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November 21, 2007

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I have been thinking about this post for a week. I remember reading something you wrote a while back about your childhood, and I got the impression that something happened along the way to sour you on God. The thing is, He is big enough to take your anger. You should talk to Him about it. And prayer is not just talking to yourself, and working it out yourself. It is a dialog with the creator of the universe. He cares about your problems, your family, your life. And He has the answers. If you'd rather just try to figure them out yourself, you're certainly welcome to, but you don't have to go through this stuff alone.

Damn girl!! Now you've GOT to move to Little Rock. I told you you'd hate Jacksonville, but I sure would love to have another heathen around to play with.

Stacey...who is probably being prayed for by many people at this very moment, lol

I tried to interpret the praying thing as kindness, until a co-worker asked if she could lay hands on me to help heal my strep throat. Now whenever I accept prayers, I back away slowly.

For me, it's totally not about sitting on your hands and waiting for a bolt from the blue, or for someone else to make the decision for you.

So...not only will I pray for you, but, if you move to Little Rock? I guess I'll have to buy you a present, too, since I'm already here and it's the neighborly thing to do, and all.

You're not getting a Coach purse.

I'm not bothered if someone who is unaware of my heathen ways offers prayers in a time of crisis--I know they mean well--but, yeah praying about purses, or my favorite one that pops up on bbs, "pray that we are able to buy this 30,000 sq ft home in a gated community", grate.

I'll go burn some babies for you, or whatever it is that atheists like myself supposedly do in times of doubt. Or just randomly, on Fridays.

I believe prayer is different things to different people. Maybe those who suggested for you pray wanted you to clear your mind and make a decision you feel at peace with.

Personally I have a great sense of faith and for me prayer is a way of clearing my thoughts. But I don't abuse it by asking God for things like a good parking spot :)

I personally believe in God, so for me, praying is me asking for guidance, for a clear presence of mind, that I make the right and wise choice. For someone that doesn't believe in God, and who is told that people are praying for them, I would just take it as them telling you that they are there for you, willing to help if you need it. Sometimes just knowing that someone is there for you can give you a boost, and make you feel less alone. So if you're not religious, I would take it in a friendly "I'm there for you and rooting for you" way.

As for people telling you to pray, if that's something you don't do or believe in, sometimes just talking to yourself outloud, or writing yourself a note, can help you. Just get whatever you're feeling out in the open. I think that can be pretty powerful and helpful itself, without the religion aspect. Pro / con lists can be helpful too.

Personally, I am praying for you. You can take that however you need to take it. And hey, if it helps you in any way, I'm happy. And happy is how I want you to be too.

Btw, happy thanksgiving!

My mother has used that excuse for years to do or not anything. "I'm praying on it" means she's not responsible for anything at all. Urg.

Lara = lmao

About that day.... heh.

Kirsten, maybe you've hit upon the reason why there is too much misery in the world. God is so busy helping people decide which purses to buy, that he runs out of time to tackle the really big issues!

I'm with you on being secular. I lean like the tower of Pisa. But you have to hush up and smile because so many people view "atheism" or "agnostic" with having no morals. Like God reaches down and pukes morals over all of his believers? Please! I've not prayed in probably 10 years and to me it's simply a way to hand over responsibility of a decision to someone else. Ah, that actually might be kinda nice sometimes ; )

I had surgery 2 years ago and was told by people I knew that they were "praying for me". It made me extremely uncomfortable because they felt that I should have taken their words and actions as a compliment. I didn't. I had to smile and say "thank you" so I wouldn't offend them, but they just assumed that I believed as they did. I don't. I'm an atheist.

I personally don't believe in prayer because I don't believe in an "invisible world" or "spiritual plane" where gods exist and hear you. Everyone has a right to believe what they want to, but just blurting out stuff to people and not liking the reaction they get back is what they get for assuming that people think the way they do.

But I do think it's a Southern thing. Along with asking people private religious questions when they've just met (Have you found a church yet, honey? Uh, no. I wasn't looking for one. GASP!!! Honey, you gotta take yo children to church so they can learn morals and values! Otherwise, they'll grow up with no real solid foundation.) All of this conversation takes place between an older woman and a younger woman who've just bumped into each other at the grocery store check-out.

Gotta love the South. Praying for rain? That governor is a nutcase.

sorry, god texted me and told me you don't deserve a coach purse. and i was totally going to buy it for you, too. i texted him back to ask why you don't deserve it, and he responded only with, "april 22, 1993."

i figured i shouldn't ask questions. especially 'cause i don't have unlimited text messages.

