homepage
  roll on christmas  
click here to find out more about ship of fools click here to sign up for the ship of fools newsletter click here to support ship of fools
community the mystery worshipper gadgets for god caption competition foolishness features ship stuff
discussion boards live chat cafe avatars frequently-asked questions the ten commandments gallery private boards register for the boards
 
Ship of Fools


Post new thread  Post a reply
My profile login | | Directory | Search | FAQs | Board home
   - Printer-friendly view Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
» Ship of Fools   » Community discussion   » Purgatory   » The Power of Prayer? (Page 2)

 - Email this page to a friend or enemy.  
Pages in this thread: 1  2  3  4 
 
Source: (consider it) Thread: The Power of Prayer?
cliffdweller
Shipmate
# 13338

 - Posted      Profile for cliffdweller     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
That's true, but it's asking for things that causes us problems! Saying thank you, telling God how great he is - there's no problem with that.

Once we start petitioning God (which I suspect is what a huge percentage of non-liturgical, personal prayer consists of) we're in the difficult realm of who, what, why, where, how and when.

Is it a problem when your kids ask you for things-- even Impractical things? Jesus used this example to teach us that it's ok to ask God for stuff. Asking for things like healing and restoration helps align us to Gods heart. The problem is more when we try to parse why one is answered and another not, rather than recognizing the "now" and "not yet"
Of the kingdom means not everything turns out (in the short term) as God desires

--------------------
"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 11242 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
Karl: Liberal Backslider
Shipmate
# 76

 - Posted      Profile for Karl: Liberal Backslider   Author's homepage   Email Karl: Liberal Backslider   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
But why shouldn't it, if God's all powerful?

Once again the faith is Not Making Sense.

--------------------
Might as well ask the bloody cat.

Posts: 17938 | From: Chesterfield | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
jacobsen and cliffdweller

Yes, the NT tells to petition God in prayer, but this thread highlights some of the problems of doing so.

Some Christians are accused of perpetuating unrealistic (often 'miraculous') expectations of prayer, while others are criticised for keeping their expectations too low.

I suppose it takes wisdom and spiritual maturity to get it right (and also an adequate degree of righteous living, no doubt), but I wonder whether the majority of Christians are blessed with either!

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
jacobsen

seeker
# 14998

 - Posted      Profile for jacobsen   Email jacobsen   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
jacobsen and cliffdweller

Yes, the NT tells to petition God in prayer, but this thread highlights some of the problems of doing so.

Some Christians are accused of perpetuating unrealistic (often 'miraculous') expectations of prayer, while others are criticised for keeping their expectations too low.

I suppose it takes wisdom and spiritual maturity to get it right (and also an adequate degree of righteous living, no doubt), but I wonder whether the majority of Christians are blessed with either!

Whether our "expectations" (I thought we were talking about requests?) are too high or too low, the issue is about making the request in the first place.

According to RC teaching we are all sinners, even the best of us, so our personal moral status is not necessarily relevant.

I would agree that second-guessing why something works out the way we wish is not a particularly useful exercise. If it doesn't work out as we wished, it doesn't mean that the prayer was not answered. And yes, sometimes we ourselves are the hands and feet upon earth.

[ 04. January 2018, 10:38: Message edited by: jacobsen ]

--------------------
But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

Posts: 8040 | From: Æbleskiver country | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
The NT does say that we should pray with faith, which one could interpret as expectation.
Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
simontoad
Ship's Amphibian
# 18096

 - Posted      Profile for simontoad   Email simontoad   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I'm thinking of Dormouse and her recovery after reading the thread for the first time today. It's the 6th here, a hot and windy day straight from the pit.

I reckon this thread showcases the best of the Ship.

I was struck when cliffdweller mentioned that cancer was evil. My instinctive reaction to that is: huh? Is Ross River Fever evil? Is the mosquito who bit you and gave you Ross River Fever evil? Is cancer an evil, as distinct from evil? Naah. But I'd like to hear some thoughts on this if people want to talk about it.

