I know too well there is danger in talking about topics like prayer, and I know I have already caused some damage with my last post (Why I don’t believe in prayer, anymore). But I’m only doing this (part 2) because I believe there is an even greater danger of being misunderstood. Let’s call this “Why You Should Pray”.
After publishing the first part, I got dozens of messages, had long conversations, and answered so many questions (which were sometimes pesky). Some included
- Why did you stop believing in prayer? (despite the entire piece answering that)
- Are you an Atheist? (despite stating I believed in God)
- Are you an Agnostic?
- Are you into Nihilism?
- Are you a Stoic?
- Are you attacking religion?
- Are you saying whatever will happen will happen?
- And so on
Of Course, I was expecting (some of) these responses. And, in this piece, I will attempt to answer them all.
And I will do this using some amazing ideas and contributions from different people who read the previous post.
You can minimize this tab and go check out the first post by clicking here.
First of all, what is prayer?
What Is Prayer?
Prayer in the simplest sense is a supplication or expression of gratitude to a deity.
However, Ifeanyi David further explained,
“Prayers are far more than kneeling and mouthing out familiar words to a certain deity.
This was one of the ideas ‘The Law of Attraction’ was trying to teach: Our constant thoughts and meditation are forms of prayers – is the way we attract something to reality – the author explained.
I agree with him as our constant thoughts often become our actions.
Sometimes when I think about something I want or don’t want often, somehow it just happens to occur.
If we agree to this, then every one of us is a ‘prayer warrior’, because everyday man dey think – man dey wish.”
To which I replied,
“Perhaps there is something else we aren’t taking note of.
Notice how people who think/pray about something often set their minds to spot and jump on the opportunities.”
Yes, just as the world is indifferent, the world is also full of opportunities and abundance.
But to get what you desire, you need to align yourself with it.
This is hard to understand intuitively. But look at it this way: If you saw a snake in your room, and then that snake quickly crawled into another room. Will you be okay sleeping in the same house with that snake?
Of course, you won’t. Despite no longer seeing the snake. You won’t be able to sleep for the mere fact that you are aware there is a snake. And being aware, you will remain alert and energized till you find it, kill it, or at least chase it away.
Forget about the negative connotation of a snake, this is also true for the abundance on earth.
There is an abundance of resources available for you and everyone else, but it would require you to know (despite not first seeing them) before you can find and get them.
This is often the advantage of prayers:
How Can Prayer Help You?
By fervently praying, most people manage to believe what they cannot see.
Praying helps them to convince themselves there is a snake – opportunity or whatever they desire – lurking around the corner for them. So they can then go out deliberately looking and eventually find it (because there truly was an opportunity – an abundance of it).
If you pray for a job, you are most likely to find it, because by simply being optimistic you get attuned to finding it.
Notice how you easily spot everyone who wears the same shirt as you even in a crowd. This is the same when you buy a new shoe or car, or start learning a new skill. All of a sudden it will seem everyone is now into that very skill or field.
This is not a glitch in reality. It is a bias in your brain. It is called frequency bias. And it is the reason you shouldn’t allow negativity/problems to lurk within your heart, because you will end up finding it all around you, almost always.
Perhaps it’s the reason they say, “prayer purifies your heart”. Because even when the negativity encompasses you, via prayer you can see the light – the snake – the opportunity.
So the big questions (to you) are
- Is your heart seeking the right things?
- Do you believe what you are seeking can be found?
Now, at this point, it would seem I’ve made an entire 360-degree turn from my previous stance in the last post. And, if you felt that way, it is most likely because you misunderstood me then, and are misunderstanding me now.
Let’s clarify everything.
Do Prayers Work? And Should You Practice It?
My point in the previous post was that prayer has its place (which is more internal, or sentimental). And that your actions as well have their place (which is external – and practical in this indifferent world).
If prayers set your heart right, your actions should bring your heart desires to accomplishment. You should not believe in prayer as the answer to your problem. This was why I said I do not believe in prayers anymore.