Christians didn't invent prayer. It's something that some people are driven to do, and religion gives them an organization within which to do it better/more often/more efficiently... whatever is the goal. Prayer is a human invention - a way of interacting with the understanding that we are not our own maker, not our own god. When I pray about something, I use the faculties God gave me, and I mull it over. I talk to my "friend." ("Can you believe what she said to me?") I use official sentences. ("Forgive her, she knows not what she does.") For example, anyway. Pray about it means to use whatever God gave you and Brain-And-Heart about it. If you use formal prayers, great. If you go all "dear diary" about it,, great. If you say "I wish someone would spray paint an answer on my lawn," great. Anything works. As long as you're acknowledging that you are not God, and using alternative perspectives to approach a situation might be healthy for your outlook. It's easy (for me) to preach, but difficult for me to follow. I have to take my own advice.

And, one more thing - I often pray to St. Anthony (patron saint of lost things) for everything from keys to parking spaces. And, it totally works. For me! Yeah!

When someone tells me to pray about a situation, I take it to mean I should have some faith in the universe and give my problem over to "fate" or whatever force is out there. I'm sure they mean well, but I know what you mean. I don't pray. I can't.

Dana -

My ears were ringing. Thanks for letting me know it was you praying for me and me not just going nuts.

I have to ask, is prayer (or someone praying for you) uncomfortable or annoying to you because of your own unease about religion?

For me, prayer is a form of meditation, a personal method of spiritual fulfillment often tied to my faith. But strip away the religious connotation and it's nothing more than a mental greeting card.

I've often sent good thoughts your way in the form of prayer or thought. Many times I've said aloud, "Dear Lord, I pray that Kristen receives strength and peace, to make the best decision she can for herself and her family, and that her husband gives her a FLIPPIN' day off to rest and recuperate from all the chaos of motherhood and work." (You know, because I don't think God likes the word "fuck" when I'm praying.)

If I had the means to send you a Coach bag, I certainly would. :)

Oh the power of prayer...

My mother-in-law is kind of a closet religious person. She doesn't actively say anything pro, but she really doesn't like it when anyone says anything against.

In conversation one day, when she asked how my week went, I told her that I had befriended a woman who I couldn't quite understand. My friend is nice as a whole but her depth of religious conviction and her assumption that everyone around her is just as religious really weirds me out. I'm just crazy that way, I guess.

Anyhow, when I was trying to convey just HOW religious this person was, my mother-in-law just grinned and nodded and thought I was making quite a big deal out of it.

Then I explained that she and her family had prayed over what names they should give their new pets.

Again, my mother-in-law thought that it was sweet that they would really give THAT much thought to naming their pets.

So after a long pause, because I could see she really wasn't getting the absolute freak factor for me, I dropped the bottom line.

The names they were praying for were for their new pet rats.

My mother-in-law burst out laughing.

Little Rock, Schmittle Rock. Shouldn't you be praying for rain? Isn't that what your governor asked you to do? Get your heathen ass to the steps of the state capitol.

It makes sense to me when someone wants to pray over an illness. It drive me nuts though to hear people praying that God will help them win a reality contest. Doesn't God have more important things to do?

Bossy's Japanese sister-in-law doesn't Pray - she 'Plays'. Does that help?

No, I don't believe in prayer in the conventional sense because to me, that's an act of beseeching some outer being to do something for you.

I don't believe God is "out there". God is "in here" so to speak. There is no beseeching I need to do to have that guidance.

As far as "praying" (for lack of a better word) for you or dumbing it down to thinking of you, I don't know if it does anything for you or not.

The way I see that action, from the perspective that God is in and not out of me, is that I would attempting to get in touch with that Thing that is in all of us and simply wish you well through that connection. Does that make sense?

Maybe it works, maybe it doesn't. How do we really know.

Now I find praying for a decision on which purse to buy laughable. But then who am I to judge? If it works for them....it's all done unto us as we believe and if they fully believe it, then so be it I suppose.

Wow...a southerner who is NOT a baptist. Or methodist. Or any type of bible thumper whatsoever. Whoda thunk?!?

Just tell me where to send my "famous" Cinnamon Lemon cookies, or my Chocolate chip cookies, and they're on their way!!!

It is a cultural thing, I agree. I don't mind when people say they are going to pray for me, unless I don't like them, or think they are insincere. Then I want to kick them in the shins.

As someone who believes that "pray without ceasing" suggests a constant mindset of considering what you believe and what your decisions impact instead of a constant mindset of "Dear God, please let me get a good parking space," the "in your thoughts" bit is the same thing to me.

And that sentence was an English teacher's nightmare.

