Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Who needs prayer?

Over the past couple of days I have been thinking about prayers driven by necessity. There is a common saying "there are no atheists in foxholes." And while I do not want to discuss the merits of faith or lack thereof in this post, I do find it interesting that people turn to prayer in times of need even if they were otherwise unattached to prayer in a formal or informal sense.

Why do people not offer prayers of thanksgiving as often as they offer prayers of petition?

I am not pushing for one model specifically, but rather for a more rounded approach to prayer. In other words, a model in which prayers are offered in all circumstances, from dire to euphoric. Your own prayer can be a physical manifestation of your spiritual feelings, one that may not only help your faith regardless of how strong, but also have some medical benefits. Check out the link to read about the benefits of spirituality.

http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/20070201/spirituality-may-help-blood-pressure

Whether its for your heart, your spirit, your faith, try prayer in different circumstances (bracketing the usual daily prayers for the purpose of this post), see how you feel. So in an answer to the title of this post, everybody needs prayer in one form or another.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

A couple quick observations: In Jewish prayer, the Amidah/Shmoneh Esreh has its own themes worked into distinct sections. For example, there is a "Hoda'ah/Thanksgiving" section, as well as a few places to petition God ("shomeah t'fillah/God who hears our prayers" and "ro'feh cho'leh/God who heals the sick" are but two examples).

In addition, it is interesting to think about when one may or may not petition God. For example, we traditionally don't ask for anything on Shabbat. The "shomeah t'fillah" pieces are not included on Shabbat, and there is a predetermined time on Shabbat morning where we ask God to heal the sick members of our community, during the Torah service. Food for thought...

Shira said...

I agree, everyone does need "prayer" in one form or another but I think your original question, although seemingly innocent, is rather loaded. There is a lot of baggage that comes with the word "prayer" that deters people from talking to G-d in the first place. How can we get people to overlook this "baggage" and embrace the countless benefits of talking to G-d?