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juniper
12-21-2014, 11:33 PM
When you pray, either as part of a daily ritual or just throughout the day casually, what are you doing?

Are you speaking to a specific God? Or expressing thoughts, or releasing concerns or hopes into the Universe, with the purpose of getting an answer back from Someone? Or something else?

I was born into a Christian family and was taught that praying means speaking to (the Christian) God. It could be asking for help, expressing gratitude, or just general praise.

I no longer identify as Christian. The closest organized religion I identify with would be Unitarian Universalist, probably. I don't regularly attend services.

I'm surrounded by mostly Christians at work and in community. So when they say, "I'll pray for you," I know what they mean. They know what they mean.

My concept of "praying for you" is less clear. I don't believe in a God that actively participates / interferes in people's lives. So, "praying for you" is not asking for a specific entity to fix your problem.

I'm actually not sure what it would be, if not that. "Holding good thoughts?" "Sending warm thoughts your way?"

"Praying for you" seems to have a specific connotation - speaking to a divine being and asking for a solution to a problem. So am I being false when I say that, but really mean, "I'll send out - to somewhere - good thoughts and hopes that your needs will be met?"

I spoke with a lifelong UU friend about this, and she said she usually just says, "Sending you warm wishes and thoughts" but she agreed that seems rather weak compared to "Praying for you."

I have a relative who is Quaker and I think he uses, "I'm holding you in the light." Which sounds comforting, and more active than "thinking good thoughts" - but also would imply that I am Quaker.

I think my childhood set my notion of prayer so tightly that I have a hard time understanding how it could be otherwise. I'd like an expanded definition of prayer - I'd like to say "I'm praying for you" and mean it - even if not in the sense that a Christian would mean.

This post is rambling and I'm sorry - it reflects my thoughts on this - confused and rambling. I hope you can follow me enough to respond.

Siri Kirpal
12-22-2014, 03:44 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

I think of it as integrating my psyche with the Universal Psyche. This is akin to the Quaker response. It also explains what people mean when they say someone's whole life was a prayer.

I don't always ask for specific outcomes. I do very little formal prayer. It's a very deep inward motion towards a vaster solution. Usually silent.

Sikhs do have formal prayers; some of which are more like recited meditations. But I think you were talking about more personal prayer.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Chris P
12-22-2014, 04:19 AM
On a functional level, for me prayer is as much a refocussing of my mind on where I am and what I need to be doing. I have found it most comforting and useful to pray that I have the courage to respond appropriately to whatever situation arises or whatever happens in a certain situation. Prayers for things, or so that I get what I want (a certain love interest, a set amount of money, a certain job) although self-serving, aren't by nature bad, but set up expectations that might not be met.

Praying for other people (that so-and-so's health returns, etc.) is nice and thoughtful, but isn't free from expectations, either, so I try not to pray for specifics. I pray that the person has an open mind and strength to withstand whatever issue they are facing. That's what I mean when I tell someone I'll pray for them.

Is a God required for that refocusing I pray for to happen? Perhaps not, in all fairness. But by choosing to be a Christian I have cast my lot with those who say one is (or at least helps immensely) even while accepting the evidence that one is not necessary and in fact might not exist. If I were able to explain how prayer works in an objective, replicable way, I would be one famous dude. That's why it's called faith and not science.

auzerais
12-22-2014, 07:16 AM
I am an atheist now, and I have been for many years, but I was a reasonably devout Christian for the first 18-19 years of my life. Prayer was exceedingly important to me during those years, and honestly, it still is. I no longer believe that there is a God, but I am still talking to Him.

So, yes, I talk to a divine being, and ask for solutions to problems, or vent my grievances, or share my sorrows/joys/frustrations. And often I get an answer of some kind, maybe only because I have taken the time to consider my issues. Am I nuts? Probably, but I think there are worse habits to have.

kuwisdelu
12-22-2014, 06:15 PM
Prayers are spoken words and songs and dances. Prayers are heartfelt wishes and magic spells.

Some are merely ceremony or like blessings, such as greeting the morning sun.

