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Prayer is not wishful nonsense

Prayer is not wishful nonsense

Is prayer worth doing? The Revd. Giles Fraser writes in The Guardian on what prayer does and does not do.

“Can everyone stop all this #PrayforLondon nonsense. It’s these bloody stupid beliefs that help create this violence in the first place,” tweeted Julia Hartley-Brewer, a middle-England talk radio host in the mould of Katie Hopkins. Now there is a time and a place for atheists to have a pop about whether prayer is a waste of time. Even for a debate about the role of Islam in the formation of terrorism. Bring it on. But bundling together the person who had just come into church to pray for the dying policeman with the policeman’s very attacker was gratuitously offensive and just plain ignorant. …

Prayer is not a way of telling God the things he already knows. Nor is it some act of collective lobbying, whereby the almighty is encouraged to see the world from your perspective if you screw up your face really hard and wish it so. Forget Christopher Robin at the end of the bed. Prayer is mostly about emptying your head waiting for stuff to become clear. There is no secret formula. And holding people in your prayers is not wishful thinking. It’s a sort of compassionate concentration, where someone is deliberately thought about in the presence of the widest imaginable perspective – like giving them a mental cradling.

But above all, prayer is often just a jolly good excuse to shut up for a while and think. The adrenaline that comes from shock does not make for clear thinking or considered judgment. Those who rush to outrage say the stupidest things.

What are your  thoughts about prayer and praying?


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Bill Pearson

“Those who rush to outrage say the stupidest things.” Jeez, Louise,I would say those, ‘stupidest things,” include Rev’d Frasers screed. A brief read of the Book of Common Prayer or the Book of Alternative Services will bring one to the conclusion that in the Anglican/Episcopal Church the form of prayer that Fraser describes does not hold pride of place; that is reserved for the form that Julia Hartley-Brewer slags.

Shirley O'Shea

I like what Mother Julian of Norwich said: “Prayer oneth the soul to God.”

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