--------------------
Human

Posts: 1571 | From: Romsey, Vic, AU | Registered: May 2014  |  IP: Logged
Galilit
Shipmate
# 16470

 - Posted      Profile for Galilit   Email Galilit   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
'course not...it's a disease and a medical event (diagnosis-treatment-recovery)

Because of its seriousness it has also become an industry (research and drugs) and even a lifestyle (how to survive and maybe spend the rest of your life as this thing called "a survivor" so that it becomes your identity (or an inordinate part of it)

And don't get me started on causes ... like "an uncomfortable relationship with my gender" as told me by a properly licenced practicing psychologist I know who met me by chance as I was shopping with my chemo-baldy-head

--------------------
She who does Her Son's will in all things can rely on me to do Hers.

Posts: 624 | From: a Galilee far, far away | Registered: Jun 2011  |  IP: Logged
Gamaliel
Shipmate
# 812

 - Posted      Profile for Gamaliel   Author's homepage   Email Gamaliel   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Is cancer evil?

It's effects aren't very pleasant.

I'd tend not to use that kind of language to describe it but I may think differently when the current dormant state of my wife's cancer gives way to a more virulent phase.

Happy to discuss, but I'm not sure how much good it'd do us.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

Posts: 15997 | From: Cheshire, UK | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

 - Posted      Profile for Martin60   Email Martin60   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
But why shouldn't it, if God's all powerful?

Once again the faith is Not Making Sense.

Not a theistic faith no. Not 99.99..%

The ground of being CANNOT be 'all powerful' in any meaningful sense, as 'all powerful' is itself meaningless.

--------------------
Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Chorister

Completely Frocked
# 473

 - Posted      Profile for Chorister   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
That's true, but it's asking for things that causes us problems! Saying thank you, telling God how great he is - there's no problem with that.

Once we start petitioning God (which I suspect is what a huge percentage of non-liturgical, personal prayer consists of) we're in the difficult realm of who, what, why, where, how and when.

Not being very good at asking for things, I'd not thought of this difficulty. I suppose my prayers are more like flagging things up as points of concern. Not sure how common this type of prayer is.

--------------------
Retired, sitting back and watching others for a change.

Posts: 34624 | From: Cream Tealand | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
cliffdweller
Shipmate
# 13338

 - Posted      Profile for cliffdweller     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
But why shouldn't it, if God's all powerful?

Once again the faith is Not Making Sense.

Quite a lot of theological conundrums can be solved simply by reconsidering where these sorts of assumptions come from and whether they're necessary

--------------------
"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 11242 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
That's true, but it's asking for things that causes us problems! Saying thank you, telling God how great he is - there's no problem with that.

Once we start petitioning God (which I suspect is what a huge percentage of non-liturgical, personal prayer consists of) we're in the difficult realm of who, what, why, where, how and when.

Not being very good at asking for things, I'd not thought of this difficulty. I suppose my prayers are more like flagging things up as points of concern. Not sure how common this type of prayer is.
It would be interesting to know if there's been any research into the methods and content of personal prayer, and if the differences reflect sociological or psychological phenomena, for example. I would expect churchgoers' and non-churchgoers' 'Christian' prayers to be quite different.

Many years ago the minister of my old church said that most of the time he prayed without words. AFAIK he never tried to explain or promote this practice among the congregation, but alongside any other virtues it has, I imagine it gets the individual away from the complications of petitionary prayers....

[ 06. January 2018, 21:54: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
jacobsen

seeker
# 14998

 - Posted      Profile for jacobsen   Email jacobsen   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
The NT does say that we should pray with faith, which one could interpret as expectation.

Or trust.

--------------------
But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

Posts: 8040 | From: Æbleskiver country | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

 - Posted      Profile for Martin60   Email Martin60   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
quote:
Originally posted by Karl: Liberal Backslider:
But why shouldn't it, if God's all powerful?

Once again the faith is Not Making Sense.

Quite a lot of theological conundrums can be solved simply by reconsidering where these sorts of assumptions come from and whether they're necessary
Looks like we agree!

What about the assumption of the demiurge? Belief in human-demon hybrids?

--------------------
Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
SusanDoris

Incurable Optimist
# 12618

 - Posted      Profile for SusanDoris   Author's homepage   Email SusanDoris   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Is there a general assumption that the praers, any prayers, are going somewhere, being heard by something other than other people - if they are said allowed - and then being considered and acted upon?
As a sceptic and an atheist, I do not spend a second on any prayer for remission or cure of the cancer; I just keep as well as I can take the pils and I am lucky that I really do not worry!

