It STILL does not work
by: John Tyrrell
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On seeing the sign below on a nearby church*, my initial reaction was that they've realized that they had better divert people away from asking their God to grant them wishes, to give them stuff, as generally those prayers are just as effective as no prayer at all. So let's make prayer all about doing whatever God wants us to do.
"Please all-powerful all-knowing God, arrange that I live my life exactly as You want me to in accordance with Your infallible predetermined will."
In the end, the person praying is still asking for something. And still won't get the prayer answered.
In any event, Christians have been making this prayer since Christianity's first days. I would estimate, conservatively, that Christians have prayed some two trillion times that “Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Now, if you believe God answers prayers - and that God has heard this prayer two or more trillion times, then you pretty well have to believe that the world you see around you today is exactly as your all-powerful all-knowing God wants it to be. It's in accordance with his will. And it probably also indicates that heaven is a pretty screwed up place too.
If you don't believe the world around you is what the Christian God wants, then you have undeniable evidence that prayer - even prayer that a supposedly omnipotent god should get his own way - does not work.
It doesn't matter whether you ask a god to bend to your will and grant your wishes or ask a god to bend your will to grant his wishes, it is the same either way. Nothing happens.
In my view the basic purpose of prayer is to engage in a meaningless activity under the delusion it is meaningful. And that's more in accord with reality than any religious view of the purpose of prayer.**
* As far as I can determine, this quotation originates with Timothy Keller, an author, preacher, and Christian apologist.
** Googling "basic purpose of prayer" and "primary purpose of prayer" brings up any number of articles all trying to get away from the idea that the purpose of prayer is to ask god for stuff. But, as we all have seen, as soon as someone actually gets something they coincidently have prayed for, we all get told about this powerful evidence of the power of prayer.
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