I think prayer is, in part, a way of attempting to control complex systems that we do not understand. To illustrate, here are some examples of prayers people might say:

  • “God, please let my candidate win the election.”
  • “God, please don’t let the hurricane tearing through town hit my house.”
  • “God, please don’t let Bob die of cancer.”

Each of these prayers have surely been said many times, in various forms, and each of them attempts to exert control over a complex system that we do not understand – the election, hurricane, or cancer. The prayer is a way of allaying our fear about an uncertain outcome.

We are much less likely to pray about things that we know will happen, because in those cases we understand all of the variables, so we don’t feel any need to appeal to a mysterious force to influence the outcome.


One thought on “Prayer

  1. dstamps2173

    The purpose of Scriptural prayer is to change the individual’s ability to overcome life situations, and, in doing so, lifestyles are born or matured for that purpose. It is a state of mind similar to seeking an answer to a difficult math problem. You have all the basic information and know how to find what you don’t know; but you need to know the WAY to put the basics together–resulting in the solution to the problem. Therefore, the individual enters a state similar to meditation to find the WAY to obtain the solution. The nature of Scriptural prayer is similar but at a higher level.

    You gave examples that would most likely be self-serving. Scriptural prayer’s purpose is not self-serving–nor is it done out of fear, but love.


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