This week in our brand new series at Patheos, What Do I Really Believe?, we’re opening up the subject of prayer. Specifically, we’re asking: does prayer really make a difference? We received a variety of thoughtful and varied responses – from Muslims to Catholics to Humanists – to our question of the week. Here are just a few excerpts; read all of the responses (including video interviews with college students at Emory University) here.
Crystal Lewis, Progressive Christian blogger:
“I prefer to view prayer as a state of constant communion with God. I am reminded that God knows our needs before we ask, and that we are to pray without ceasing. In this constant time of prayer, we remain connected to the Spirit and mission of God, and can give food to the hungry, and care for the sick, and bring comfort to the broken hearted. I believe that God intervenes in our world at times, but I remain convinced that it is our mission to partner our works with the faith we exhibit during prayer.”
Chris Highland, Naturalist Author:
I used to pray. Seriously, I prayed a lot. On my knees as a child before bedtime; head bowed in church; leader of group prayers in high school (one adult leader told me with tears in her eyes: “I wish I could pray like you!”). Now, I think prayer makes no difference, because I’m different. The world begs for something different. The world needs people seeking help, seeking solutions, from each other, not from a Beggar Above, Out There, who waits for a prayer, who needs prayer.
Najeeba Syeed-Miller, Muslim professor and peacemaker:
In my private, intimate conversations with God, I seek the support to be a person of excellent moral character. According to the teachings of Prophet Muhammad, the relationships we have with others are at the heart of our actions as people of faith. In one Hadith (teaching) he said: “Let whosoever believes in God and in the Last Day either speak good or be silent. Let whosoever believes in God and the Last Day honor his neighbor. Let whosoever believes in God and in the Last Day honor his guest.”
Read all of the responses on prayer at our What Do I Really Believe? series this week at Patheos.
Ironically, I just wrote a piece of our fetish with prayer. and how we have focused so much on the different types of prayer that we have forgotten the symbol of prayer. about how its not a vending machine, but about connection with the divine, but even more than that, connection to one another. it was used in some place in the OT as a way to beg someone else for relational reparation. i think prayer is for connection. thanks for this.