Having been raised non-religious, I'm lacking in the religious skills department. I'm curious when different religions are supposed to pray for things. For example, I have a cat on my lap and can't get up without disturbing her. And she's purring. Do I pray for a solution or deal with it? Obviously you're supposed to pray if you have a gun pointed at your head. Where's the line though? Does it have to be life-threatening or can I pray for sushi? I've never been able to get a straight answer out of a religious person, they either seem to avoid the question or get hostile. Thought you guys might be able to respond in a more intelligent way.

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That is hilarious, I always told people even when I was part of a religion(muslim offshoot) that they were being inconsiderate bothering god with all their little things. I think patterns of prayer are handed down. If you were raised by people who prayed/yelled for god for every little thing, you would have a higher likelihood to imitate as a kid. There are preset prayers for each religion/time/event but outside of minor things like before meals, there aren't rules for little things. It's very subjective, I've always speculated it's related to ones locus of control. People who handle their own life pray less.
It's interesting that it's so loose. I thought there were all kinds of protocols and rules around it. Learn something new every day I guess :)
Praying - Whenever actually doing something about a situation is too hard and wishing about it to your imaginary friend is so much easier.

As an ex-catholic, I hated Good Friday as a kid when they used to do the "Stations of the Cross". Everyone would say a rosary together (which itself was like 50+ Hail Mary's and 10+ Our Fathers) at each of the 12(?) stations of the cross (I can't exactly remember). By the end of it, a couple hundred people had recited about 500+ prayers each. Multiply that by all the churches on a Good Friday doing it and the vastness of futility is incredible. By the end of the service, it sounded like a bunch of zombie robots on downers.
Wow I hear jokes about saying like 50+ Hail Mary's, etc but I had no idea that actually happened. Is the repetition supposed to be for god or for you? Didn't anyone ever wonder why he didn't hear it the first time?
Well, when I was a christian, I was in a "constant state of prayer", so "god" was already aware of the cat in my lap, and therefore I would just ask "Heavenly Father" or "Oh Lord" for guidance.
There were also times to be more formal about the act of prayer, which have been mentioned by others.
When you pray and how much you pray varies between denominations. Catholics are more ritualistic in their faith, so they tend to pray more (although I think it tends to be more reciting the rosary and such than praying for specific events to occur).

I was raised as a Baptist and I prayed at bedtime or when I really wanted something to happen. I remember one time I didn't do my homework and I prayed for a snow day and it turned out we did have a snow day. God had answered my prayer (nevermind that I had already seen the weather forecast calling for heavy snow before I prayed).

Then you have people who just pray for God's will to be done. As George Carlin pointed out, if God is all-powerful and he has a divine plan that is unchanging, what's the point of praying?

Here in the Cincinnati area, there is a tradition that on Good Friday, Catholics walk up the stairs to the local Catholic Church in Mt. Adams, saying a prayer on each step. They get about 5,000-10,000 people each year. There isn't anything special about the church and no miracles are claimed to have occurred there (at least not to my knowledge), it just became a tradition. I think there are about 100 steps.
This is exactly the kind of thing I was interested in. I knew there must be more to it than just "Hey god I want a new bike for xmas". There's definitely been some extremely smart Christians and it was hard for me to believe that all those people prayed for housework to be done.

So then is prayer taught as a form of meditation in modern churches? I can see a great value in being able to clear your mind and focus on a situation of your choice. Though I can also see it leading to exactly the kind of thinking that ends up at atheism.
Pray whenever for whatever.

God's like a genie but with infinite wishes -- except he can say, "No."
You should pray any time you believe that the devine inerrent creator of the universe has screwed up in his plans for you life. Of course this does put one in the uncomfortable posistion of assuming that you know more than he does. I've also been lead to believe that god only suspends the laws of physics by answering these prayers if you are a wealthy republican!!
You mean wishing? Perhaps that movie Agora will shed some light on... prayer. IMHO, it's just laziness, inability to think critically. Corporations are guilty too of laziness and socio/environmental pollution but I'd say the ones that fall for the multi-national Disney schemes are those that go to the big bux holyland in Orlando. Btw, there's no rides there!? cya!




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