Ok, this may seem like a ridiculous question, but I'm curious if anyone else ever does this.

First, let me state that I have never believed in the supernatural, aside from a short time around 9 years old when I saw a movie about Nostradamus that freaked me out so much I don't think I slept for a month

What I'm curious about is this: Sometimes when I am in great pain (suffering from gastro-esophageal reflux mostly) I have thought something along the lines of "If anyone is out there listening, please make my pain go away."

Of course, it's never helped, but I wonder why I even go there. I suspect it is because of growing up around people who pray for help. I know that even if my pain immediately went away I would know that it was not the work of god, so it confuses me why I would do this.

Do any of you occasionally have thoughts like this?

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The thought that no-one is listening to me is clearly irrational...

I pray for the thunder to cease, and hey presto it doth cease...

I pray for that bloated feeling after eating all the food I blessed in his name before cramming it into my gut to go away, and verily doth it ease, magically transformed into an insulating layer of fat by my prayer alone...

I pray for great riches and many virgins, but alas I must have missed a step. The authorities have frozen my bank accounts and released the 'hostages' from my basement...

I switch religions and maybe this god won't be so economical with the giving me what I goddamn deserve, goddamn it!!!

So, I don't really see it as praying, but more as... directing the attention of whoever is in charge to the fact that I want stuff.
Sometimes when I'm really upset or I feel the need to find strength I'll find a phrase to mutter to myself. Usually a quote from a poem or book, it really seems to help when I'm dealing with my fear of heights. Keep in mind that chanting and meditation was an important part of the religious beliefs I used to have.

Still I find myself saying things like "thank god", "well christ", "well christ on a biscuit", "jesus h christ", "damn it", and "well god damn" almost constantly.
Prayer used to be a part of my everyday life... but it changed slowly from, "Thanks for the food." to "Hello, is anyone there?"

I do engage in prayer occasionally, but not in the usual sense. If I ever get a longing for something more, I will toss out a sincere prayer asking God to show himself if he exists.

Prayers = 1000's
Answers = 0

Conclusion: Not much going on up there!

i pray for the loud bass next door to stop, just incase anything is tuning in to me. i pray for a rocket launcher so i can blow up boom boom cars.
Maybe when I was young I did. But nowadays I never pray.
I used to beg for things to happen when I was very worried about something even after I realised god is just an imaginary friend. But now I smoke instead. I know it's not an improvement but it releases anxiety.
No prayer here either. I do use God's name in vain though. Often.
When it is a substitute for medical attention, then praying.
My last prayer was for god to make himself known to me in some fashion if he actually existed, and I would repeat that from time to time shortly after I deconverted. Of course all I ever heard was crickets. I haven't said that prayer in years, nor have I ever seen any point in repeating it.
I did once, out of frustration and desperation, when all my efforts had failed again and again, and I felt like I didn't have any control over the situation. It was the irrational thing one tries once everything rational has failed. It went something like this:

"Please please please. I don't believe. I still won't believe if it happens. Please just happen. Just a little relief. Please please please."

It did, too. That is to say, I had a temporary and marginal success on something I had been trying very hard for for a long time, and it happened to occur after I got down on my knees and begged to a God I have never believed in - not when I was praying, not ever. But it was prayer and I won't deny it. I'd be in the mad house now if I had failed again without any shred of success.
I think people pray because people need hope. People find themselves in a bad situation, and of course its ridiculous to rely on an imaginary God to pull you out of it, but its also ridiculous to give up hope when success seems improbable or impossible, because _seems_ is often the key word - human assessment of the probability of success is skewed by emotion. People despair and give up. People need an emotional aide to stay steadfast, stay kickin', fight the good fight, when life is falling apart.

I meet some Christians who don't seem to believe much of the Bible in a literal sense, and I ask myself why they're religious. I think it's because religion is kinda the only game in town where the matter of hope is concerned. I think its time to come up with a new kind of "religion" or cultural mechanism that isn't about asserting lies or demanding behaviors, and just fulfills the roles that modern culture still needs, like methods for preserving hope.
the last time I prayed was when I felt dizzy and began fainting a month or two ago. I was sitting down, got up to get something from the fridge, and had this urge to sit in a chair before I collapsed.

so I did and as I was sitting down and getting colder and my vision was getting blurry, I prayed. I don't remember it all but it boiled down to:

"aright. now supposing you're real... yeah I've been talking some shit lately..."



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