Why Do We Pray?

Prayer is something that I have a very hard time understanding.

The idea of petitioning the Gods for a particular outcome feels very “off” to me. After all, my understanding of the universe is that it runs in perfect harmony with absolute justice. Actions have natural consequences and everything that we experience was a part of our fate to help our souls grow. Where does changing that narrative fit in? Why would begging change what happens in the world?

I can understand prayer in terms of it providing a more peaceful vibe in the world, good mind rays! But I’m not sure about directing that positive mind energy towards a particular person. Especially one I’ve never met. How do people pray for someone when they only have a name? Or just an image? And what does that prayer really do for that person?

I could understand a person healing or feeling better based on knowing that many people care about her, but I can’t see how God would change fate to fix or help the person.

Wouldn’t that send the universe completely off kilter?

It’s like I said in an earlier post, would the Gods really say “I was going to do this one thing but because enough people begged me, I’ll do this other thing instead”? (We do see this in the Jewish God, when Abraham negotiates with Him over Sodom)

I am not very comfortable with the idea of a fickle God whose mind could be swayed. How many people have to ask? Is there a metric to fill before the scale tips in favor of whatever person is being prayed for?

Yet it seems like all religions do have this aspect of petitioning the Gods (or God) for particular things. For help with a trial in life, to have an event turn out a particular way, to heal a friend, etc.

Why is that?

I really don’t know. The whole idea of prayer is very confusing to me. Not to say that I haven’t been guilty of begging the Gods to make something particular happen. My desire for a husband has been extremely strong for many years and I sometimes begged the Gods to make it happen already! I sometimes am in such pain that I ask why the Gods are picking on me. But life goes on and each thing happens in its time. None of these petitions changed anything (though I do enjoy the feeling that when I speak to the Gods, I am having conversations with friends).  For example, now that I have met the man I am going to marry, I know that it could not have happened in any other way. It is perfect.

I’ve known some people who pray for their own peace. In other words, they pray that God will grant them the inner peace to accept “His Will.” That makes more sense to me. I can see praying for the peace of mind to accept fate or the challenges that life presents even if we don’t understand them. But far more people pray for particular things to happen.

I would love your input!

Why do you think that we pray? What does it accomplish?

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About Ambaa

Ambaa is an American woman of European ancestry who is also a practicing Hindu. She is fascinated with questions of philosophy, culture, and the meaning of life. Join her in the journey to explore how a non-Indian convert to Hinduism experiences her religion.


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