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Ask the Patriarch 124
Do Agnostics Pray?

by: Angilssin

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I have just one question; well two actually. Do agnostics pray and if they do, to whom do they pray, and what is the prayer they say?

I don't really believe in god but yet been praying since I was a little girl. I would like to know the proper prayer if there is one.

Thank you very much

The Patriarch replies:

Dear Angilssin:

I answered a similar question in Ask the Patriarch 65 and I suggest you read it in conjuction with this reply.

Now, to answer your three questions.

1. Do agnostics pray?

I would say that most don't, but probably some people who consider themselves agnostics do pray on occasion. Some out of habit, some to keep peace in the family by pretending to still believe, and some because there is a streak of irrationality in all of us.

2. Who do they pray to?

I don't really know. Those who are just going through the motions aren't really praying to anything. There are some agnostics who, while expressing disbelief in a god, think there is "something." They can't define it, but still think there's something supernatural out there. Perhaps they pray to that vague something.

3. What prayer do they say.

Again, I don't know. I suspect the prayers of those who actually pray are similar to those of believers. However, if you want a specifically agnostic prayer, you can consider Roger Zelazny's Agnostic Prayer.

Insofar as I may be heard by anything, which may or may not care what I have to say, I ask, if it matters, that you be forgiven for anything you may have done or failed to do which requires forgiveness. Conversely, if not forgiveness but something else may be required to insure any possible benefit for which you may be eligible after the destruction of your body, I ask that this, whatever it may be, be granted or withheld, as the case may be, in such a manner as to insure your receiving said benefit. I ask this in my capacity as your elected intermediary between yourself and that which may not be yourself, but which may have an interest in the matter of your receiving as much as it is possible for you to receive of this thing, and which may in some way be influenced by this ceremony. Amen 

Roger Zelazny Creatures of Light and Darkness 1969

Overall, I think most agnostics do not pray, nor do they think that there is any reason to. But, if you choose to continue to pray, you are probably not alone.