--------------------
I know that you believe that you understood what you think I said, but I am not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.

Posts: 3079 | From: UK | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

 - Posted      Profile for Martin60   Email Martin60   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Why do you ask?

--------------------
Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jacobsen:
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
The NT does say that we should pray with faith, which one could interpret as expectation.

Or trust.
But how does one ensure that expectation is banished from one's prayer life while trust is welcomed?

Well, Christianity is a complicated religion. Its high expectations (of trust, or anything else) and its 'all are welcome' ethos sit uneasily together, creating different classes of believers and different levels of faith, depending on a range of criteria.

As a result, I'm sure there are different levels of prayer effectiveness, and it does no good to get above oneself, as it were, unless one is willing to put in all the work. As with life in general.

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Nick Tamen

Ship's Wayfaring Fool
# 15164

 - Posted      Profile for Nick Tamen     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by SusanDoris:
Is there a general assumption that the praers, any prayers, are going somewhere, being heard by something other than other people - if they are said allowed - and then being considered and acted upon?

Yes, for many people. And there may be that general assumption whether the prayers are said aloud or silently.
quote:
As a sceptic and an atheist, I do not spend a second on any prayer for remission or cure of the cancer . . . .
Obviously. But surely it doesn’t come as a surprise that people who do believe in God, however they understand the divine, might have a perspective different from yours on whether there is any reason to spend time praying or whether prayers are heard.

I do hope all goes and remains well with you.

--------------------
The first thing God says to Moses is, "Take off your shoes." We are on holy ground. Hard to believe, but the truest thing I know. — Anne Lamott

Posts: 2833 | From: On heaven-crammed earth | Registered: Sep 2009  |  IP: Logged
leo
Shipmate
# 1458

 - Posted      Profile for leo   Author's homepage   Email leo   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Chorister:
my prayers are more like flagging things up as points of concern. Not sure how common this type of prayer is.

Very common

--------------------
My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

Posts: 23198 | From: Bristol | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Komensky
Shipmate
# 8675

 - Posted      Profile for Komensky   Email Komensky   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I have two quick questions:

1. Is there any way you could be convinced that prayer has no effect whatsoever outside of your own person/body?

2. If it were, then, demonstrated to you that praying for people (intercessory prayer) was, let's say 50% of the time actually harmful to the person being prayed for, would you stop doing it?

K.

--------------------
"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

Posts: 1782 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
There have been some studies into the effectiveness of prayer. One study of hospital patients showed that some of them did in fact do worse when they knew (or thought) they were being prayed for.

The problem seemed to be psychological. It was suggested that some not very religious people (but not outright atheists) are made anxious by offers of prayer. If the idea of a benevolent God is unclear to them they may get very worried at the thought of the judgmental divine gaze.

I also think that for people who only come across prayer in situations of dire need, an offer of prayer risks making them feel they must be really sick, even at death's door, which can be very distressing for them.

In any case, in a pluralistic culture offers of prayer must be made very sensitively, if at all, or else harm could well be caused. Or at the very least, offence.

Otherwise, I don't understand how praying for someone's well-being risks causing them harm. What kind of harm? In the OT God tells Jeremiah to stop praying for the people, because he's decided to punish them for their wrongdoing. But it's not the praying itself that's the root of the problem....

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Jengie jon

Semper Reformanda
# 273

 - Posted      Profile for Jengie jon   Author's homepage   Email Jengie jon   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Also there is the folk idea that you only pray for someone if they are dying. Yes I can trace the roots but the folk idea far exceeds the origin.

Jengie

--------------------
"To violate a persons ability to distinguish fact from fantasy is the epistemological equivalent of rape." Noretta Koertge

Back to my blog

Posts: 20894 | From: city of steel, butterflies and rainbows | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Komensky
Shipmate
# 8675

 - Posted      Profile for Komensky   Email Komensky   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
There have been some studies into the effectiveness of prayer. One study of hospital patients showed that some of them did in fact do worse when they knew (or thought) they were being prayed for.

The problem seemed to be psychological. It was suggested that some not very religious people (but not outright atheists) are made anxious by offers of prayer. If the idea of a benevolent God is unclear to them they may get very worried at the thought of the judgmental divine gaze.

