Benefits of prayer—even if God does not really exist

First off, I believe there is a God—my parents brainwashed me since I was born, so I can’t help but believe, though I occasionally doubt. I want to make it clear that I am respectful of other people’s beliefs, so if you have disagreeing viewpoints, that’s fine with me. However, this post is not about whether or not God exists, so please don’t start a debate. I hope I can discuss religion without getting too religious, if that’s possible.

For the past month I have been praying on a daily basis, which has strengthened my belief. My prayers usually consist of expressing gratitude, praying for others who are in distress (which is a bit difficult since it conflicts with my belief in karma, but I nevertheless ask anyway), and asking for things (that money can’t buy). However, in the case that there is no God on the receiving end, I have noticed some benefits from the act of praying.

1. Being thankful. Even if you don’t want to thank God, being thankful does have a positive effect on our moods. I have noticed (and so have others) that being thankful for what I have (and even take for granted) has made me a happier person. There are plenty of things I am thankful for. After reading many of the things that make the news, I thank God for another relatively peaceful day.

2. Thinking about others. I often get too caught up in my own issues and fail to notice that I’m not as bad off as I think I am. Praying for others helps me not be as self-absorbed, and I feel better after I stop thinking about my suffering.

3. Repetition reinforces goals. Every night when I pray I conclude by asking God to help me attain certain goals. My goals can be concerning achievement or changing my character. This repetition reminds me of my goals and strengthens my convictions, so I know what I want and can easily identify situations in which I can behave accordingly.

There are other ways to attain these benefits without having to pray, but I noticed these come along with what I’m already doing. And if God really exists and decides to grant my requests someday, all the better.

Have anything else to add?

Posted on Xanga 11/28/2010 at 11:38 PM


6 thoughts on “Benefits of prayer—even if God does not really exist

  1. When I saw that this was from 2010, I started to think about what I was doing four years ago. That was before I started to blog and long after I stopped journaling. I have a pretty sucky memory, so things are pretty hazy. I should blog more, so that four years from now, I will have a recording to look back upon. I will say, “Oh yes, four years ago , I read quirkyintrovert’s blog about praying. And I made a totally off-subject comment!”

    • Your comment made me laugh. Thank you for sharing. Sometimes I think it’s actually better to not remember certain things, so I purposely don’t write about them.

      I prayed much more back when I first wrote the post, but a few weeks ago I looked back on it and then started praying again, and reaping the benefits. 🙂

  2. even buddhist pray. to me prayer does not HAVE to be about or to god. it can be just a way to humanize wishes. to recognize that things can be and are, out of our control.
    an old 60’s saying….if it feels good. do it. it it makes you feel better? then by all means do it.
    good post.

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