Some are specific requests or wishes, like our singing and dancing for rain, which is like a magic spell.

Some are necessary to keep the world turning, such as prayers for bringing in the new year.

Some prayers require exact words, or other actions like dancing or regalia, while others can be more personal and free-form, or may not require words at all.

I don't pray, myself, but I rely on other people's prayers.

Maybe when I get older and learn my language, I'll learn some prayers.

Lavern08
12-22-2014, 08:21 PM
For me,

Prayer is talking directly to the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob (by faith). ;)

As Chris said, I can't really explain it, but I cannot count the number of times He has answered my prayers (mostly for others) in a real and tangible way.

scifi_boy2002
12-22-2014, 08:35 PM
For me prayer is a direct conversation with God, it is expressing my thoughts, and it is meditation. When I was 7 years old I had a sailor hat and I was tossing it up and down and it landed on the roof of my house. I went in to tell my mother and she said just pray to God and He will get it down. I prayed for God to bring it down and right after I prayed a puff of wind came down and blew the hat off the roof and onto the ground. I've been a believer in prayer ever since. I've seen countless events like this over the years. I'm not saaying that every prayer I've prayed has come true, but I've seen enough amazing things happen that I am a firm believer in prayer Actually, the same thing happened again back in the summer. I was playing badminton with my kids and the birdie landed on the roof. The kids were upset and I told them to pray for it to come down. And yes, a puff of wind came and blew it off. This one wasn't as immediate as the one when I was seven, but it happened within a few minutes.

Lhowling
12-22-2014, 10:33 PM
Prayer, for me, is a meditative conversation for Spirit. I don't pray for anyone because I personally believe that you can only be responsible for you and your own capabilities. When I see someone hurt, I pray to spirit to show me how to help that person, or to show me how to empathize at the very least.

I do not subscribe to a religion, I identify as a witch because of the pathways I use to connect to a higher being for enrichment of my soul. Prayers often experienced on a walk when the trees rustle and whisper back what I need to know, when after a silent meditation my cat sits on my lap and purrs, or even in silence when a voice breaks through the darkness and speaks to me in a language I do not recognize but can feel its meaning and impact within my soul.