Also, there are those that offer their prayers from a condescending point of view. That. Pisses me off.

As a praying person (I admit it!),I will say that prayer gives you a different perspective on life. It helps you crawl out of your own selfish little world and see how others can be helped or hurt by your actions. Prayer often leads me to some service or sometimes just telling someone "I'm sorry" and doing what I can to make things right.

When I pray for someone, I try to empathize with them and share their burdens. When I tell them that I've been praying for them,I trust that they will take it as a sign that I'm not only concerned but I'm also willing to help out in any way that I can. When I'm speaking with those who are non-religious, I try to be a little more explicit with my remarks and not use what I call Christianese. It's just not helpful and sometimes it can be annoying.

Thanks for sharing your perspective on this subject.

Oh this is a touchy one and actually, it creates great heaps of tension in my religiously split family. Just saying the words "well pray about it" is enough to set off another bout of non-speaking amongst relatives for months at a time. Why does religion have to be so painful?

When people tell me they're praying for me, I've always chosen to interpret it as a kindness, regardless of how I feel about its efficacy.

Now, relying on prayer alone to heal the sick (Christian Science) or suggesting that I pray or telling me I can't possibly have any morals without believing in a god...well, them's fightin' words.

Yeah... praying.... like that's ever solved anything.

I ask you, if "praying" worked, they why oh why are there so many horrific things still happening in the world? Those people prayed... why'd they get screwed?

Organized religion... Bleh.

being as i live in a praying kind of place, i, too, know your pain. especially with the changing "face" (and religion) of the US, you'd think people would knock it off and just say something like " i've been thinking about you . . . " no need to bring your god into it. besides if i'm having a problem, i don't want to hear about how praying made YOU feel better about it.

I'm pretty sure that my whackjob relatives pray for my soul, being as they consider me a Tool of Satan and all because I make money doing psychic readings.
I have seen the results of prayer circles for healing, and it is the intent that is made manifest, IMHO.
But pray on the everyday?
Maybe pray that you can muster up a kind act even when you are feeling sucky, that would be good.
The little things, like should I pay $100 for a lottery ticket?
I use my handy dandy pendulum for that. It's an ROI thing ;)

I know a lot of people who preface their announcements of changes with "I've prayed about it". Given that these announcements are usually for things most people hearing about it are not going to be too happy about - laying off employees, closing a shop, selling a house, moving across country - I think they do it to head off any dispute. They are saying "God told me to do this, God says it's ok. If you argue with me or get mad at me, you are getting mad at God. Take it up with Him." Which is cowardice in my book.
But I am a wiccan & I'd do a tarot reading or meditate, so what do I know? The thing is, I'd never suggest you do the same thing unless you asked me for suggestions. I assume at this point in your life you have a method for considering your options that works for you. I'm meditating for you. :)

This is so funny- yes, a Southern thing, for sure. One day in my 2nd trimester, one of the preschool teachers asked how I was, and told me she had been praying for me. I wondered if I really was looking so bad- did she think I was dying? I can only imagine the look that I gave her, I was so surprised. You hang in there, if it's God's will it was meant to be, and I will be praying for your water supply. I love the way the governor of GA waited till there was rain in the forecast, then held his prayer meeting/rain dance, and was able to call it a success, since it rained just like the meteorologists said it would! What a fucking MIRACLE!

The sign from God I'd buy? Moving truck on the front lawn.

"I guess it's about the same as someone saying "I'm thinking about you" or "My thoughts are with you..."

Actually, it's not even close, but that's OK. I'm a Christian and my husband is a skeptic, so we have this conversation regularly. Fortunately, though, our conversations aren't laced with venom, as I'm sure many discussions on the same topic turn out to be.

The whole faith and prayer thing isn't for everyone, obviously. But then again, neither are a lot of things.

Just to throw in the other side, as a Southern who does believe that prayer can change things (sorry!) Speaking only for myself, praying about something gives me peace in my decision. And no, I don't pray about which purse to buy, to find a good parking spot, etc. I pray about the big things in life - please don't let me warp my child, please protect us from the crazy people in this world, please keep me calm when the world seems to be swirling around me (or is that my 4 year old swirling around me?). However you find peace in the situation...I hope you find it. This has been a roller coaster, for sure; I'm worn out just reading about it!

ROFL, but I also could not have said it better!!

Touchy subject, but I agree. What about football teams- is God really taking sides between the Yellow Jackets and the Bulldogs? I'd like to think that any god out there has better and bigger issues.

Amen sister! LOL

I agree with you....I've always wondered what "praying" does exactly.

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