesses a natural energy. It's the same whatever your religion and however you go about it. The energy works for the higher good of the person you send it to.

The reason the 'prayers' for the Royal Family don't have any noticable effect is b/c most people in church parrot that bit with no real intent.

UnquietDad Thu 26-Jul-07 21:21:07

I don't believe that there is any such thing as such an energy, and will continue to disbelieve in it until convincing evidence can be offered to the contrary. I'd like to see an experiement which proved, once and for all, that prayer worked and that people who were prayed for were shown to have received the benefit of it - there would need to be a non-prayed-for control group of equal age, health etc.

startouchedtrinity Fri 27-Jul-07 07:46:38

UQD, should out myself as nearlythree! I was very sceptical about this energy thing as it wasn't something I had any experience of. Then out of desperation to be able to do something for the dcs when they are ill except chuck Calpol at them a couple of weeks' ago I was attuned to Reiki. I am staggered and I can now feel energy off people, crystals, trees. My dh thinks such things are baloney but I pinned him down in his chair to balance his chakras and even he had to admit there was something in it. I know you and your dw are very open-minded, give it a go! (But as attunement, not just as a treatment). It's made me reassess some things and confirmed what I believed but didn't know in others.

Re the experiment thing, it's impossible. Medical recovery is probably the only quantifiable way of assessing 'success' but that is such a tiny part of what prayer/sending vibes is about. Even in medical situations there will be those who don't want a cure. And how could you assess the effect on the bereaved, the depressed, those dealing with an affair or other personal crisis?

Notquitegrownup Fri 27-Jul-07 11:54:15

Hi mm22bys

As I understand it, as a Christian, our prayers don't persuade God to do something that He wasn't going to do anyway. I believe that God is loving and working on our behalf, always keen to repair or restore. Prayer is a way in which we are invited to share in His love for other people, to 'get alongside' God in His work.

There are blocks to God working in people's lives. He doesn't force people to do stuff. When I pray for people, I tend to pray that God will help them to see the things that might be blocking His love to them, or His will for them, so that He can act more powerfully in their lives.

It has certainly worked for me and mine. I know that when I pray, things tend to happen more easily - though not always the way I expect them to - and when I don't pray about something, it often takes longer to resolve, or doesn't work out so well.

Telling someone I am praying for them, or hearing that they are praying for me, is lovely! It's good to know at times when I feel less able to pray, or even forget to pray, that other people are holding me in their prayers, and sharing in my faith.


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