Tuesday, June 5, 2007


I came across two similarly titled pieces examining the practice of prayer: What’s the Point with Prayer? and Prayer: What’s the point? Both identify pretty much the same self-defeating issues with Prayer and call into question the reasons for it and expectations of the people doing it. To my knowledge, neither inspired the other, at least not directly. Over the years, I've often had similar thoughts but hadn't gotten around to writing about them. I recommend reading both.

At this point, my suspicion is that to pray individually is roughly equivalent to talking to yourself. When you actually hear your voice verbalizing your thoughts, it seems to help focus on those thoughts and it stores them differently, perhaps redundantly. It may be a crude way to enhance the communication between the brain hemispheres or something on that order. In any case, many people find it useful to some degree to talk to themselves.

Praying as a group seems to serve an entirely different function, a social one, that of demonstrating conformance to a group standard in an effort to better fit into that group.