juniper
12-22-2014, 11:25 PM
When you pray, either as part of a daily ritual or just throughout the day casually, what are you doing?

~~~~~
Thanks for the responses. I wrote the original post in a hurry before I went to the job.

Kuwi, so far I think I match up with you the best - "Prayers are heartfelt wishes and magic spells" and you too, Siri - "I think of it as integrating my psyche with the Universal Psyche."

As an addendum, I'd like to ask, "When you pray, whom or what are you praying to? Someone / something specific? Or a general divine spirit or being or gathering or consciousness or ... ?"

I know some have answered this already, so thanks.

kuwisdelu
12-23-2014, 12:46 AM
As an addendum, I'd like to ask, "When you pray, whom or what are you praying to? Someone / something specific? Or a general divine spirit or being or gathering or consciousness or ... ?"

Generally, my ancestors.

Many prayers are to our ancestors, but some prayers are specific to our sun father, our moon mother, and so on.

Many prayers are for specific occasions, and can only be said by specific persons. Some can be spoken by anyone.

ColoradoGuy
12-23-2014, 12:56 AM
For Quakers like me of the so-called unprogrammed variety (http://www.quakerinfo.org/quakerism/worship), all prayer is silent, a turning inward to sense the Inner Light within all of us. Praying for someone is known as "holding them in the Light."

A_Read
12-23-2014, 02:37 AM
I'm a Christian like Lavern and Chris, so for me, prayer is talking to the God of the Bible and/or Jesus.

Often my prayers are simple cries for help ("Oh please don't let anyone have stolen the purse I left in the shopping cart!"), but other times I am just talking to God the same way I'd talk to a friend.

I believe that what I'm investing in, with every prayer, is a relationship. Just like any other relationship, it consists of lots of different types of conversations, all of which have their place.

So when I pray for my purse to not have been stolen, yes I am very much asking God to keep any potential thieves from noticing it. But more than that, I'm also trying to re-focus from panic to the fact that there is Someone bigger out there who loves me and will take care of me, even if I don't get the answer to my prayer that I wanted.

Hope this somehow helps?

StarryEyes
12-23-2014, 03:26 AM
I'm a Hellenic polytheist, and in my religion there's two types of prayer: formal and informal. (I'm pretty sure that's not what they're called but it's an accurate description.)

Formal is basically equal to ritual: reciting hymns, making offerings, all that stuff. This form of prayer is less personal and more focused on honouring the Gods. It's a way of saying "hi, StarryEyes here, I respect and honour and love you" :) It also helps me focus on the spiritual dimension of my life and I always feel a lot more peaceful and clear-minded after ritual.

In formal ritual I don't pray for specific things. If I do pray for something it will still be general, i.e. "May Apollon bring health and healing to those who need it." These rituals also help build kharis, which, put very simply, is a way of building a relationship with the Gods. The more I honour, say, Hermes, and make offerings to him, the more likely he is to help me when I need it. This comes in handy for the second type of prayer.

Informal prayer (out of ritual) can happen anytime, anywhere. I often find myself praying on my way to exams and job interviews, whenever I'm scared or nervous, and whenever something great happens and I feel the need to say thanks :) I tend to pray more for non-physical than physical things though. For example, if I'm about to have a job interview, I'll pray for confidence and calmness rather than for getting the job. The Gods know best and the job might not be what I need, so I trust them with that.

Most of the time, I pray to a specific God. Depending on their domain (for example, Zeus for justice, or Hestia for the home) and the kharis I've built with them, I'll pray to whichever God feels the most appropriate and will be the most likely to answer. I do believe that they answer and that it's not just a way of sending my hopes and thoughts out to the world. At the same time, the act of prayer itself makes me feel a lot calmer and reminds me that I'm connected to something bigger, and that I'm going to be okay :)

Ken
12-24-2014, 03:42 AM
Zeus

Wow. Cool :-)

Our Gods of yore are of are a different sort, in my humble opinion. Prayer is different as such. If thee want something then the way to solicit it is to yell out, "Yo Zeus. Could use a book deal," etc. And then lose your cool. E.g. Fling a stone at something in a rage.

"Now there's an earthling with character. Dare say I'll grant his wish!" sayeth Zeus :-) ... or Pallas Athene :-)

ps Hi up there on Mt Olympus. Yer humble servant, Ken. Starry too !

Grr. Grr.

StarryEyes
12-28-2014, 04:29 AM
Wow. Cool :-)

Our Gods of yore are of are a different sort, in my humble opinion. Prayer is different as such. If thee want something then the way to solicit it is to yell out, "Yo Zeus. Could use a book deal," etc. And then lose your cool. E.g. Fling a stone at something in a rage.

"Now there's an earthling with character. Dare say I'll grant his wish!" sayeth Zeus :-) ... or Pallas Athene :-)

ps Hi up there on Mt Olympus. Yer humble servant, Ken. Starry too !

Grr. Grr.

Haha, made me laugh! Yes, the Hellenic tradition does focus a lot more on shouting out and attracting the Gods' attention than the Abrahamic faiths. We don't kneel for prayer, either (unless praying to a Chthonian God such as Hades) - being an "earthling with character" is pretty appropriate :P