I also think that for people who only come across prayer in situations of dire need, an offer of prayer risks making them feel they must be really sick, even at death's door, which can be very distressing for them.

In any case, in a pluralistic culture offers of prayer must be made very sensitively, if at all, or else harm could well be caused. Or at the very least, offence.

Otherwise, I don't understand how praying for someone's well-being risks causing them harm. What kind of harm? In the OT God tells Jeremiah to stop praying for the people, because he's decided to punish them for their wrongdoing. But it's not the praying itself that's the root of the problem....

My comment is directed to fact that no modern study of the efficacy of prayer show one iota of help to the person being prayed for. However, a number of studies (refs coming soon!) have shown that a variety of kinds of prayer and meditation help the petitioner ('Lord, heal me') but not others. In short, everyone from believers in Navaho medicine men, to folk religions of the inuit, to evangelical Christians, and others, benefit themselves through prayer/meditation, but not others. If you know (or are convinced) that praying for someone will (a) do nothing or quite possibly (b) make them worse, will you still pray for people?

K.

--------------------
"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

Posts: 1782 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

 - Posted      Profile for Martin60   Email Martin60   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
People are obviously helped by being prayed for, it's a form of social grooming.

--------------------
Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
If you know (or are convinced) that praying for someone will (a) do nothing or quite possibly (b) make them worse, will you still pray for people?

K.

Prayers having no effect on others is one thing, but prayers making things worse for others is something else entirely. I did try to run with your scenario, but it seems that I was barking up the wrong tree. Please give some examples of how you see this negativity coming about.

Certainly, if someone asks you not to pray for them I don't see why you'd choose to defy them. A clergyman once told me that his sick daughter had asked church folk not to pray for her. I can't remember if she only wanted to be excluded from public intercessory prayers, or from personal prayers as well, but in any case, I think her wishes should have been respected. AFAIK she wasn't prayed for publicly.

However, if I'd been closer to them I'd probably have prayed for her family members.

[ 09. January 2018, 13:43: Message edited by: SvitlanaV2 ]

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Komensky
Shipmate
# 8675

 - Posted      Profile for Komensky   Email Komensky   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Here is a summary of the outcome of the largest-ever study of the efficacy of prayer. Knowing this, are people still willing to pray for others (and having them know they are being prayed for) with two possible outcomes: (1) no effect whatsoever or (2) possibly impede their recovery?

K.

--------------------
"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

Posts: 1782 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
This is similar to the research I referred to earlier, but I don't think it's the same test.

I'll look for a link, but as I said, the explanation given for the poorer results in the text I read was that sick people who are not very religious are essentially made nervous if they know that appeals are being made to a God whom they don't perceive as loving or forgiving. Psychological negativity may impede physical healing, as we know.

By contrast, when religious people know they're being prayed for, they may feel loved and supported by the Christian community, and surrounded by God's presence and blessings. These positive feelings are likely in themselves to aid recovery, quite apart from any divine intervention that may or may not occur.

Maybe the moral of the story is not to pray for agnostics and/or 'cultural Christians', etc. Or if you do, don't tell them. As I said above, sensitivity applies in a pluralistic society.

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Komensky
Shipmate
# 8675

 - Posted      Profile for Komensky   Email Komensky   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
This is precisely my point.

1. The faithful: 'Prayer really does heal people external to the one praying.'
2. The latest science argues that not only does it have no positive effects all, but any effects it does have are harmful.
3. The faithful. (a) There must be something wrong with that science because I know it works; (b) I'm going to do it anyway, if it does harm people because the Bible tells me to do it.

The study in question was published in 2006 in The American Heart Journal (DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1067/mhj.2002.122172
, if you have access).

K.

--------------------
"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

Posts: 1782 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I think your biases are getting in the way of further discussion on this. You're sticking to one interpretation of the test results, even though I've already offered an alternative perspective. We won't agree. Fair enough.

Malicious prayers said on behalf of unwilling agnostics may be commonplace where you live. If so, that's unfortunate. I'm part of a Christian community myself, and that situation isn't really a part of my experience. There are stories in the news of people who reject offers of prayer, but I've never come across that myself, except for the minister's daughter I mentioned above.

