PRAYER is not just for the believers
PRAYER is the ultimate expression of our hope...for us or for someone else.
When someone says "I'll pray for you", we generally assume they are a believer and are going to appeal to their deity on our behalf.
Non religious people may say "If I were a believer...I would pray for you".
I believe EVERYONE CAN PRAY!!! It just means different things to different people...of value in each case.
Let's start from the most commonly accepted prayer, the prayer of a believer to their deity.This has obvious benefits, especially, if both people believe. Both feel something is being done, even in a situation where they themseves may feel powerless. If they do have ideas of what to do with their problem, they can feel that they are being assisted in their endevours. Prayer generates hope of divine assistance or intervention.( In the event of failure, it may even be a rationale to help accept it "God knows best".)
The essence of prayer is letting go of control. The person praying can feel that it's not all up to them (which can be ovewhelming). It increases hope and optimism. Letting go reduces stress, prevents depression and increases chances of success.
Now I'll look at how prayer has been shown to actually work.
Dr. Larry Dossey, a medical practitioner, has made the power of prayer a huge part of his life work and who has written many books on the this and related topics.He has researched and analyzed hundreds of studies conducted on the power of prayer. In his research prayer has been shown to be beneficial to a statistically significant degree in over 160 controlled studie. Prayer has shown to been helpful even when the patients have not known that they are being prayed for. Dr Larry Dossey calls this distance intentionality.
Dossey's research goes further in showing that this affect is significant regardless of religion and evident even without religious connection, but the genuine "wish...desire...intent" for something to happen. He referrs to this as a joining with what in a term he has coined, the "non-local mind". He sees this as unity of each of us with a greater whole...perhaps on a quantum level.
To some this would be believing in the universe.
Prayers of believers when they take the form of rote prayers (eg Hail Mary's, chanting etc) have a calming effect on the system of the person praying. It's affect is similar to meditation. Even without the intention of the prayer, the person's body and mind relax and this in turn gives greater ability to solve problems or to manage situations.
Let's now look at praying for someone who believes none of the above, but they still really desire something...want help.
The non-believer can pray to the self within. This is a somewhat broader definition of prayer. They can pray to their very core... for both conscious and unconscious to assist. Here praying also, as for the believer, allows the person to let go of total control, with all the benfits as explained above.
It is well known in possive psychology that the more specific we can make our wish, the more focussed is your attempt to achieve it. Your system is better able to scan the world arround for anything of use...because of the more focussed approach and brings about better outcomes. Prayer brings in that focus and definition.
We can say in this non religious way "I pray that I...you...'" we mean, that although I don't have the answer at the moment I have not given up hope. It means I believe that there may be resourses within that are yet not in action. It also means that, I know and have defined what is needed and am accepting the current period of seeminging non action, but believe that I will do all in my power to actualize that which is my prayer and that the unconscious mind will assist.
We often see the work of the unconscious in dreams we may have, which then inform what we are to do, or what path to take.
At times of feeling unable to act in any way on an an important issue, instead of feeling helpless...regardless of your religious belifs or lack of...YOU CAN DO SOMETHING... YOU CAN PRAY!!!.
Warm Wishes for the week