Though flinging stones in rage probably isn't the best way to go… You'd probably get the attention, but as for your wish being granted? Hmm :)

Teinz
12-28-2014, 01:24 PM
"Now there's an earthling with character. Dare say I'll grant his wish!" sayeth Zeus :-) ... or Pallas Athene :-)



Don't know why, but in my mind, Zeus spoke with the accent of Billy Connolly, and looked like him, too.

Anyway, prayer. Used to pray to God, as a child, asked Him all sort of things. Mainly forgiveness, btw.

Nowadays, I keep a little altar. A carved, stone statue, some fresh flowers and a couple of candles. Every night I light these candles, touch the statue and think about the immensity and wondrousness of the Universe. And then I try to be grateful for this tiny blip of an existence.

So, that is prayer for me. A moment of reflection and awe.

Ken
12-28-2014, 04:25 PM
Nowadays, I keep a little altar. A carved, stone statue, some fresh flowers and a couple of candles. Every night I light these candles, touch the statue and think about the immensity and wondrousness of the Universe. And then I try to be grateful for this tiny blip of an existence.

That's really cool. I actually want to do something like this myself. Took a sculpting class once. Decent at it. So maybe I can make a statue of Zeus and Athene and one or two other "Hellenic" deities and do something similar to you and StarryEyes as well. That'd be cool. (Bill does bear resemblance. As to voice I imagine Zeus has a thunderous one like his kin Poseidon.) The ultimate of course would be a visit to ancient temples and buildings of Rome or Greece !

ToDieUnsung
02-16-2015, 08:03 AM
Prayer to me personally means asking God to give you the mental, emotional and spiritual strength needed to solve the problem ahead of you. It means asking for guidance on how to use your skills to glorify Him. And for me, using your skills to make the quality of life better for as many people as possible is primarily what it means to glorify God.

One thing it should not be is a spiritual version of an ATM machine. I think Christianity in modern times, at least in America, as been utterly wrecked by churches trying to convince their followers that God should be a sort of magic well that you can do the spiritual equivalent of throwing pennies into it and expect instant gratification.

In fact, I think this is a key reason why some churches now seem to be really struggling to keep any kind of meaningful membership.

shadowwalker
02-16-2015, 08:33 AM
My prayers generally are conversations with God; I seldom use any formal prayers any more. In times of great stress, I'll ask for His help in making things come out the way I want, but mainly it's just asking for the strength to deal no matter what. I don't usually tell people "I'll pray for you", but I do ask God to help them through things.

Ravioli
02-16-2015, 12:35 PM
As a kid I believed in God - but never organized religion - all the way until he let my kitten die a cruel, prolonged death while I begged him not to...
But it had become a habit to pray whenever I wanted something to happen, so I still often express my hopes that way, even little things like "Please let me catch that bus" when, if I were to still believe, I'd know God would be busy with bigger things than timing buses. It's just a way of phrasing or expression I guess, to think "Please let..." instead of "I hope...".
I know though that even on a scientific level, prayer has proven to be ineffective and it's better to just act than express hopes in any way when desiring something.

Siri Kirpal
02-16-2015, 09:46 PM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Prayer has been proved to be ineffective? The problem with that is what science measures isn't what the effectiveness is.

And even there, there's good evidence that people who pray or are prayed for do better physically...although not necessarily in the ways asked for.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

RichardGarfinkle
02-16-2015, 10:05 PM
As a kid I believed in God - but never organized religion - all the way until he let my kitten die a cruel, prolonged death while I begged him not to...
But it had become a habit to pray whenever I wanted something to happen, so I still often express my hopes that way, even little things like "Please let me catch that bus" when, if I were to still believe, I'd know God would be busy with bigger things than timing buses. It's just a way of phrasing or expression I guess, to think "Please let..." instead of "I hope...".
I know though that even on a scientific level, prayer has proven to be ineffective and it's better to just act than express hopes in any way when desiring something.


Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Prayer has been proved to be ineffective? The problem with that is what science measures isn't what the effectiveness is.

And even there, there's good evidence that people who pray or are prayed for do better physically...although not necessarily in the ways asked for.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Mod Note

Gently please, this isn't an argument about objectvie efficacy. It's subject is subjective sense. Threads like this are good for finding diversity of view and commonality of understanding.

Siri Kirpal
02-17-2015, 08:31 AM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