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
Komensky
Shipmate
# 8675

 - Posted      Profile for Komensky   Email Komensky   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I apologise, I'm not trying to be combative (mois?!), but simply read the results of the study. I do, however, think that this further highlights the dissonance (in some circles only, I admit) between science and religion. One cannot claim to admit the scientific method and then dismiss the results because God might have wanted the results to be different. If a doctor prescribes a particular medicine to treat a particular condition and it doesn't work, was there a problem with the prescription or a mismatch with your body, or did God not want you to get better?

What seems to have happened with this 2006 study (which is the one that got so much press back then). It received millions from the controversial Templeton Foundation, surely with the goal of proving with scientific methods that prayer heals people. When that failed, the religiously-motivated rejected their own results—not for scientific reasons, but for theological ones. You cannot have it and not have it.

K.

--------------------
"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

Posts: 1782 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
cliffdweller
Shipmate
# 13338

 - Posted      Profile for cliffdweller     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
I apologise, I'm not trying to be combative (mois?!), but simply read the results of the study. I do, however, think that this further highlights the dissonance (in some circles only, I admit) between science and religion. One cannot claim to admit the scientific method and then dismiss the results because God might have wanted the results to be different. If a doctor prescribes a particular medicine to treat a particular condition and it doesn't work, was there a problem with the prescription or a mismatch with your body, or did God not want you to get better?

But your interpretation of the results is more extreme/harsher than those made by the researchers themselves. I've got to agree with Svtlana that it really does seem like you are guilty of the same biased/closed thinking you are (rightly) decrying. The phrase "I'm simply reading the results" has that same "just so" feel we often get from fundamentalists/literalists-- "there's only one way to read this and I've got it"-- again, especially when it goes beyond the statements made by the professionals who conducted the research.

[ 10. January 2018, 15:02: Message edited by: cliffdweller ]

--------------------
"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 11242 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
Komensky
Shipmate
# 8675

 - Posted      Profile for Komensky   Email Komensky   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
[QUOTE]But your interpretation of the results is more extreme/harsher than those made by the researchers themselves.

In what way, exactly? A study was carried out that demonstrated that intercessory prayer (a) had no positive effects on people being prayed for and (b) had some negative effects on those who knew they were being prayed for. Since this study, no other study has produced results that counter it. My reading is at face value: intercessory prayer has nothing positive to contribute in helping people recover from health problems (in this case, recovery from heart-bypass surgery). I don't see a problem here.

K.

--------------------
"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

Posts: 1782 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

 - Posted      Profile for Martin60   Email Martin60   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Welcome back K. You are of course right in that the laws of physics aren't broken, ever. But because they are kept, people benefit from prayer.

--------------------
Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
Komensky
Shipmate
# 8675

 - Posted      Profile for Komensky   Email Komensky   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
The act of prayer and/or meditation has repeatedly been shown to be demonstrably beneficial to the person doing the praying/meditating, but that it is (a) in no way unique to Christianity and (b) a different subject. What is not surprising to me (after my years in what I could call an extreme evangelical environment—HTB) is that the clear results of such a study (which was, after all, funded by a Christian organisation with a point to prove) do not seem to have changed the behaviour of many (any?) Christians. The result seems to be: 'Well, my intercessory prayers may be impeding people's recovery from illness, but I'm going to do it anyway because (a) it makes me feel good and (b) the Bible says I should do it.' Medical experts warn about drinking too much and I should probably cut back based on those studies and the resulting advice—but what I am not doing is pouring whiskey down the throats of others.

There are, of course, other possibilities or explanations. Perhaps the methods were flawed? Perhaps Elvis interfered? However, the contrary data has yet to materialise. The authors of the original study in the American Heart Journal promised a follow-up study, but it never materialised. Meanwhile, in the journals of both the AMA and BMA, researchers pleaded that no more money be wasted on this topic.

K.

PS. Nice to 'see' you too, Martin!

--------------------
"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

Posts: 1782 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
jacobsen

seeker
# 14998

 - Posted      Profile for jacobsen   Email jacobsen   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
A study was carried out that demonstrated that intercessory prayer (a) had no positive effects on people being prayed for and (b) had some negative effects on those who knew they were being prayed for.
K.