Dick Daniel (my big brother), commented on the previous post:
“In recent times, while others try to understand the concept of prayer others still find it difficult to understand and bask in it without taking action.
True, there is a place for prayer and there’s a place for work taking action.
The Bible stated that clearly in the book of James – ‘faith without work is dead (good for nothing)’.
I think finding the right balance is key.
Life may be indifferent but prayers sure do move mountains (not necessarily physical mountains).”
At this point, if you are wondering if I am promoting Christianity, trying to water down the faith of Christians, or even contradicting myself, you are getting me all wrong.
My focus was never “prayer”; it was the “why”.
I am not even concerned about religion (notice I didn’t even refer to any particular religion in the post).
The focus was on “why I do not believe in prayer anymore”. My main concern was about facing reality, and doing what is necessary.
And, what I wrote didn’t even apply to everyone. Heck! Some people are very religious yet work like hell.
The overarching point was “do something!”. This was literally the last phrase.
The major issue I had was that a lot of people get disempowered in the name of praying.
For example, a lot of people have been praying for a job and haven’t gotten it (and are currently experiencing the indifference of the world).
Now, if I give them a systematic, fail-proof, battle-tested approach to getting a job within 60 days or less, and they do get the job within 60 days. Was it their prayer that got them the job, or my pragmatic teaching, and rigorous steps?
A lot of people (entirely dependent on prayer) don’t take their medications, study, and work hard. They do not do the necessary things (that the indifferent reality demands).
So you see, it is these sort of people that the content was written for. It’s like calling me “an ugly, short, fat f#ck!”. It won’t get to me because I’m the exact opposite of those. So also a prayerful (yet hardworking and practical) person won’t feel attacked by the stats I brandished in the post.
I know people who pray a lot and still work harder than me, hence getting more results than I do.
I reckon their prayerfulness fuels them to see, act, and get more results. So, in that case, shouldn’t they practice praying fervently and more often?
Conclusion: How To Get Your Prayer Answered, Almost Every Time
My mission is not to get people to stop believing in prayer – even though I stated that “I do not pray”. It’s almost like saying “I do not meditate”, it doesn’t make meditating evil or stupid (except, of course, if you’re meditating in a burning house).
Now, considering the ideas we discussed above, shouldn’t I be praying? Am I not already praying? Isn’t prayer inescapable?
Well, if you put it that way I am, yet I insist that I do not believe in it – at least, not as most people do.
Because my constant thoughts and utterances quicken virtues inside of me – like courage, faith, patience, etcetera – rather than disempower me. And my thoughts are shaped by the myriad of practical, realistic content I consume. So that I am well rooted in reality and ready for the elusive snakes – i.e. the opportunities in life.
I’ll even take it to the hilt by saying I do not believe that prayers bring healing. Yes, this is the giant elephant in the room.
“Okay David, what about the other day that man prayed for the cripple and they began to walk?”
Look, if it were the prayers that healed the cripple, then there won’t be any cripple left; because do you know any cripple or relative of a cripple who doesn’t wish and pray they walk again?
Anyway, if by some means your prayers are no longer mere wishes, but as reliable and effective as science, then by all means keep at it. But ensure you aren’t deluding yourself, because it is surprisingly easy to do that.
And perhaps it is the reason the data often show that most prayers are wishful thinking.
But, screw it! let me pray on more time:
“I pray that more people will start putting their time and energy into good use because the world doesn’t care about our sentiments.
I have no issue with their belief in a god or anything. Nor do I even care about their manner of prayer or lack thereof.
I am not an atheist, agnostic, stoic, nihilist, or whatever label people try to stick on other people.
I don’t necessarily believe in predeterminism either. I believe we lay on our beds exactly how you’ve made it.
I believe if we do the right things, the right results are certainly bound to follow.
So, I pray more people begin to…
- see reality for what it is (and avoid wishful thinking).
- seek opportunities/answers/solutions like they will a snake in their apartment, and
- do all that is within their power to get results.
A Self-Help Writer And Editor Who Keeps It Simple (Yet Elegant)