My apologies if my bit came off as too hard hitting. I do get annoyed when anyone says science says prayer or religion or spirituality don't work, when my own life is proof to me that they do...and there's plenty of other evidence out there to agree with me. (So while I'll try hard not to, I may very well hit too hard again.)

Naeim, I do appreciate that you pray anyway.

End of my part of the derail.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Neegh
02-17-2015, 09:10 AM
Prayer is (for me) a quieting, so that I may hear what eternity would like to see from my time. So, by listening I may touch infinity.

DadofSnorf
02-19-2015, 08:05 AM
I'm a Christian, so I go by what Jesus tells me:



2. Jesus said, "This is how you should pray:

"Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name.
Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is done in Heaven.
3. Give us each day our daily bread, and
4. Forgive us our failures as we are forgiving of those who fail us.
Bring us not into the hands of temptation, but
Deliver us from evil."

5. Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: "Suppose you went to a friend's house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, 6. 'A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.' 7. And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, 'Don't bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can't help you.' 8. But I tell you this--though he won't do it for friendship's sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.

9. "And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 10. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

11. "You fathers--if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? 12. Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! 13. So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him."

God wants us to pray maturely and persistently. While a friend may give us what we ask for out of simple frustration and giving in, God gives us what we need when we need it because He loves us.


As a kid I believed in God - but never organized religion - all the way until he let my kitten die a cruel, prolonged death while I begged him not to...
But it had become a habit to pray whenever I wanted something to happen, so I still often express my hopes that way, even little things like "Please let me catch that bus" when, if I were to still believe, I'd know God would be busy with bigger things than timing buses. It's just a way of phrasing or expression I guess, to think "Please let..." instead of "I hope...".
I know though that even on a scientific level, prayer has proven to be ineffective and it's better to just act than express hopes in any way when desiring something.

Let me preface this by saying that I am not looking to argue with you or convince you, and I am not judging your viewpoint.

The point is that God is not too busy for your bus schedule. You aren't praying to a person sitting at a desk trying to juggle everyone. God exists outside of time and space. There's no reason why He can't make sure you catch that bus and also save a soldier from a mortar at the same time.

I studied a bit of theology several years ago, and one of the things that kept popping up in all the scholarly commentary was that God just wants you to talk to Him. He doesn't care if it's about a bus schedule or the meaning of life. It's about the relationship, not what's said.

As far as prayer being ineffective, that's an immeasurable thing. Saying that because someone doesn't get better, that means prayer is ineffective makes no sense. Not getting what we want doesn't mean we didn't get what we need. There's no sense in arguing about such things, because it's comparing apples to broccoli. Prayer is not medicine.

C.bronco
02-19-2015, 08:12 AM
Prayer is talking to God. I do pray, probably daily, asking for strength, guidance and help for those who need it. It doesn't have to be more complicated than that.

Quentin Nokov
02-21-2015, 02:20 AM
I know though that even on a scientific level, prayer has proven to be ineffective and it's better to just act than express hopes in any way when desiring something.

Yet, I've read that people who pray and or meditate tend to live longer, happier, healthier lives. Prayer reduces blood pressure. I think it causes the brain to release a mood relaxing chemical / hormone.

For me, praying is a direct conversation with the God of Israel. I've had many prayers answered. There's only so many times that I can say, "Oh, that was a coincidence." I'm a sure believer because God has shown Himself to me by answering prayers that could not have been fulfilled by human means. It takes time for some prayers to be answered. Like I was worried about us not getting enough money for the taxes. I said a simple prayer that God would help provide for us, maybe I'd get more hours at work. A month later or so, out-of-the-blue, my brother came by and gave my dad $300 dollars and later another $300 just because he got a bonus and wanted to pay my dad back for all the money that he's borrowed in the past. Just the amount we needed and in perfect timing.

I pray for other people. I believe in the power of prayer, but as it goes: Let your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Not every prayer is going to be answered, but at the very least I ask God to give people comfort, peace, or strength during their difficult time.

Deepthought
02-21-2015, 08:28 AM