I've not seen the study but find it difficult to envisage how anyone could determine the effects of intercessory prayer. As for "negative" effects, they seem to be linked less to the fact of praying, than that the the person being prayed for new about it, and objected!

There can be a patronising edge to "I'm praying for you" which could imply "and boy, do you need it!" - not in a good way. That would annoy anyone. Best to carry on praying but shut up about it, unless, of course, prayers are requested, as they quite frequently are.

--------------------
But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

Posts: 8040 | From: Æbleskiver country | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged
Komensky
Shipmate
# 8675

 - Posted      Profile for Komensky   Email Komensky   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jacobsen:
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
A study was carried out that demonstrated that intercessory prayer (a) had no positive effects on people being prayed for and (b) had some negative effects on those who knew they were being prayed for.
K.

I've not seen the study but find it difficult to envisage how anyone could determine the effects of intercessory prayer. As for "negative" effects, they seem to be linked less to the fact of praying, than that the the person being prayed for new about it, and objected!

There can be a patronising edge to "I'm praying for you" which could imply "and boy, do you need it!" - not in a good way. That would annoy anyone. Best to carry on praying but shut up about it, unless, of course, prayers are requested, as they quite frequently are.

'I've not seen the study, but…'. Come on. You can do anything but acknowledge the results of a scientific study. It was painful for Christians to admit that the earth revolved around the sun, or that humans were the product of evolution by natural selection, the same has happened to prayer. It is not like 'The Force' in Star Wars. Prayer cannot alter or effect anything external to the petitioner. All I am asking is that you engage, scientifically with the study, not with iron-age metaphysics.

K.

--------------------
"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

Posts: 1782 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Leorning Cniht
Shipmate
# 17564

 - Posted      Profile for Leorning Cniht   Email Leorning Cniht   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
One cannot claim to admit the scientific method and then dismiss the results because God might have wanted the results to be different.

I think you overstate this claim. Prayer is explicitly asking God do do something, so God must be considered to have a rather more active involvement than he would have in ensuring that gravity continues to point in the correct direction.

For me, the most interesting result is the anti-placebo effect where people who knew they were being prayed for had worse outcomes.

Posts: 5026 | From: USA | Registered: Feb 2013  |  IP: Logged
Komensky
Shipmate
# 8675

 - Posted      Profile for Komensky   Email Komensky   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Leorning Cniht:
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
One cannot claim to admit the scientific method and then dismiss the results because God might have wanted the results to be different.

I think you overstate this claim. Prayer is explicitly asking God do do something, so God must be considered to have a rather more active involvement than he would have in ensuring that gravity continues to point in the correct direction.

For me, the most interesting result is the anti-placebo effect where people who knew they were being prayed for had worse outcomes.

This situation is even more problematic than that.

'The man who prays is the one who thinks that God has arranged matters all wrong, but who also thinks that he can instruct God how to put them right.'

—Christopher Hitchens, Mortality

--------------------
"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

Posts: 1782 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Miffy

Ship's elephant
# 1438

 - Posted      Profile for Miffy   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Has anybody heard from Dormouse? How is she doing, do we know?
Posts: 4738 | From: The Kitchen | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
Miffy

Ship's elephant
# 1438

 - Posted      Profile for Miffy   Author's homepage     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Sorry. Just caught up on prayer thread.

--------------------
"I don't feel like smiling." "You're English dear; fake it!" (Colin Firth "Easy Virtue")
Growing Greenpatches

Posts: 4738 | From: The Kitchen | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged
jacobsen

seeker
# 14998

 - Posted      Profile for jacobsen   Email jacobsen   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by jacobsen:
[K.

I've not seen the study but find it difficult to envisage how anyone could determine the effects of intercessory prayer. As for "negative" effects, they seem to be linked less to the fact of praying, than that the the person being prayed for knew about it, and objected!


'I've not seen the study, but…'. Come on. You can do anything but acknowledge the results of a scientific study.
K. [/QB][/QUOTE]


No, Komensky. My words stand exactly as written. I haven't seen the study and do find it difficult to envisage how the power or otherwise of intercessory prayer can be determined. Nothing to do with dismissing the results of the study, just saying I find it hard to imagine how it could work.

Of course, reading the study might tell me. Or not.

But please, don't make assumptions.

