February 28, 2005

The Selfish Nature of Prayer

I'll pray for you.
You're in my prayers.
What do statements like this mean? I derive no benefit from your prayers. If you want to pray, admit that you are doing it for yourself. You derive whatever benefit there is to be had from the act of prayer - it lets you feel superior, helps you relax, gives you the impression that you are not alone in the universe, etc. But don't tell me that it is for me. In fact, don't tell me about it at all. It turns my stomach a little.

Maybe your statement is intended to bring me comfort, but it highlights your ignorance and leads me to feel a mixture of pity and repulsion toward you. Praying for someone is a selfish act aimed at soothing yourself without doing anything beneficial for the person for whom you are praying.

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