As a Sufi, there are many forms of prayer. The act of salah is one, combining mind, body, and soul in praying. Meditation is also another. Searching for the love and shedding all layers of ego, composed of all that is not out true self- regret, hate, desire, is the goal, in order to lose sense of self in the Beloved. To have no self. I think this is similar to many meditative practices. Helping others, spending time with family, thinking good about another, any tiny good thing is also prayer. But a commonality exists between them, and it is love. According to a shaykh: A single moment of prayer with love is better than 70 years of continuous worship without. There is no point in ritualism.

And I think that is one important aspect; the Beloved. God is not like a faraway figure. God is Love, Time, etc. Nothing can ever repay what is given; all that is given cannot be taken for granted, and therefore, no matter what happens, there is always something to be grateful for. There are different levels and understandings; one can work for years with no difference, or one may gain the insight in a blink of an eye.

Ravioli
02-21-2015, 01:41 PM
Yet, I've read that people who pray and or meditate tend to live longer, happier, healthier lives. Prayer reduces blood pressure. I think it causes the brain to release a mood relaxing chemical / hormone.

But for that, couldn't I just as well sit down and recite my favorite song? The actions of classic prayer are not exclusive to conversing with God.
Actually, the benefits of prayer are the same as have been found to come with cat ownership, among other things.

My Muslim coworker sometimes retreats to storage to pray. He washes himself, and takes out his prayer mat - a piece of carton - and prays quietly. He really is totally zen, but not just because of his faith. He confided in me that the reason why he is always so calm and content despite having millions of problems, is because of his mantra: he's the happiest person in the world because everyone else is oh so miserable. Love the guy.

DadofSnorf
02-21-2015, 11:11 PM
Yet, I've read that people who pray and or meditate tend to live longer, happier, healthier lives. Prayer reduces blood pressure. I think it causes the brain to release a mood relaxing chemical / hormone.

For me, praying is a direct conversation with the God of Israel. I've had many prayers answered. There's only so many times that I can say, "Oh, that was a coincidence." I'm a sure believer because God has shown Himself to me by answering prayers that could not have been fulfilled by human means. It takes time for some prayers to be answered.

I pray for other people. I believe in the power of prayer, but as it goes: Let your Will be done on earth as it is in Heaven. Not every prayer is going to be answered, but at the very least I ask God to give people comfort, peace, or strength during their difficult time.

Same for me. I was pretty stubborn, but there are only so many times things can be a coincidence. It just became obvious to me.

Siri Kirpal
02-22-2015, 12:02 AM
But for that, couldn't I just as well sit down and recite my favorite song? The actions of classic prayer are not exclusive to conversing with God.
Actually, the benefits of prayer are the same as have been found to come with cat ownership, among other things.

My Muslim coworker sometimes retreats to storage to pray. He washes himself, and takes out his prayer mat - a piece of carton - and prays quietly. He really is totally zen, but not just because of his faith. He confided in me that the reason why he is always so calm and content despite having millions of problems, is because of his mantra: he's the happiest person in the world because everyone else is oh so miserable. Love the guy.

Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Singing favorite songs is praying.

But cat ownership has costs. Prayer does not. :) Likewise, people with allergies may avoid your house. Says someone with cat allergies.

Neat about your co-worker.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

andiwrite
02-25-2015, 03:03 AM
Prayer, for me, is speaking to God. I have a lot of friends who say things like "Sending good vibes your way!" which I'd consider a non-religious equivalent, although personally, I don't believe it comes anywhere near the power of prayer.

Siri Kirpal
02-26-2015, 02:45 AM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Sometimes those of us who do a lot of praying say, Sending you good vibes, when we don't know the other person's sensibilities on the topic of prayer. I use the phrase quite a bit in these here forums as a way to say I'm praying for you without offending people.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

rwhegwood
05-11-2015, 08:35 PM
Sat Nam! (Literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Prayer has been proved to be ineffective? The problem with that is what science measures isn't what the effectiveness is.

And even there, there's good evidence that people who pray or are prayed for do better physically...although not necessarily in the ways asked for.

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

I would agree. How would even be possible to determine the effectiveness of prayer regardless of one's faith tradition. Such studies as exist do not control for two very important factors. First those praying. Why would God heed any of those praying about some random thing? Are they holy? Are they in some desperate extremis. What in their life and situation would suggest their prayers about anything would be effective. Second, God is not a monkey in a box to be fooled with test banana prayers. Neither is He the cosmic vending machine to despense good vibrations for exact change in prayer. He is not fooled by test praying.