--------------------
But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

Posts: 8040 | From: Æbleskiver country | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged
mr cheesy
Shipmate
# 3330

 - Posted      Profile for mr cheesy   Email mr cheesy   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Ye gods. Use proper code can't you?

If someone else makes a mistake, correct it in your quote of their post.

--------------------
arse

Posts: 10697 | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Komensky
Shipmate
# 8675

 - Posted      Profile for Komensky   Email Komensky   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by jacobsen:


No, Komensky. My words stand exactly as written. I haven't seen the study and do find it difficult to envisage how the power or otherwise of intercessory prayer can be determined. Nothing to do with dismissing the results of the study, just saying I find it hard to imagine how it could work.

Of course, reading the study might tell me. Or not.

But please, don't make assumptions.

The fallacy of the argument from incredulity.

--------------------
"The English are not very spiritual people, so they invented cricket to give them some idea of eternity." - George Bernard Shaw

Posts: 1782 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
jacobsen

seeker
# 14998

 - Posted      Profile for jacobsen   Email jacobsen   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by jacobsen:


No, Komensky. My words stand exactly as written. I haven't seen the study and do find it difficult to envisage how the power or otherwise of intercessory prayer can be determined. Nothing to do with dismissing the results of the study, just saying I find it hard to imagine how it could work.

Of course, reading the study might tell me. Or not.

But please, don't make assumptions.

The fallacy of the argument from incredulity.
More assumptions. (sigh.)

--------------------
But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

Posts: 8040 | From: Æbleskiver country | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged
SvitlanaV2
Shipmate
# 16967

 - Posted      Profile for SvitlanaV2   Email SvitlanaV2   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
[QUOTE]But your interpretation of the results is more extreme/harsher than those made by the researchers themselves.

In what way, exactly? A study was carried out that demonstrated that intercessory prayer (a) had no positive effects on people being prayed for and (b) had some negative effects on those who knew they were being prayed for. Since this study, no other study has produced results that counter it. My reading is at face value: intercessory prayer has nothing positive to contribute in helping people recover from health problems (in this case, recovery from heart-bypass surgery). I don't see a problem here.

K.

My understanding is that when scientists or social scientists take a group of people and test them to establish whether a certain phenomenon has an effect, they also have to consider whether the outcome (or even the lack of an outcome) might be influenced by factors other than those they're focusing on.

Ideally those other factors have been taken into account in the selection process, the structure of the test, and with the use of control groups, etc. But in all cases adequate analysis has to be in in place before it makes sense to extrapolate the results to include all kinds of other, possibly very different, people.

This seems relevant to a discussion of the efficacy of prayer, since the impact of religion varies across a range of this-worldly phenomena: age, sex, social class, ethnic and/or cultural origins, level of education, family background, personality, the prevalent social and cultural conditions in the locale, the exact type and level of religiosity involved. IMO it would therefore make sense for the researchers not to ignore these factors in their test.

Moreover, the problem for which no test can compensate, ISTM, is that there's no way of ensuring that a particular group is not being prayed for. All the researchers know is that there some participants were prayed for 'officially' and some not. Yet prayer exists in almost all cultures. Why assume that official prayer is going to override unofficial prayer? I can't think of any theological justification for that. Indeed, I wonder if any of these researchers ever take any kind of theological perspective into account. The idea that prayer ought to produce straightforward, desirable results doesn't seem be an obvious 'Christian' or biblical understanding. But maybe prayer in other religions works like that. Have their been any tests into the outcomes of Muslim prayers?

Finally, googling suggests that most of these tests occur in the USA. It could be argued that this reveals more about American anxieties surrounding religion than it does about prayer as a theologically valid, and probably quite complex global phenomenon. But I suppose I would say that....

Posts: 6668 | From: UK | Registered: Feb 2012  |  IP: Logged
jacobsen

seeker
# 14998

 - Posted      Profile for jacobsen   Email jacobsen   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
SvitlanaV2
[Overused]

--------------------
But God, holding a candle, looks for all who wander, all who search. - Shifra Alon
Beauty fades, dumb is forever-Judge Judy
The man who made time, made plenty.

Posts: 8040 | From: Æbleskiver country | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged
cliffdweller
Shipmate
# 13338

 - Posted      Profile for cliffdweller     Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Komensky:
quote:
Originally posted by cliffdweller:
[QUOTE]But your interpretation of the results is more extreme/harsher than those made by the researchers themselves.

In what way, exactly? A study was carried out that demonstrated that intercessory prayer (a) had no positive effects on people being prayed for and (b) had some negative effects on those who knew they were being prayed for. Since this study, no other study has produced results that counter it. My reading is at face value: intercessory prayer has nothing positive to contribute in helping people recover from health problems (in this case, recovery from heart-bypass surgery). I don't see a problem here.

K.

I read the study you linked and the language used by the researchers themselves was far more moderate than the language you're using. I'm not denying it leaned in the direction you're claiming, just noting that the researchers themselves are far more reserved, particularly re any possible negative effects.

--------------------
"Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don't be afraid." -Frederick Buechner

Posts: 11242 | From: a small canyon overlooking the city | Registered: Jan 2008  |  IP: Logged
MrsBeaky
Shipmate
# 17663

 - Posted      Profile for MrsBeaky   Author's homepage   Email MrsBeaky   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
I have thought long and hard about whether or not I had anything meaningful to add to this discussion. The topic is one I have agonised over many times and in many situations and I have finally come to a place of relative peace about it all.

A bit of background: I grew up in the catholic tradition, married into the reformed evangelical tradition, had lots of experience of charismatic both evangelical and catholic and am now back worshipping in the catholic tradition.Along the way I spent a lot of time in Africa.

I have concluded:
1.Intercession is an important part of prayer but it is only a part. As I think Michael Ramsey once said it is about coming to God with people on your heart
2. Different traditions strongly influence how we talk about these things and often not helpfully! I know people who feel the need to tell others that they are praying for them as some sort of act of witness and so that (their words) "God gets the glory when they are healed". I know other people people who talk about the will of God in such a way that their hearers could only conclude that the suffering if they are not healed had been designed specifically for them
3. I find the research mentioned above challenging but would not want to stop praying for people until I had more information. However I firmly believe wisdom is required in how we pray and in deciding whether or not we tell people that we are praying. I have lost count of how many times I have prayed, said nothing but felt I should do something like call, write or visit and the timing of that interaction proved helpful to the other person. I say this not to big myself up, simply to tell the story
4. The whole realm of what the charismatic wing of the church calls prophecy is fraught with danger. I know too many people who died whilst claiming prophetic words of healing....but I also know others who were deeply comforted by the right word at the right time shared with them by someone who had prayed
5. Then there are the inexplicable happenings which I have seen with my own eyes on a few rare occasions. I too find the idea of thin places/ mystery deeply attractive. Sometimes, just sometimes when we pray something remarkable does seem to happen. The problem is the need some of us have to use the story (which usually changes, sometimes out of all recognition) to advance our own agendas

I think that's enough!

--------------------
"It is better to be kind than right."

http://davidandlizacooke.wordpress.com

Posts: 693 | From: UK/ Kenya | Registered: Apr 2013  |  IP: Logged
Martin60
Shipmate
# 368

 - Posted      Profile for Martin60   Email Martin60   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
As long as people are comforted.

--------------------
Love wins

Posts: 17586 | From: Never Dobunni after all. Corieltauvi after all. Just moved to the capital. | Registered: Jun 2001  |  IP: Logged
quetzalcoatl
Shipmate
# 16740

 - Posted      Profile for quetzalcoatl   Email quetzalcoatl   Send new private message       Edit/delete post   Reply with quote 
Of course, when we don't pray, remarkable things also happen. For example, people recover from cancer spontaneously. I don't know if anyone has ever done a statistical study of such things.

--------------------
I can't talk to you today; I talked to two people yesterday.

Posts: 9878 | From: UK | Registered: Oct 2011  |  IP: Logged



Pages in this thread: 1  2  3  4 
 
Post new thread  Post a reply Close thread   Feature thread   Move thread   Delete thread Next oldest thread   Next newest thread
 - Printer-friendly view
Go to:

Contact us | Ship of Fools | Privacy statement

© Ship of Fools 2016

Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classicTM 6.5.0

 
Check out Reform magazine
sip of fools mugs from your favourite nautical website
 
  ship of fools